Storytellers and Makers of Fine Books

In times long past on the far reaches of Western Europe the ‘shanachies’ were the traditional Gaelic storytellers or folklore historians - known as seanachaidh or seanchaí.
They kept alive the legacy of the old Scottish and Irish communities. Other nationalities have their own versions of these tellers of tales.In China for centuries these storytellers - shuō shu rén - were held in considerable esteem and hugely popular. They could keep audiences enthralled for hours in traditional teahouses known as cháguǎn - or ‘story telling theatres’, and it is still popular today.

In their time nothing was written down and the legends, history and customs of their respective peoples were kept alive by the fabulous memories of the ‘shanachies’ and ‘shuō shu rén’ and the stories they related orally.

In the spirit of those great storytellers our aim is to publish high quality and fascinating books with words and images - visually stunning photographs or artworks that tell stories in their own right.

However, unlike the oral chronicles of the past they are a permanent printed and published record of people, places and events - but they surely follow the principles adopted by the ‘shanachies’ and ‘shuō shu rén’of telling stories for posterity.

Our books are driven by passion and a belief that books still play an important part in our lives as both storytellers and readers. We are convinced that printed books still have a place in the modern world but we firmly embrace the modern formats of books: iBooks, Kindles or other electronic platforms.

Over the years we have partnered with many esteemed organisations such as HP, Nikon, Plexus Cotton, English Heritage, The 48 Group Club, The Northwest Development Agency (UK), The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and The University of Liverpool, amongst others, and who like us believe in the value and legacy of printed books.

Many of our projects take years in preparation and development: some come to realisation quicker than others whilst some slowly mature. Below are a few of our ongoing current projects.

We welcome suggestions, ideas and comments.
  • Pursuing Adventures in the Creative World

    Photographer-publisher Guy Woodland and writer-editor Lew Baxter have cooperated on a series of creative ‘adventures’ for over 20 years. They have produced specialist photo-features for a wide range of publications worldwide and the partnership has published more than 25 distinctive books that have spanned a range of topics, regions and countries. They have also been involved in setting up a range of photographic exhibitions and other media related cultural activities.

    They formed the publishing imprint Cities500 in the early 2000s, a platform that produced a number of high profile photo-essay books that were supported and endorsed by the likes of UNESCO, the mighty US company Hewlett Packard and a number of universities and corporate organisations.

    They then founded the Shanachie publishing imprint, which has turned out a collection of fascinating photo-essay books. They also set up the China focused Sino Creative Associates, which has forged close links with a wide range of Chinese media and cultural organisations. These include the state-run Xinhua News Agency, the China International Publishing Group, the Foreign Languages Press, China Pictorial Magazine and the China News Service.

    Sino Creative has also worked in tandem with several regional outposts of the cultural ministry of the Chinese government on a number of cross-cultural activities. It has undertaken a number of photographic assignments in the provinces of Gansu, Guizhou and Sichuan, where Guy was a member of a special international team of photographers recording the recovery of the province in the years following the disastrous 2008 Wenchwen earthquake.

    His photographs of the remarkable regeneration programme were selected to be included in a hugely popular touring exhibition staged by the Sichuan Provincial Government. It was launched at the National Museum of China in Beijing and was opened by China’s Culture Minister Wu Cai.

    Sino Creative is now developing a series of e-books and photo-essay style printed books focusing on the photographic experiences in Chinese provinces, and specifically featuring the people of these remarkable regions.

    Guy Woodland and the photographic unit of Shanachie Publishing boasts an extensive library of engrossing subjects and Guy has set up a series of web based photographic resources that are available on line and in print.

    Meanwhile under the Shanachie remit Guy and Lew are involved in a number of future publishing projects that take in India, China and Europe. They also work with a number of publishing partners in Europe, the USA and the Far East.