Thursday, 3 December 2015: Waterstones Christmas Shopping Evening 6-8pm

Find some gorgeous gifts and have some festive fun at Waterstone’s Christmas Shopping Evening – events include:

6.15pm and 7.15pm:   Storytime and book signing at  in the children’s section. Local children’s author Holly Webb will be reading from a selection of her books, followed by a book signing.

kruschwitz6.30pm – 8pm: Book signings with local authors Peter Kruschwitz, Jenny Halstead
and Mike Fulford will sign and dedicate their books: The Writing on the Wall: Reading’s Latin Inscriptions and Silchester: Life on the Dig respectively. silchester final








6.30 – 7.30 pm: Festive Music from a selection of singers from Reading Bach Choir will
sing carols to get us in the festive mood.

Festive nibbles will be provided by Artigiano – the vibrant espresso house on Broad Street that becomes a buzzing bar at dusk.

8pm:  Party at Artigiano with brilliant singer/guitarist Richard James.

Other interesting tidbits:

Volunteers from local Reading Homeless Support Charity Launchpad will gift wrap customers’ purchases for a suggested donation of £1.  

Discount – Customers will get 10% off any purchase in store, unless it is in any other offer, between 6 and 8 pm.

Buy Books for Syria – Buy a book while stocks last from our Buy Books For Syria campaign and every penny from every sale will go direct to Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.
Waterstones Reading Broad Street

89a Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP, T: 0118 9581270

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Reading Detectives – the statues moved!

Reading_Detectives_CoverPublic sculptures are supposed to stay where they are put, but two of Reading’s that feature in this book have been on the move since we published it.

The Spanish Civil War memorial (pages 16 and 110, trail 1, question 7) has migrated from the old Civic Centre to the east end of the Forbury Gardens, near King Henry’s cross (see page 65). And Adam, Libby and Karen (pages 41and 124, trail 2, question 7) have danced away to who knows where; we hope they will reappear somewhere soon.  Be a real detective and find out where they are, then let us know!

  • Which King died from eating too many fish and was buried in Reading?
  • When did Reading last experience a fatal whirlwind? 
  • And where might you find Queen Victoria’s finger?

The answers to these and many other questions are waiting to be discovered and the clues are all around, on buildings, statues and street signs. Follow our walking trails (four different routes) to find out for yourself who lived in and visited Reading and what they got up to. Use the extra information we’ve provided with the answers to reconstruct the past and uncover Reading’s hidden history.

Aimed at children aged approx. 8 -13,  but read what one customer had to say:

 Grandson and I did 1-18 of route 2 after collecting the book from the museum. Rained off; the pages became too wet to write on! We resumed the trail the next day and completed it. He really enjoyed doing this activity. My husband now wants to buy a copy for us so that we can explore Reading together! A highly recommended book.


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Exhibit Thursday 22 October – Tuesday 3 November, 2015: “Silchester Life on the Dig”

silchester finalAn exhibition of paintings and sketches by Jenny Halstead as Artist in Residence at the final year of the Silchester Excavation. is taking place at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley.

It is hoped that the exhibition will be supplemented by a Soundscape and also a small display of finds from the Roman and Iron Age which have been discovered at Silchester over the last 18 years of the dig.


The exhibit runs from Thursday 22 October – Tuesday, 3 November 2015.

Daily from 10am -4pm.

If you cannot make it to the exhibit, consider a copy of Silchester Life on the Dig for your perusal.


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2015 Stanza Poetry Competition: Attwooll and Dyer are commended

The annual Stanza Poetry Competition began in 2007.  There is a winner,  two joint runners-up and ten commended poets.   The theme for the  competition is the antithesis or balance to that year’s National Poetry Day theme.

This year, the theme was “Darkness”.

This year’s judge, Jo Bell, picked Graham’Burchell’s poem: ‘A Closeness’ from a total of 317 poems sent in by 185 poets on the theme of Darkness to be the winner.

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate the winners and commended poets:

Winner:  Graham Burchell 

Runners up: Tess Jolly  and Marion Tracy 

And the ten commended poets: David Attwooll, Chris Bridge, Janet Dean, Claire Dyer, Clive Eastwood, Andy Jackson, Charles Lauder Jr, Marilyn Longstaff, Julia Webb, and John (F J) Williams.

