Unknown Language book launch 🌱

Thursday 17 September, 19.00 BST; 14.00 EDT; 11.00 PDT. BOOK HERE TO ATTEND.

🌱 On the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen on 17 September, join Huw Lemmey, Bhanu Kapil and Alice Spawls, with Elvia Wilk in the chair.

Celebrating the launch of Unknown Language by Hildegard of Bingen and Huw Lemmey, with an introductory story by Bhanu Kapil and an afterword by Alice Spawls, this online event will feature readings and a discussion about the life and work of the polymath, healer, composer, scientist and visionary Hildegard of Bingen, speculative mysticism, queer pilgrimage and apocalyptic visions 💫.

Long before the collapse of the Information Age, in the twelfth century since the appearance of the prophet Christ, young Hildegard finds grace. 

In this story of survival and miracles, Hildegard encounters love, both queer and divine, and great peril. As the visionary healer travels through the unfamiliar landscape following a great cataclysm, she discovers the mythic quantum energy of viriditas in the natural world around her. Her journey becomes one of return, to the sacred truth of her own being. 

Hildegard’s tale is received in the plague year of 2020 by Alice Spawls, and then in the next century, in a sea cave with cracked amethyst walls. On planet Avaaz, once known as Earth, Bhanu Kapil’s Pinky Agarwalia finds fragments of a beautiful codex. Lingua Ignota, Hildegard's unknown language, bears seeds of renewal for a world in flux. 

This event is pay-what-you-want to attend; we strongly appreciate your support of 100% independent publishing in this time!

This event will take place on Zoom. In order to view, you will need to book in advance. Instructions for connecting to the discussion will be emailed to you just  before the event begins; you will not need to contact us in advance


The polymath Hildegard of Bingen (1098-17 September 1179) was a mystic, scientist, composer, herbalist and inventor of one of the earliest known constructed languages by a woman. Born in the Rhineland, Hildegard was educated from the age of eight at the Benedictine monastery at Mount St Disibode, later becoming an Abbess. She experienced prophetic visions since childhood and spent many years writing the visionary works Scivias, Liber Vitae Meritorum and Liber Divinorum Operum. Unusually for her time, she travelled and preached throughout southern Germany, Switzerland and as far as Paris. She died on 17 September 1179. She was formally canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Huw Lemmey is a novelist, artist and critic living in Barcelona. He is the author of three novels: Unknown Language, Red Tory: My Corbyn Chemsex Hell (Montez Press, 2019), and Chubz: The Demonization of my Working Arse (Montez Press, 2016). He writes on culture, sexuality and cities for the Guardian, Frieze, Flash Art, Tribune, TANK, The Architectural Review, Art Monthly, New Humanist, Rhizome, The White Review, and L’Uomo Vogue, amongst others. He writes the weekly essay series utopian drivel and is the co-host of Bad Gays.

Bhanu Kapil is a poet and an artist by-fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Her most recent books are How To Wash A Heart (Pavillion Poetry, 2020) and a new edition of Incubation: A Space for Monsters (Kelsey Street Press, 2020). She is also the author of Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat Books, 2016), Schizophrene (Nightboat Books, 2011), humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), and The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001). In 2020, Kapil received the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry from Yale University and the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry from the Society of Authors.

Alice Spawls is a writer and editor at the London Review of Books. She is a co-founder of Silver Press, the feminist publisher.

Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in New York and Berlin. She writes about art, architecture, and technology for several publications, including frieze, Artforum, e-flux, Metropolis, Mousse, Flash Art, Art in America, and Zeit Online. Her first novel, Oval, was published by Soft Skull in June 2019.

Countdown to Saturn's move into Aquarius

Saturn finally moves out of Capricorn into Aquarius on 17 December, completing a three-year arc of sombre, thorny, relentless challenge and ordeal.



Jupiter follows Saturn into Aquarius where the two planets conjoin on 21 December, marking an epochal shift from the Earth Era into a new Air Era: a new two-hundred-year-cycle of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Air signs.

"The two planets have been making conjunctions in Earth signs since the early 19th century, enclosing and timing the waves of industrial revolution, overseeing the transformation of our relationship to the material world, and presiding over unprecedented wars for territory and resources. The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs during the last days of 2020, will be in Aquarius, an Air sign. This conjunction begins another two century cycle of conjunctions in Air signs, thus bringing an end to the Earth Era." — Austin Coppock

Ignota Hosts: Fanny Howe, Eileen Myles and Ariana Reines

On Thursday 30 July, Ignota hosted a once-in-a-lifetime online event celebrating the UK publication of A Sand Book by Ariana Reines and in honour of Fanny Howe's Night Philosophy.

CW: sexual violence

Featuring readings by Fanny Howe, Eileen Myles and Ariana Reines, music from Emily Ritz/Lumpland and Yva Las Vegass, and hosted by So Mayer. 

Deadpan, epic, and searingly charismatic, A Sand Book is at once relatable and out-of-this-world. In poems tracking climate change, bystanderism, state murder, sexual trauma, shopping, ghosting, love, and the transcendent shock of prophecy, A Sand Book chronicles new dimensions of consciousness for our strange and desperate times. What does the destruction of our soil have to do with the weather in the human soul? From sand in the gizzards of birds to the iridescence on the surface of spilt oil, from sand storms on Mars to our internet-addicted present, from the desertifying mountains of Haiti to natural disasters and state violence, A Sand Book is both a travelogue and a book of mourning.

