8d Press was set up in Melbourne, Australia in 1994 by Joanna Chumas (Jo) and received plenty of notice in an era before the internet. It ran as an independent press in Australia between the years 1994 and 1997 and gained traction in emerging online platforms from 1997 onwards. 8d was the first part the number plate of Jo's first ever car, a black 1966 Morris Minor which she bought for £400 back in the mid-1980s. 8d stuck with her as a symbol of freedom - a young woman with a car in London - and of the nature of what 8d represented to her - eight dimensions - the deep layers of all humans, multi-dimensional.
The philosophy behind the press was always to produce delicate and beautiful little, numbered and dated books of prose poetry and short stories that dug deep into the human condition and allowed a glimpse at another type of life.
Female-focused, 8d Press made its name as a feminist press and Jo was invited to speak at literary festivals and on the radio in Australia, talking about the sensual in literature. 8d Press produced four books; The Uncomplicated Life of a Woman, Man, Woman and the Lash, Torture and Lush - an anthology of international writers.
In the years between 1997 and 2020, 8d Press lay dormant, a passion that had been shelved while more pressing concerns reigned supreme; 'proper' jobs, child-raising and immigration from one country into another. The Covid-19 pandemic kicked off Jo's desire to bring 8d Press out of the shadows, and in lockdown she brought the press back to life, selling her four books on Etsy with much success and real interest, adding three more chapbooks to the series; COME (Short Writings on Desire), Elixir (Inside Arousal) and We Can Be Lovers.
In October 2020, during the lockdown easing, Jo travelled by train to visit a dear friend of hers, Polly Plouviez who'd moved to Plymouth to study for an MA in Fine Art. Polly introduced Jo to The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd, the subject of a first assignment for Polly's post-grad degree. And Jo fell in love, fell in love with Nan Shepherd's writing and a passion told hold, to publish an ode to Nan Shepherd's The Living Mountain and a love song to Scotland - a country that had been part of Jo's life for many decades.
8d Press's philosophy remains the same; to publish limited edition beautiful books of poetry and short fiction, designed with love and passion, filled with exquisite writing, gorgeous to touch and hold and keep, forever. 8d Press does not believe in mass production. 8d Press is about the silent beauty of small things; a press that believes in and supports new and up-and-coming writers; a press that subscribes to the small-is-beautiful adage.