Paper Crusade by Michelle Penn

Paper Crusade by Michelle Penn

Winner of the Kitschies Inky Tentacle for cover art by Klara Smith

Michelle Penn Photograph by Andrew Tobin/Tobinators Ltd

print: 978-1-913665-67-8
eBook 978-1-913665-68-5
buy a print copy £9.99

buy the ebook £4.00

buy the audiobook £10

watch a video from the live launch



This is a story of betrayal, love and revenge, We may believe we are familiar with the ending, but Penn’s journey, twisting through the inmost thoughts of the characters is certainly one to be revisited.

Ness Owen Review at High Window

On a wasted island in perpetual sun, the Father practices magic, laments his lost kingdom and commands a ragtag army of three: the passionate and damaged Daughter, the winged Spirit and an indigenous being known only as C. Behind their uniforms — white suits and full-face paper masks — the soldiers seethe with rebellion.

The arrival of the Boy, a hapless prince, and the Brother, the Father’s rival, unleashes desire, betrayal, insanity and revenge — all of it witnessed by an irate sea.

Paper Crusade is a bold reinvention of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. Michelle Penn’s vivid imagery and startling, sensual language create an unforgettable dystopia for our own time.

A visionary, intertextual journey that takes us far beyond standard retelling or response to Shakespeare. Penn brings new life to the characters here, with an incantatory power that threatens to lose us in the words and the waves but always takes us somewhere captivating and unexpected.

Luke Kennard, 2022


Listen to Michelle Penn on Eat the Storms poetry podcast

“How often do you sit and read a poem and are transported to a different world? To storms and sea? To wars and death? ” – Everybody’s Reviewing 

There must be something of Prospero in Penn, because Paper Crusade is utterly mesmeric and captivating. Simply put, it’ll be pure magic for any fans of the bard.” – shoutaboutbooks

“Michelle Penn gives the sea a voice in Paper Crusade alongside the voices of other characters; the father and daughter, the spirit trapped there and the shipwrecked passengers, in her atmospheric retelling of Shakespeare’s play.” – Artemis