Once THAP had obtained premises in Watney Street, they followed Stepney Books in combining bookselling and publishing. The large section in the shop on writing by East Enders and about East London proved to be the most popular.
THAP Publications (later Eastside) produced a wide range of books. Sparring for Luck by Stephen ‘Johnny’ Hicks, was the autobiography of an ex-boxer, telling of his life in and out of the ring in the 1920s and 30s.
Cover for 'Poems' by Patrick Fitzgerald.
Black Saturday, edited by Les Miller and Howard Bloch, brought together local people’s memories of the Blitz. And anthologies of local writers and poets’ work, such as Old Age Ain’t No Place For Sissies by pensioner Gladys McGee, were a major feature.
Left: 'Ben's Bunker Book' book cover.
Right: 'Across Seven Seas' book cover.
THAP published biographies and anthologies. For 'Ben’s Bunker Book', author Ben Hayden built a nuclear bunker according to government guidlines on how to protect yourself in the event of a nuclear strike. He spent two weeks in this hole in Limehouse to experience the living conditions, laying bare the lunacy behind the governments advice.
Across Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers: life stories of pioneer Sylhetti settlers in Britain by Caroline Adams, was published in 1987 and charted the wave of Bangladeshi migration to Britain after the Second World War, which would eventually transform the cultural make-up of East London. As on previous occasions, it was left to a community publisher to shed light on a largely unexplored ‘secret’ history.
It was designed and published by Eastside publishers John Wallet and Denise Jones.
Children's poetry collection froma groundbreaking poetry award scheme run by THAP with east London schools.
'These poems and these poets are some of the reasons why I live in the East End. This is the east, and these are the people we should keep listening to...' Benjamin Zephaniah
In 1991, the project launched What’s the Word? - a free newsletter on writing activities in the borough, and the next year organised the Writing in the East awards scheme for young poets, judged by writer Benjamin Zephaniah. A publication arose from this, as did the work of a group people with learning difficulties, convened by project worker Sean Taylor, in Cheese and Chips are Related to the Moon.
Later, in 1995, a stint in Newham brought together young people between fourteen and sixteen and professional writers, including project worker Jill Dawson, to produce the hard-hitting anthology, Telling Tales.
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