For a full reportage on the 2015 competition winners and the judge’s feedback to all the entries, click here.

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Sunday, 25 October 2015: Two Rivers Press poets read at Reading Poetry Festival

Two Rivers press poets read at The Reading Poetry Festival:

David Cooke reading from A Murmuration

Jane Draycott reading from The Rilke of Ruth Speirs

David Attwooll reading from The Sound Ladder

Time: 5:00-6:00

Place: Building 22, London Road Campus, University of Reading

Price: £10

Visit the Reading Poetry Festival site to book your tickets.

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23-25 October 2015: Reading Poetry Festival

logo-reading-poetry-festivalThe Reading poetry festival is a three day extravaganza 23-25 October 2015.

Tickets: Entry to the Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture is free. A full weekend ticket costs £80, a one-day ticket £50, and an individual event ticket £10. The festival is free for University of Reading students and members and guests of speakers.

For more information about three days of events, visit The Reading Poetry Festival.

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Beautiful artwork: Cooke’s A Murmuration gets noticed!

At Two Rivers Press, we pride ourselves on producing beautiful books. It  is especially gratifying when someone else agrees that they are indeed beautiful.

The London Magazine, tweeted about the beauty of the cover of David Cooke’s A Murmuration.

Get your copy here.

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Review: Speirs’ Rilke reviewed on Evilcyclist’s Blog

Who is Evilcyclist?

Well,  Evilcyclist describes himself as:

“..a vegetarian with an M.A. in International Relations and former United States Marine originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Since then (he) left the corporate world to become a bicycle mechanic and wheel builder.  He live a car-free life in the suburbs of Dallas, TX and read in every spare moment.”

And did what does Evilcyclist make of Two Rivers Press’s new volume, The Rilke of Ruth Speirs: New Poems, Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, & Others?TRP_Rilke_Cover

…the only thing more difficult than writing great poetry is taking the poet’s work and translating it to another language and still maintain the poet’s thoughts. To read poetry in English and forget that you are reading a translation is literary transcendence. The poems presented in this collection will have the reader believing that English was the original language…

Rilke’s poems capture moments in time from a time long past. The detail of her descriptions such as in “The Merry-Go-Round” put the reader in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It is not too far fetched to think you hear the carousel’s music playing in your head. The poems maintain rhythm and imagery that throughout the collection.

Speirs’ translation of Rilke’s’ work is nothing short of superb…

The whole review can be read on Evilcyclist’s Blog, where you can also read book reviews of a wide variety of books.

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From Abattoirs Road to Zinzan Street: The Great Reading Street Name Quiz


Do you live in Reading (UK), or know anyone who does?   Have you taken the The Great Reading Street Name Quiz?

The questions and the answers come from this perfect gift book:  Abattoirs Road to Zinzan Street: Reading’s Streets and Their Names.

The study of place-names can tell you a lot about local history and biography; likewise street-names, though their origins – even the recent ones – are often hard to track down. This gazetteer of 300 streets in Reading  (UK) includes much lore, gossip and urban myth, along with a necessary dose of pure speculation. The book is illustrated with Peter Hay’s distinctive rubber-stamp vignettes and lettering by designer Sally Castle.

The perfect present for anyone from Reading or in Reading.

Buy your copy now!

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22 September – 27 November 2015: Exhibit “Silchester – Life on the Dig ” at MERL

silchester finalThe University of Reading’s Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is very pleased to be hosting a special display of work by artist, Jenny Halstead.

Jenny spent nine weeks in the summer of 2014 at the excavation of Calleva Atrebatum recording the last year of the dig. She was invited by Professor Mike Fulford (Archaeology) to be Artist-in-Residence, capturing the life of the site, its setting up, its workings and its treasures in sketches and paintings.

