The harsh, raucous and disruptive sound made by birds such as crows and rooks.
Caw Press is a small, experimental publishing company based in London. Our goal is to disrupt publishing by bringing together scholars and the public in new ways. We are not an academic press publishing pricey books by academics, primarily for academics. Nor are we a trade publisher pumping out books by academic celebrities and driven by what a literary agent or commissioning editor thinks will sell. Instead, our goal is simple but radical: to produce non-fiction by scholars that is specifically written for the public (i.e., avoiding impenetrable prose or pet academic theories) but that is not dictated by what the publishing industry thinks the public want. This means our books are lively and informative, heterodox in orientation, a pleasure to look at, properly marketed and distributed, under the control of the scholars who write them, and cost no more than a glass of wine (well, a large one). Silent but Deadly, Caw Press’s first book, is a test case for the model.
Kirsten Bell, the Director of Caw Press, is an Australian and Canadian social anthropologist. She received her PhD in 2000 from James Cook University in Australia and over the past twenty-odd years has worked at universities in the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK. She became interested in publishing after a five-year stint as an editor of the international journal Critical Public Health, which introduced her to the backstage of scholarly publishing and where she honed her skills in diplomacy and structural editing (the former remains sadly lacking, but she will readily boast about her mastery of the latter).
In 2016, convinced that academics had got themselves into a huge mess because they had been far too willing to outsource publishing – the fulcrum of academic knowledge production! – to corporate interests, she took a year off to complete an intensive Master of Publishing at Simon Fraser University: Canada’s premier training ground for publishing professionals. In the programme, she gained in experience in all aspects of book and periodical publishing, including marketing, editing, production, distribution and design. The basic concept for Caw Press evolved during the programme.
After a six-year inception period, Caw Press was realised in 2022 – or, rather, it moved from a vague idea to a publishing experiment. The experiment is Silent but Deadly: Caw Press’s first (and currently sole) book. Although this book has been written by Bell herself, rest assured that this press is not some sort of elaborate hoax to disguise her self-publishing endeavours. She does eventually want to publish other people’s books! But in this early experimental phase, she didn’t think it was right to kill (or, at least, torture) anyone’s darlings but her own.