EYEWEAR PUBLISHING EDITORIAL POLICY 2017
Eyewear is a privately-funded company. Its chief aim is literary – to discover, nurture, and publish, significant and interesting new and established writers and poets, across all languages, and all genres. We do so by holding our editorial team to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity; and by ensuring our printing is environmentally sustainable. We actively seek diversity of representation, and opinion, in our editorial choices, and align ourselves with no one political party, or movement. We are, in most things, radically moderate. At the moment, our ideal political leaders would be Justin Trudeau in Canada, Angela Merkel in Germany. As a rule, our editors do not believe Brexit is in the best interests of the UK, and we remain deeply concerned about the direction America is taking under its new leadership. We are on record as welcoming refugees to the UK. Our publications try to build bridges between cultures and continents (especially the US and UK, but also the UK and Ireland, and the UK and Europe, as well as between the West and Asia) and to support authors young and old. Despite, or because of, our views, we want our company to be a pluralistic platform, to paraphrase The Kenya Free Press.
As the BBC states online, we agree: “We aim to reflect the world as it is, including all aspects of the human experience and the realities of the natural world. We will be sensitive to, and keep in touch with, generally accepted standards, particularly in relation to the protection of children.” We will neither court offense for its own sake, nor avoid controversial ideas or statements, if and when they serve a reasonably thought-through aesthetic purpose. As wide-ranging readers, we understand that the shock of the new, such as with Dadaism, can challenge societal values, while contributing to greater cultural purposes. We will be fearless, tolerant, non-judgemental editors and publishers. However, we will steer clear of writing that seeks to advocate violence, cruelty, sexual degradation, racist abuse, or hatefully targets persons or beliefs; except insofar as this may be the expression of legitimate artistic works. We will seek to balance the ideas of Judith Butler with those of Claire Fox, in terms of the harm that free speech and writing can cause versus the harm that closing down debate can cause; and will not avoid offence for the mere sake of gentility, unless we feel genuine harm could be done.
While we cannot agree with Orwell that a clear style is always preferable to an ornate one, we remain concerned that limits to linguistic expression, and the creation of “thought police” could inadvertently aid and abet those seeking more totalitarian systems of governance. In short, while remaining relatively progressive, open-minded, and innovative, and with a clear eye on feminist and democratic viewpoints, we will not close down all correspondence with those who may differ from us in their ideas or opinions. We ultimately believe that robust debate and dialogue are better than even principled silence. As Penguin Books states in their editorial statement, we too wish to “champion writing, freedom of expression, and cultural diversity. … As a company, we are continually investing in a myriad of voices that reflect wide ranges of viewpoints and opinions and impact our society in meaningful ways.” Amen to that.
Eyewear believes in outspoken, fair, kind, and conscientious behaviour in a world too often driven by greed, and cruelty. We do not seek power or wealth or celebrity, for their own sakes, but rather simply a foothold in which we can continue to publish beautifully-designed, brilliantly-written, affordable books. We cannot claim to be perfect, but we err on the side of the angels whenever possible, while reminding ourselves that some of our literary heroes – including in no order: Graham Greene, James Baldwin, Charles Baudelaire, Colette, Anais Nin, Albert Camus, LeRoi Jones/Baraka, Virginia Woolf, William S. Burroughs, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, and Gertrude Stein, were not always perfect. We must believe that they did their best, as creative humans, bravely pushing the boundaries of thought and feeling, within the societal and spiritual and psychological pressures of their moment.
Ultimately, publishing is about bringing something into the world that has not existed before – a book. While books in history have a problematic past, we must side finally with those who would prefer to keep all books in a library, than ever stoop to burn even the most inflammatory. In the end, judge us by the books we managed to help create, in a difficult financial, and political time, at cost and challenge to ourselves.