22 September – 27 November 2015: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Staircase Hall, Museum of English Rural Life
University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX

Cost:  Free

To see what is on at MERL visit
For more information about the artist, Jenny Halstead, visit

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17 September 2015: “The Rilke of Ruth Speirs” launches at International Rilke conference

TRP_Rilke_CoverTwo Rivers Press would like to thank the organizers of the annual convention of the International Rilke Society, which takes place in London  from 16 to 18 September 2015 for inviting us to come with our newest volume: The Rilke of Ruth Speirs: New Poems, Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, & Others

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is universally recognized as among the most important twentieth-century German-language poets. Here, for the first time, are all the surviving translations of his poetry made by Ruth Speirs (1916-2000), a Latvian exile who joined the British literary community in Cairo during World War Two, becoming a close friend of Lawrence Durrell and Bernard Spencer. Though described as ‘excellent’ and ‘the best’ by J. M. Cohen on the basis of magazine and anthology appearances, copyright restrictions meant that during her lifetime, with the exception of a Cairo-published Selected Poems (1942), Speirs was never to see her work gathered between covers and in print.

This volume, edited by John Pilling and Peter Robinson, brings Speirs’ translations the belated recognition they deserve.  Her much-revised and considered versions are a key document in the history of Rilke’s Anglophone dissemination. Rhythmically alive and carefully faithful, they give a uniquely mid-century English accent to the poet’s extraordinary German, and continue to bear comparison with current efforts to render his tenderly taxing voice.

To buy a copy please click here.


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An author’s ruminations on his book launch


On Saturday, September 12th, I had the immense pleasure to launch my new book ‘The Writing on the Wall: Reading’s Latin Inscriptions’ with a book signing on occasion of the 2015 Heritage Open Days at Reading’s Waterstones branch in Broad Street.

To me, as classical scholar who has published academic papers and books for almost twenty years, this was a most welcome opportunity to do something entirely new: to go out there and share my passion for Latin and Latin inscriptions with a general audience.


readerDuring the one-hour event, I was able to talk individually to well over a dozen members of the public (with many others ‘simply’ standing by or browsing my and other beautiful Two Rivers Press publications), sharing stories and knowledge surrounding the topic of my book.

Before I arrived, I thought: what will people ask you? What would they like to know? Will they make you justify your passion for Latin:a common experience to the Classicist in public – I don’t even know how many times I have heard amo, amas, amat in response to my confession that I am a Latinist: seriously, folks, would you say ‘ah, yes, I remember: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5’ in response to someone telling you that they are mathematicians…? There must be something seriously wrong with the way Latin is still taught out there…

But anyway, what people really wanted to know was something else entirely: what gave me the idea? How long did it take? How come Reading is so oblivious of its past? How come I have seen these texts myself so many times and never really thought about them before?

PK_BMThe hour went past with never a dull moment. Two episodes stood out to me, however.

First, there was a young woman who browsed the book for a long time and then approached me to tell me that she was considering buying it for her younger sister, who was interested ‘in everything Latin’, and that this would be an excellent present for her. (Yes! It would be!) I was struck, because I recognised my own early-years fascination with exactly the same topic: everything Latin!

And then there was an older lady, who stood by the Two Rivers Press table for sometime, listening, without saying much at first. When she eventually made a move, and after some good conversation about the place of Classical Scholarship (and other disciplines) at the University of Reading, she said: ‘I didn’t bring my card, so I will be back on Monday to buy the book. I don’t want you to sign it for me, because I don’t know you.’

Her straightforward, unpretentious, and ruthless honesty with me, putting me in my place, made me laugh out loud: this is the Reading I have grown to love over the last eight years.

~ Peter Kruschwitz

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Lesley Saunders wins third prize at Ambit’s 2015 Poetry and Fiction Competition

The results have been announced in Ambit’s second Annual Poetry Competition judged by Dan O’Brien:

Lesley Saunders

Lesley Saunders

First Prize goes to Geraldine Clarkson (the winner of last year’s 2nd Prize) for her poem ‘Brother’

Second Prize goes to Josh Ekroy, for ‘Blood Qur’an’

Third Prize goes to Lesley Saunders for ‘News’.

Runners up are Brian Docherty, Michael Prior and Geraldine Clarkson.

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate all the winners, but most especially, their very own Lesley Saunders!  Well done, Lesley!

All winning entries will be published in Issue 222 of Ambit, out at the end of October. The competition ran from May 1st to July 15th and was judged anonymously. There were over 600 entries and an excellent overall standard. Winners receive £500 for 1st, £250 for 2nd and £150 for 3rd prize, along with publication in the magazine.

