Prototype was founded in 2019 by Jess Chandler, co-founder of the independent publishing houses Test Centre and House Sparrow Press.

Established to continue and develop the work begun by Test Centre, Prototype is committed to creating new possibilities in the publishing of fiction and poetry through a flexible, interdisciplinary approach. Each publication is unique in its form and presentation, and the aesthetic of each object is considered critical to its production.

Through the discovery of high quality work across genres, Prototype strives to increase audiences for experimental writing, as the home for writers and artists whose work requires a creative vision not offered by mainstream literary publishers.

In its current, evolving form, Prototype consists of four strands of publications: (type 1 // poetry) / (type 2 // prose) / (type 3 // interdisciplinary projects) / (type 4 // anthologies) including an annual anthology of new work, PROTOTYPE.

Test Centre’s back catalogue is the foundation of Prototype's future archive, with all past publications available through this website.

Thanks are due to Test Centre co-founder Will Shutes, whose vision lies behind all that follows.

Test Centre

Test Centre Publications, an independent publishing house and record label based in Hackney, London, was run by Jess Chandler and Will Shutes from 2011 to 2018. Test Centre's varied output ranged from spoken-word vinyl LPs to debut poetry collections, experimental fiction, anthologies, interdisciplinary projects and an annual magazine of new writing, Test Centre. At the end of 2018, Test Centre split into two separate entities: Will Shutes' bookdealing and occasional publishing business now operates independently as Test Centre Books, while Prototype was established by Jess Chandler as a new independent publishing house, building on the Test Centre aesthetic.

Test Centre History

Test Centre’s first project was a series of spoken word vinyl LPs, starting with Iain Sinclair’s Stone Tape Shuffle. This was followed by Chris Petit’s Museum of Loneliness, Stewart Home’s Proletarian Post-Modernism and Jonathan Meades’ Pedigree Mongrel.

In 2012 Test Centre hosted a 12-week series of radio shows on Resonance FM, presenting a subjective history of spoken word recordings.

In autumn 2013, Test Centre had a 5-week residency at ‘F’, a new arts venue in Stoke Newington, teaming up with its roster of writers, recording artists and associates to present a month of events, a rolling exhibition, and a pop-up shop.

In 2014, Will Shutes established Test Centre Books, the bookdealing branch of the publishing house, with regular catalogues and a permanent online store.

In 2015 Test Centre was nominated as ‘Most Innovative Publisher’ at the Saboteur Awards.

Test Centre published 8 issues of its fiction and poetry magazine, featuring new work by writers across genres and from a wide range of international locations.

Other publications include a number of books and pamphlets by Iain Sinclair, including Austerlitz After: Tracking Sebald, RED EYE and An Immodest Proposal; GOOGLEmeGOD and House of Memory by Chris Petit; a facsimile edition of Derek Jarman’s rare and only collection of poetry, A Finger in the Fishes Mouth; the poetry anthology I Love Roses When They’re Past Their Best; Within Habit by Oli Hazzard; The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones by Stewart Home; To End It All by Paul Buck; Dark Islands by Tom Chivers; {Enthusiasm} by SJ Fowler, Pangs! by Robert Herbert McClean, Serious Justice by Jen Calleja, Republic Of Dogs/Republic of Birds by Stephen Watts, microaggressions by American poet Erik Stinson, Currently & Emotion: Translations edited by Sophie Collins and Common Resta collaborative 10" vinyl and poetry pamphlet  by Holly Pester.

Later publications include Sam Riviere's 'ambient' novel Safe Mode and the long-awaited collected edition of Chris Torrance’s life work, The Magic Door.

In 2017 the Arts Council funded a series of publications looking into the relationship between poetry and visual art, starting with a collaboration between poet Rachael Allen and artist Marie Jacotey, followed by a debut collection by Laura Elliott.

In its final year, Test Centre published Wayne Holloway Smith's I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE WENDING, Jack Underwood's Solo for Mascha Voice/Tenuous Rooms, and a collaborative work by writer Max Porter and artist Catrin Morgan, Jerome's Study.

Test Centre Publications now exists as an imprint of Prototype. You can browse the full back catalogue and order all available publications here.