About Story Machine

Story Machine is the power boost your reading and writing has been waiting for.

We publish exciting new writing. Our books will entice and delight.

We help artists develop your practice. We can help you learn with expert tutors, build confidence, access funding, and polish your manuscript.

We deliver participatory sessions that use the arts as an inspiration for personal, social, and community development.

We create unforgettable live experiences. Our productions are like no book event you’ve seen before. We have created shows for antarctic huts and chip shops, parked cars and festival marquees.

The Story Machine Story

Story Machine began in 2014. On a Clore Fellowship, I spent a few months working with National Theatre Wales. At the time they were producing a version of Christopher Logue’s translation of The Iliad. Lasting 6 hours, it featured actors reading Logue’s poetry live from screens. It stopped me in my tracks. Never at any of the hundreds of literature events I had attended had I seen a text elevated to the very centre of an event, and audiences trusted to listen and engage with the text like that.

It got me thinking about how literature events often focus on connection to an author rather than an experience of their text. I wanted to place the text at the front and centre of a literature event, a shared space where people could interact with a text together, live. I liked the idea of stories as physical things, tangible objects that could be constructed and interracted with, constructed like any other industrial product. I liked the idea of a machine that created stories, and so the vision and name for Story Machine was born.

The first Story Machine events were delivered while I worked at National Centre for Writing. The Story Machine premiered at National Centre for Writing during the 2016 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. It featured 18 stories to engage with in a fun house of literary delights.

In 2017, we followed this up with The Story Machine: Under Surveillance, a disused shoe factory that became a stage for adventures with all sorts of different short stories and works of poetry.

Story Machine has been an independent entity since 2018, creating live experiences that engage, surprise, and delight. In 2019 we started offering support to writers including fundraising, manuscript assessment and coaching. In 2020 we aquired Gatehouse Press and started to publish exciting new writers.

Story Machine continues to grow, to expand, and to seek out new ways to support artists and celebrate the power of the written word. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

Planet Positive

We are committed to environmental responsibility. Our Planet Positive Promise means the environment and people’s lives are better off for everything we do. We print to the very highest standards in environmental responsibility. Every book we print and every show we make and tour is offset.

Who is Story Machine?

Sam Ruddock – Director

I am passionate about books, stories, and the way they can foster conversation and connection. I love working with people, and helping texts be the best they can be.

I founded Story Machine to be creative and explore how literature can be a live artform, and how readers can engage communally with stories. Since then, we have grown to become a publisher, and offer services to help artists thrive.


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