There is an open invitation to a celebratory event with readings by the winners, and by Dan O’Brien and Alison Moore on Tuesday, October 27th at 7pm at The Sun and 13 Cantons, 21 Great Pulteney St, London W1F 9NG. Entrance is free with a purchase of the magazine or a donation of £5 (free for Friends and Angels) and the cash bar will stay open until late.


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Review: Philip Gross reviews Utting’s Fair’s Fair

If you subscribe to the Poetry Business’ magazine, The North, you may have seen a review of Susan Utting’s collection, Fair’s Fairin The North, issue 54, Autumn 2015, in which the reviewer, poet Philip Gross writes:

Fair's Fair Front cover

Utting unashamedly loves language, and it seems to love her back. This is not a careless rapture. There is method and consideration, in a whole book structured around poems led in two by two on facing pages (‘creatures coupled in a strange ark’) – sometimes mirroring, sometimes answering each other, sometimes simply exchanging a nod. There is a jouissance in the sheer enumeration of things.

The original review is a longer affair. The part dealing with Fair’s Fair follows, and is reprinted with permission. You can also purchase copies of The North, issue 54, from The North’s own website for the full review.


Susan Utting, Fair’s Fair, Two Rivers Press
(reviewed with Helena Eriksson’s strata, translated by Jan Teeland and Wendy Klein, Shearsman Books)

…where Eriksson mistrusts, almost shrinks from, her language, Utting leaps into the heart of it and rolls it around.

Look at her flirt in her flash-vivid bolero,
lash flutter, hair-flick and kiss-me-soft smile:
she’s wearing the sequins and satin, gold thread
embroidery, pleated-sleeved, edge-to-edge moiré
coatee, that was bargained for, haggled and smuggled,
swaddled in khaki, shouldered by kitbag through
mud-fields and cart-track, held river-high ocean-dry…

I am ending this extract in media res, so as not to be carried right through in one breath to the end. As much as Eriksson’s Elizabeth, this ‘Picture of my Mother as a Young Woman’ is historical (Second World War), and is a poem of a picture, representation of a representation of a deliberate performance of a self. Utting unashamedly loves language, and it seems to love her back. This is not a careless rapture. There is method and consideration, in a whole book structured around poems led in two by two on facing pages (‘creatures coupled in a strange ark’) – sometimes mirroring, sometimes answering each other, sometimes simply exchanging a nod. There is a jouissance in the sheer enumeration of things. One poem riffs on Cornelia Parker’s exploded shed, and Utting’s procedure can seem like self-fuelling fission, an implosion, even. The energy produced, though, can be as questioning as Eriksson’s. The young woman celebrated in the lines above could be equally the victor or the spoils of war. One of the most moving of this manner, ‘Lament for Susie Green’, is as much a pibroch as a rhapsody:

No more the wicked tongue, the lizard skin shoes,
the cerise and black, no more the oyster and blue;

no more the filthy look, the thrupenny bits, no silver
or bronze, no more sixpence-suspenders, no lash-glitter.


No red hat, no fur coat, no Chantilly lace, no pins in the mouth,
no grosgrain or petersham frogging or darting, no snowing-down-south.

No more the dog-see-the-rabbit, no go joe, no rabbit, no cricket, no score,
no peplum or jabot, gadget or slingback, no hip-shimmy heel spin; no more.

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Kruschwitz: A map to explore Reading’s Latin Inscriptions

Writing_on-the_Wall_Cover_finalThere is so much history in Reading, Berkshire, England. And some of it is written on walls….in Latin.

Get yourself a copy of The Writing on the Wall: Reading’s Latin Inscriptions  and go for a walk and be amazed and what those inscriptions reveal.

A handy Google map to explore Reading’s Latin inscriptions, based on P. Kruschwitz’s, The Writing on the Wall: Reading’s Latin Inscriptions,  is available here:

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Saturday, 12 September, 2015: Heritage Open Day with Allsop, Sawers and Kruschwitz

The Two Rivers Press Heritage Open Day (HOD) events will be hosted by Waterstones Booksellers Ltd, 89A Broad Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2AP.   Plan accordingly.  Come and join us.

