(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
In the High and Far-Off Times, O Best Beloved, The Adventure Twins went for a walk. They didn’t walk at home where the grass grows tall and green and there are hardly any hills and the air is full of most horrible bitey insects. They went to England which, Cathryn (the shorter Twin) had pointed out, has a narrow bit in the middle.
In fact it was 1994, and David and Cathryn (AKA The Adventure Twins) walked a route across the narrow bit that they (mostly David) planned themselves, but which turned out to be almost (but not quite) the popular route first walked by A. E. Wainwright and now known as The Coast to Coast Walk.
David (the taller of The Adventure Twins) took photographs and kept a journal. When they returned to where the grass grows tall and green and there are hardly any hills and the air is full of most horrible bitey insects, he wrote down the story of the trip. He called it A Walker’s Journal (Esk to Esk Afoot) because they had started at the mouth of the River Esk on the west coast (Ravenglass) and walked to the mouth of the River Esk on the east coast (Whitby).
David had sent some of the adventures in letters to friends, who all said that they enjoyed them and could they have more, so the Adventure Twins decided to make the story of the walk into a book. They made Polaroid transfer prints and emulsion transfers from some of David’s photographs for illustrations.
And then they thought that if they were going to publish a book, they should have a publishing house, and if they had a publishing house, it should have a name. They tried to think of a name, but nothing seemed to be perfectly suited to Adventure Twins.
David sometimes spent weekends with friends. They would drive out into the tall, green grass amid the horrible bitey insects and band birds for ornithology research. One Saturday David asked his companions (all of whom were medical practitioners of one sort or another) to list any medical terms that contained the syllable “press”.
“Presbyopia” said one of them. David brought the word home and explained to Cathryn that it is the name for the condition that many people develop as they progress into middle age: arms become too short for looking at books and newspapers and magazines, and reading glasses become a necessity. As The Adventure Twins were both of an age where their arms were too short, and they already had glasses for reading, they thought that inverting the word would give them the perfect name for their publishing house.
And that, O Best Beloved, is how Byopia Press got its name.
For a publishing house that started as a joke, Byopia Press hasn’t done badly. A Walker’s Journal went to a second edition, we have published two more of David’s books, many artist’s books by Cathryn, works by Anita Rocamora and Mary Romanuck, and collaborative works with Monique Martin.