About the archive

About Publish and be Damned

Publish and be Damned (PABD) was an independent publishing fair in London that ran from 2004–2013.

Over the years the fair provided a free platform for a wide range of practices broadly situated within the area of contemporary art, and was often described as a ‘self-publishers’ or a ‘zine fair’, which always a little reductive, but covered in some ways the small-scale nature of the publishers who participated, the focus on the magazine format, and the emphasis on varied modes of distribution that the fair represented. The fair was often as much about swapping material or giving it away as it was about publishers selling their wares.

Visitors exploring the PABD Public Library will find material published by those who identify as writers, musicians, curators, artists and collectives. There was no prioritisation of the figure of the individual artist, but rather a focus on the potentials of publishing as a generous collective multidisciplinary approach to what art can and might be.

The first fair was curated by Kit Hammonds and Emily Pethick. Over the years the project was run by Hammonds, Sarah McCrory, Joe Scotland, Louise O’Hare and Kate Phillimore. It took place in various venues in London including the Crypt of St James’ Church (Clerkenwell), Oxford House (Bethnal Green),  the Rochelle School (Shoreditch), the Barbican (City of London), and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Central).

In 2014, on what would have been the fair’s 10 year anniversary, Hammonds, O’Hare and Phillimore declared the fair dead, with O’Hare and Phillimore setting up Three Letter Words and Hammonds setting up the Vernacular Institute and co-founding Index Mexico.

The PABD Public Library / Archive

The PABD Public Library is a diverse collection of material – including magazines, audio, pamphlets, posters and books – donated by publishers who participated in the various fairs from 2004–2013. It was always conceived as a Public Library rather than a precious archive and has toured to venues in Germany (Munich), England (Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Norwich, Bristol), Scotland (Glasgow), The Netherlands (Utrecht), United States (Los Angeles, New York), Czech Republic (Prague), Switzerland (Winterthur) and Slovakia (Bratislava). A selection from the archive was hosted by Banner Repeater (London) from 2011-12.

The PABD Public Library is now in the care of Three Letter Words, and available to view by appointment at

London Centre for Book Arts
Unit 18 Ground Floor
Britannia Works
56 Dace Road
London E3 2NQ

Email: archivist[at]threeletterwords[dot]org

We ask that you get in touch if you would like to use any of the images on this site for any purpose – we want to learn know how these images circulate in the world and appreciate linking back to us. The photo credit is not a claim to ownership but so that interested people might discover more of the library.

Ongoing Digitisation

On this website you can find a selection of photographs of excerpts of over 100 publications from the library. Over 2000 publications can to be found in the physical archive and are now in the progress of being catalogued.


We understand that all publications were donated to the PABD Public Library to facilitate dissemination and in order to make the work available to as wide as audience as possible. Reasonable efforts have been made to identify and contact copyright holders but in some cases these could not be traced. If you hold or administer rights for materials published here, please contact us. Any errors or omissions will be corrected and if necessary images removed.

Further details

If you want to know more about the library please contact PABD librarian/archivist Poppy Moroney at: archivist[at]threeletterwords[dot]org

All images: Photographed by Three Letter Words. Courtesy and © the artists, writers, publishers and the PABD Public Library/ archive 2004-13.

Big thanks to Sofia Landström for work on the library, and Ira Yonemura and Simon Goode at the London Centre for Book Arts for hosting us.

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