Caught_on_Camera_Cover11.00am – 12.00pm   Book Signing and Photographic Exhibition: ‘Caught on Camera: Reading in the 70s‘ by Terry Allsop – come and meet the author and view a small exhibition of photographs. This intimate portrait of Reading in the 1970s shows a variety of scenes and locations and is brought to life by the people who inhabit the photographs, demonstrating the vitality and diversity of the town – aspects that live on despite changes in fashion and car design! – For more information click here.

Broad_Street_Chapel_Cover12.00pm – 1:00pm  Tour of Broad Street Chapel followed by book signing: Geoff Sawers author of ‘Broad Street Chapel & the Origins of Dissent in Reading’. Geoff Sawers has chronicled the life of the very building in which this Waterstones is located in his book ‘Broad Street Chapel and the Origins of Dissent in Reading’.He will talk about the building’s history and lead a short tour around the public areas of the building. His book will also be available for purchase, for him to sign and dedicate.

Booking is necessary as numbers are limited to 8 places for this event. Tickets are free of charge available in store. For more information click here.

Writing_on-the_Wall_Cover_final3:00pm – 4:00pm – Book signing: ‘The Writing on the Wall: Reading’s Latin Inscriptions’ by Peter Kruschwitz. Meet the author and hear about some of Reading’s Latin inscriptions. Let this book take you on a journey of discovery through the remarkable and chequered history of this town, uncovering some of Reading’s hidden treasures and recalling the individuals who have made the town what it is today. – For more information click here.

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Reading’s Latin Inscriptions: New Book by Prof. Peter Kruschwitz

Writing_on-the_Wall_Cover_finalWe are delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Prof. Peter Kruschwitz.

The book contains an anthology of 48 Latin inscriptions that are on display in Berkshire’s county town of Reading (as well as an extra four that have disappeared some time ago!) – covering some 1,800 years of Latin in use as a language of authority, of the church, of business, of learning, and – of course – as a language to honour the dead.

The book, showcasing the very finest examples of a body of some 200 inscribed Latin texts altogether from the Reading area, is the result of several years of fieldwork (about which Prof. Kruschwitz has occasionally blogged on his blog ‘The Petrified Muse’) – and if you wish to follow his walking routes, there is even a handy map that shows you the location of the various pieces that are covered in the book on Google Maps!

For anyone in and around Reading: Prof. Kruschwitz will be signing copies of his book at Reading’s branch of Waterstones next Saturday (12 September, 3-4pm) as part of Reading’s activities during the 2015 Heritage Open Days (further information can be found here).

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Susan Utting wins 2nd prize in McLellan poetry competition

Susan Utting (640x480)Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate Susan Utting.

Susan’s “Self-Portrait as a Ticked Box” took 2nd prize in the McLellan poetry competition.


Self-Portrait as a Ticked Box

I would paint myself green for the luck of the Irish, purple
my mouth for a Bow bell’s chime, one arm banded black
for the death of a king, dress in red for the wake of my sister.

For the stones on a South coast beach I’d wear rubber shoes,
for my sea-worthy father a hat made of canvas, cut from a jib.
I’d be sitting up straight, for uncle Joe’s Friday night dinners.

At my back I’d sketch bulbfields for Freda and Eddie,
their glasshouses still on the Great Ouse’s banks, no floods
but a windmill with still sturdy sails for my grandfathers.

For my foremothers I would put fat Russian dolls, full of dear
little girls, on collapsible tables, with linen and crochet hooks,
cooking pots, stained with pearl-barley, and chicken-bone soup.

I’d be dancing a jig, a mazurka, an old-fashioned waltz, would spin
on blocked toes, paint my feet bloody. I’d be carried away on a longboat,
a horse-drawn cart, hay wain, or curled in a home-crafted coracle.

I would sign myself small, with a borrowed name, in fine rain
from the North, touched with good fortune’s red from the far,
Far East, shot with silk, spun out in the West. But here, I must

write myself clear, flat as a Midlands vowel, glottal-stopped, tick
as I’m asked, I must paint myself funeral, statistical, invisible, other.


Simon Armitage was the competition’s judge.  Susan says delightedly “Simon is, and always has been, one of my poetry heroes.”    Nice to be recognized by one of your heroes.  Well done, Susan!

