Traditional Publishing

Books are my business: Founder of Fish Publishing Clem Cairns – Sunday June 9, 2024

Clem Cairns is the founder of Fish Publishing, which he started with Jula Walton in 1994 with the aim of promoting the work of new writers.

It is based in Durrus, Co Cork, and every year publishes the Fish Anthology, featuring the winners of the Fish short story, short memoir, flash fiction and poetry prizes.

How did you get into publishing?

It is 30 years now since we founded Fish Publishing. I was trying to be a writer and there weren’t that many outlets in Ireland at that time for new writers, particularly for short fiction. Myself and my partner Jula Walton decided we would publish short Irish fiction, and we would do it by running a competition.

That was the initial idea. We called it Fish Publishing because I was working on a fishing trawler out of Schull at the time to earn the money to publish my first book of short stories. It was a good metaphor — casting out a net and hauling in the stories. We wanted to promote and encourage a new generation of Irish writers. After a few years, the internet happened and it went worldwide.

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