Night Philosophy, the latest book by Fanny Howe, is collected around the figure of the child, the figure of the child not just as a little person under the tutelage of adults, but also the submerged one, who knows, who doesn’t matter. The book proposes a minor politics that disperses all concentrations of power. Her stories, meditations and fragments are woven together with passages by Samuel Beckett, Marilyn Buck, Henia and Ilona Karmel, the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and literary ephemera to explore violence, survival and vulnerability.

A Sand Book, Night Philosophy and other books by Fanny Howe, Eileen Myles and Ariana Reines are available to purchase from Burley Fisher, one of London's best independent bookshops, here

Boston Creme tour tees, as modelled by Fanny, are available here.

Fanny Howe is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose. She has mentored a generation of American poets, activists and scholars working at the intersection of experimental and metaphysical forms of thinking.

So Mayer is a writer and activist. Recent works include Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema (IB Tauris), (O) (Arc) and <jacked a kaddish> (Litmus). They work with queer feminist film curation collective Club des Femmes.

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently a novelist, public talker and art journalist. Their twenty-two books include For Now, an essay/talk about writing from Yale Press (forthcoming, fall 20) evolution (poems)Afterglow (a dog memoir), a 2017 re-issue of Cool for YouI Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. They showed their photographs in 2019 at Bridget Donahue, NYC. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize from the PSA, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 they received an award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. They live in New York and Marfa, TX.

Ariana Reines is author of The Cow (2006), Coeur de Lion (2007) and Mercury (2011). Her play Telephone won several Obie awards. Reines was 2009 Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California Berkeley; she has taught master classes at Pomona College, the University of California Davis, and the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in New York, NY.

Break into the Forbidden: Videos

“Break into the forbidden.” —Aimé Césaire

On 5 June 2020, 'Break into the Forbidden' brought together poets from the UK and North America to mourn, witness, dream, nourish and celebrate black life.

Raymond Antrobus, Jay Bernard, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Inua Ellams, James Goodwin, Bhanu Kapil, Canisia Lubrin, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Fred Moten, M. NourbeSe Philip and Nisha Ramayya gave readings for this online fundraiser for black liberation organisations and bail funds in support of justice and resistance movements in the US. If you would like to make a donation, here is a list of organisations and causes. 


Raymond Antrobus was born in Hackney, London to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works III and Jerwood Compton Poetry. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education from Goldsmiths, University of London. Raymond is a founding member of Chill Pill and the Keats House Poets Forum. He has had multiple residencies in deaf and hearing schools around London, as well as Pupil Referral Units. In 2018 he was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Award by the Poetry Society (judged by Ocean Vuong). Raymond currently lives in London and spends most his time working nationally and internationally as a freelance poet and teacher.


Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row.


Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and filmmaker. Winner of a 2018 Eric Gregory Award for promising British poets under 30, she has held residencies in the USA, Brazil, and the V&A Museum in London. Her debut pamphlet is Girl B, and she is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a poetry, translation and film project exploring the indigenous language heritages of black and brown poets. Victoria is a doctoral candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, the recipient of a 2019 Technē scholarship for practice-based research in Creative Writing.


Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’, ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ 'The Wire-Headed Heathen' and '#Afterhours'. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


James Goodwin is a poet undertaking a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London with a thesis on the blacksociopoetics of marronage, breath, sacrality and emanation. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends, is forthcoming with Face Press. 


Bhanu Kapil is a British-Indian artist and poet. She is the author of five full length works of poetry/prose, including How to Wash a Heart (2020), Ban en Banlieue (2015) and Schizophrene (2012). She is a winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize 2020 and is currently the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her blog can be found at https://thesparklyblogofbhanukapil.blogspot.com.


Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her work is published widely and has been frequently anthologized, including translations into Italian and Spanish. Lubrin’s debut poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis, was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, longlisted for the Gerald Lambert Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award. She was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award for her fiction contribution to The Unpublished City: Vol 1 and 2019 Writer in Residence at Queen’s University. Lubrin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph.


Born in London to English and Jamaican parents Karen McCarthy Woolf writes poetry, criticism and drama. Her collection An Aviary of Small Birds was described as an ‘extraordinarily moving and technically flawless’ (The Poetry Review), ‘pitch perfect debut’ (Guardian) and was shortlisted for the Forward Felix Dennis and Fenton Aldeburgh prizes. She makes radio features and drama for BBC radios 3 and 4, and has presented her work across the world. Karen is currently a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at UCLA where she is the inaugural Poet in Residence at the Promise Institute for Human Rights exploring how law and poetry can interact as complementary disciplines to express safe spaces in complex environments


Fred Moten was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1962 and raised there and in Kingsland, Arkansas. He is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Feel Trio, The Little Edges, The Service Porch, and consent not to be a single being (published as trilogy, Stolen Life; Black and Blur; The Universal Machine). He is co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, and A Poetics of the Undercommons, and with Wu Tsang, of Who Touched Me?. Moten lives in New York with his partner, Laura Harris, and their children, Lorenzo and Julian. He teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University.


Born in Tobago, M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright and independent scholar who lives in the space-time of Toronto where she practised law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. Among her published works are the seminal She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks and the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingston: An Odyssey of Silence. Her book-length poem, Zong!, is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Her most recent work is Bla_K. Her fellowships include Guggenheim, McDowell, and Rockefeller (Bellagio). M. NourbeSe Philip is the 2020 recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.


Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow, and is now based in London. She is a poet and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London. Her pamphlets include Notes on Sanskrit, Correspondences, and In Me the Juncture, as well as Threads, co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil. States of the Body Produced by Love is her first full-length book, published by Ignota.