Posted in 2015 News Archive, News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

12th – 19th September 2015: Christina Hart-Davies and 60 other botanical artists!

© Poppies by Christina Hart-Davies

© Poppies by Christina Hart-Davies

Next summer, Christina Hart-Davies’ book, A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora will be published by Two Rivers Press.  (For more information on the title and to take advantage of our special pre-publication  price offer,  please click here.)

In the meantime, if you love botanical art of any sort, consider an outing to a new exhibition, where 60 botanical artists show their works!

When: 12th – 19th September 2015, 10am-5pm daily

Where:  Kent Wildlife Trust Sevenoaks Reserve,  Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3DH

60 invited artists
All works for sale
Many different media
Artists’ prints and cards
Free admission and parking
Credit cards accepted

For more information about this exhibit, please visit

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PBS Autumn 2015 Bulletin: David Cooke’s A Murmuration

cookeA Murmuration is endorsed in The PBS Bulletin’s list of recommended reading for the Autumn 2015:

Mining his family roots in the west of Ireland and his Catholic upbringing in Berkshire, A Murmuration is a moving meditation on heritage and identity, exploring the notion of landscape as a mirror that changes as it marks the changes in us. Probing his loss of faith and the conversion of his daughter to Islam, the masterpieces of Bruegel and the existential lessons of wildlife documentaries, Cooke’s lyrical insight and precision makes the personal universal.

Asked how he felt about such an endorsement, David replied, “…they do sound enthusiastic and the last sentence is very flattering. So all in all, I’m pretty chuffed.”

And so are we, David. So are we!

Get your copy of A Murmuration to read this autumn!

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DEADLINE: 1 September, 2015: Poetry Book Fair Competition on the theme “Books”

PBF banner logo 2015 800px


There is only one week left to enter the Poetry Book Fair poetry competition!

 Deadline is 1 September 2015.

They are looking for short poems (max. 10 lines) on the theme of “books”.

The full poetry competition rules and information are available here.

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Royal Mail Post & Go – interview with ‘British Flora’ illustrator Julia Trickey (video)

A rare chance to see one of our authors on YouTube. Watch Julia Trickey talk about designing the art used on the Royal Mails British Flora Post & Go series.

plant portraits trickey



Buy a copy of the book that tells in words and beautiful illustrations a more detailed version of this story:  Plant Portraits by Post:  Post & Go British Flora.



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Review: David Attwooll’s poem “Greengrocer’s Apostrophe”

Recently, David Attwooll’s poem Greengrocer’s Apostrophe was awarded first prize in the Havant Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2015.   The competition adjudicator, Joan McGavin, had this to say about the winning poem:

Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalI liked the play on words in the title of this poem, but it was the poem itself which then caught and retained my attention. It’s a ‘voice’ poem – where part of the interest lies in working out just who is speaking to us, and in what situation. The clue, of course, is in the title. It seemed to me to be a credible voice, that draws you in as a reader, with colloquialisms that work well. It’s also a voice that conjures up a strong and memorable picture of the person being addressed in absentia and the incident being described. The topicality of the subject-matter interested me, also, as did the poem’s ability to prompt complex emotions as much by what is not said as by what is said  – always a sign of an excellent poem.

More poems by this award winning poet can be found in the collection, The Sound Ladder. Get yourself a copy.

And now, the winning poem, Greengrocer’s Apostrophe….

Greengrocer’s Apostrophe

(apostrophe: mark of omission, possession, or speech to absent person; from apostrephein, ‘turn away’)

It was a morning like this
they came for you, those Border
Force creeps. You’d slipped out the back –
just saw a blur of your blue

sleeve, a flick of pony tail.
Know what I think?
If those bastards hadn’t come
you’d have been a keeper.

From the moment you pulled on
the overall, arm in a dancer’s curve:
reminded me of wrapping Christmas
satsumas in blue tissue paper.

The way your accent skipped
syllables, like hiccups or giggles,
when you turned from the till –
those delicate gestures.

Not being funny, but you
left me standing in a scatter
of onion skins, cold catch of draught
on the back of my neck, wondering.

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David Attwooll recognized by the Havant Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2015

It is with great pleasure that Two Rivers Press republishes the results of this year’s Havant Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2015, especially as not one but two poems by our poet, David Attwooll, are acknowledged.

