It started with a key.
On October 1st 2021, I was in a car accident in which I sustained numerous life-altering injuries. During my time in recovery, I was forced to re-evaluate my career and life choices - for seventeen years, I'd worked as a teacher and middle-manager in secondary schools, but now, I was having to find a new path. I'd been writing and performing across the North-West for a year, and knew that whatever I did would need to involve poetry.
Whilst in the hospital, I wrote alongside a number of writers from across the poetry scene, and produced my first pamphlet, The Poet Who Broke Her Back. Seeing how this was received was encouraging, and led me to thinking about how much I enjoyed the process of writing, designing, producing and marketing my own collection.
The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
I chose the name after finding my front door key a few weeks after the accident. It had been in my pocket and was almost bent in two - despite being made of solid metal. Somehow, my body had escaped the same fate.
Bent Key's name and logo serve as a reminder - that when life gives you lemons, you can either make lemonade or let them rot. I chose to make the lemonade.
Our ethos is to ensure that all talent is offered opportunity and that nobody with passion and a good manuscript is priced out of writing their story. We champion neurodiverse artists and writers from other marginalised groups, particularly those who find traditional publishing difficult to access due to dyslexia or other needs.
In April 2022 we were privileged to be shortlisted as one of only four independent publishing houses in the UK for a Saboteur Award for Most Innovative Publisher, despite only being operational since January. This is an incredible achievement; one that we did not expect but are very proud to speak about - especially as it's voted for by our peers. Massive love to everyone who has chosen to give their vote to us - we will keep you updated on the result!
We are currently closed for submissions due to an incredible level of demand. Whilst we'd love to publish more, we simply cannot at this time - but if you have an interest in what we do here, please get in touch to say hello. We are always looking to build connections.
Rebecca Kenny, Founder
FOUNDER / LEAD EDITOR
Rebecca is a qualified Teacher of English by trade, with seventeen years of experience at the chalkface. She has a BA(Hons) in English and Linguistics and is currently working towards a Masters in Applied Linguistics.
She has been writing and performing poetry since 2020 and has been published in several journals and zines, including Bloom Magazine and Open Door Poetry.
She is a regular performer on the Manchester poetry scene and can often be found on stage at Sayin', Manchester's most raucous poetry night, at Niamos in Hulme.
PROOFREADING / EDITING
Cooper is a stand-up comedian, compere, philosopher and published essayist.
His written work focuses on ethics and philosophy, often with a comedic edge. He can (and will) write anything, and will do whatever it takes for a good story - including interviewing serial killers.
He has been published in many places, from Metal Hammer to Philosophy Now.
He graduated from the University of Manchester with a First in Philosophy.
sam: smash design & illustration
RESIDENT GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Sam @ SMASH is a fantastic graphic artist with a varied and exciting catalogue of work. She has done work for The Hysteria Collective and is the chief designer of our flagship zine, Bloody Hell.
Sam designs the covers for our collections - from chapbooks to anthologies, she is the artistic talent behind our gorgeous designs.
You can find her on Instagram @smashdesignillustration where you can see examples of her work.