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 chose to give their vote to us. We did not win, but my, what an achievement to be placed in the top four!
Due to an incredible level of demand, we're currently closed for submissions. Whilst we'd love to publish more in 2023, we simply cannot at this time - but if you have an interest in what we do here and are happy to wait, please get in touch to say hello. We are always looking to build connections.
Rebecca Kenny, Founder
sam: smash design & illustration
Dr. Cooper howard
FOUNDER / editor-in-chief
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 QTS.
She has been writing and performing poetry since 2020 and has been published in several journals and zines; her debut collection Crash & Learn was Bent Key's flagship publication and was released in February 2022.
RESIDENT GRAPHIC DESIGNER (Independent contractor)
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.
PROOFREADING / moral support
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.