If you are interested in meeting the poets and hearing them read their poems you have a chance.  Come to the Havant Literary Festival Poetry Day Saturday 12th September 2015.    The prize winners will be offered short readings to include their winning entry.

Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalDavid Attwooll will most likely read from his new collection, The Sound Ladder.  Buy a copy, follow along and have David inscribe it!


And now…without further ado….a drum roll, please!



The results as determined by the Adjudicator, Joan McGavin, for the Havant Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2015 on the theme “Boundary” are as follows:

1st Greengrocer’s Apostrophe by David Attwooll of Oxford
2nd Untrammelled by John Foggin of Ossett, Yorkshire
3rd Buddleia by Margot Myers of Oxford

Commended poems, in no particular order:

  • On the Pale by Wendy Klein of Tidmarsh, Berkshire
  • Long Island Photo also by David Attwooll
  • In this World and the Next by Chris Hardy of London
  • Fences by Peter Daniels of London
  • Boundaries by Denise Bennett of Havant
  • The Family Name by Julie Mellor of Sheffield
  • The Art of Mending Fences by Louise Ordish of Reading Berkshire


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Friday 21st August – Poets’ Cafe – South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading

Friday 21st August – Poets’ Cafe – South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU – 8pm door – £5/£4

As performance artist, TRP poet and now famous children’s literature author, A.F. Harrold wrote in his newletter:

While I’m up north pretending to be a modern Philip Larkin poetry continues in Reading with our very own regular monthly night of… poetry. As usual we don’t have a guest in August (even poets need holidays) and so the height of the summer is given over to our open mic special with the ‘Covers Night’ theme. Eleven months of the year we have to listen to people going on about their own poems, but this month we encourage them to share poems by other people, living or dead, famous or obscure. Even people who aren’t poets can get up and read, and with that in mind my stand in this month, the person pretending to be me is one of these rare non-poets, Mr Claire Dyer, Jez Dyer himself. Treat him well. Do as he says. And if you can please turn up to give him and South Street your support.

Hear, hear!

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16 June – 30 August: Sally Castle’s “Shipping Forecast” – for sale

Shipping forecastWho has not delighted in listening to the shipping forecast? There is something so poetic about

Artist, Sally Castle, has captured the poetry of that radio broadcast favorite in her linocut, “The Shipping Forecast”, prints of which are available at the Robin’s Nest Gallery Summer Exhibition 2015 going on now.

The Summer exhibition from the 16th of June to the 30th August is entitled ‘Water’. Come see the wonderful  eclectic mix of new artwork and three dimensional pieces for every budget.


Opening times:

The Robin’s Nest Gallery, 72 High Street, Wargrave, RG10 8BY.

Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm daily, and 11am to 2.30pm on a Sunday.

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Review: Carol Rumens reviews “Look-out” by Ian House from The Arts of Peace

It is summer time and the Two Rivers Press web editor is digging around to find stories that somehow did not get posted in a timely fashion.  Amongst the treasures found, a wonderful review in The Guardian, exactly one year ago,  of Ian House’s poem “Look-out”.


For now the city’s at peace. The sniper’s rifle
is upright between his knees, his hands
are soothed by the barrel and he’s posted
in an armchair at a crossroads
among dangling balconies, torn-off dresses,
jagged whisky bottles, sandbags, dolls
and listens to vanished disco tunes.
Coffee is a memory he tastes and smells.
He knows, he knows, the cafes will re-fill
with statesmen, poets, astronomers, good-time girls;
there will be public worship, evening strolls,
bookshops, bakeries, banana splits
and table scraps that can be left for dogs.


"Look-out" appears in the anthology, The Arts of Peace.

“Look-out” appears in the anthology, The Arts of Peace.

Here is just a bit of Carol Rumens’ review:

“The Arts of Peace, writes Adam Piette in the introduction, turns from “anniversary fuelled flag-waving and fake tearfulness towards a measured and felt solidarity with those who have suffered, as well as a quiet celebration of the peacetime that is so easily lost, so quickly taken for granted, so undervalued.” House finds symbols of that easily undervalued peacetime in a moment of ceasefire, abstracted from any specific war or battle, but not thereby neutralised. Look-out seems both local and universal.

We’re all familiar, if only at second hand, with the unreal-seeming juxtapositions of war. The poem begins, as a news report might, with a bizarre but almost comic combination: a sniper, who appears to be, or perhaps ought to be, on “Look out”, is actually relaxing “in an armchair at a crossroads”. The tenuousness of possession and occupation is cunningly underlined. Detritus is scattered around; in fact, the armchair is part of it. The sniper himself hasn’t laid down his arms, though the rifle ledged “upright between his knees” is a reassurance, a kind of phallic comforter. Is his dreamy calm justified by the situation? The odd boldness of his presence in such a public place might suggest he’s traumatised or high – that somehow he has gone “over the edge” into his private memories of normality. The “vanished disco tunes” he listens to must be in his own head, like the memory of the taste and smell of coffee. How soon will his dream be shattered?…”  – from “Poem of the week: Look-out by Ian House” by Carol Rumens (The Guardian, Monday 11 August 2014 14.26 BST)

The whole review in The Guardian is here and well worth reading.

Ian House has two poetry collections published by Two Rivers Press:  Nothing’s Lost and Cutting the Quick.





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Fiona Talkington of “Sounds like Lunch” interviews Jenny Halstead about Silchester: Life on the Dig

IMG_2619If you are at all interested in art and/or archaeology then you should listen to this “Sounds Like Lunch” podcast.

Fiona Talkington talks to Jenny Halstead, artist-in-residence,  the very last summer of a multi-summer dig about the Roman town at Silchester, Calleva Atrebatum.

If you caught mention of the book, Silchester: Life on the Dig at the end of the podcast, well, you can get yourself,  you favorite artist, and your favorite archaeologist  copies of this beautiful little book which documents the last summer dig at this important Roman site.

Jenny’s superior draughtsmanship, her eye for colour and her wide variety of techniques produce evocative, lively images.   The resulting book is a fitting and enduring record of his historic episode in the life of an ancient city.

The book will be published October 2015.  To order your copy of Silchester: Life on the Dig, click here.

(This podcast was first broadcast August 2014, at Silchester, before the site was backfilled!)

silchester dig image


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Botanical illustrator, Christina Hart-Davies offers September courses

Next summer, Christina Hart-Davies’ book, A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora will be published by Two Rivers Press.  (For more information on the title and to take advantage of our special pre-publication  price offer,  please click here.)

In the meantime,  Christina is offering the following courses this autumn.  They fill up rapidly so don’t delay in signing up if you fancy honing your botanical illustration skills.


1 Fruits and Berries (on paper or vellum – your choice!)
Friday 4th & Saturday 5th September 10 – 4 pm Hilton, (between Blandford and Dorchester) Dorset.
Fee £60 for 2 days, £35 one day if space available, priority given to those booking both days.
Book through Christina:
Waiting list only

Painting Autumn Plants
Sunday 13th September 10am – 4pm Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, nr Romsey, Hants
Fee £50 (NEW! includes refreshments and lunch)
NB Book directly with the Gardens: 01794 369318 or online at

Painting Leaves
Friday 18th September 10am – 4pm Digby Hall, Sherborne, Dorset Fee – see Artslink website or brochure
NB Book directly with Sherborne Arts Link: 01935 815899 or

Autumn Plants in Watercolour
22 – 25th September The Kingcombe Centre, West Dorset. Residential £395, non-residential £275. Book directly through the Centre: Tel 01300 320684 or online at Only a few places left!

For further details on these courses, or those in 2016 contact Christina:

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Review: John Matthias on “The Arts of Peace”

Arts of peace revised cover 20 March

Can one  commemorate war with poetry about peace?

That was what the editors, of anthology The Arts of Peace, asked themselves when they set out to mark the First World War centenary in 2014.

A long piece, by poet and professor emeritus,  John Matthias, entitled,  On Being Asked for a (Peaceful) War Poem appeared in Notre Dame Review no. 38.  It is an essay, a survey of war literature, a self analysis, and it is replete with illustrative poems. It is well worth a read:

Here are several extracts, published with permission.

From On Being Asked for a (Peaceful) War Poem by John Mattias:

The whole genre of “war poetry” is a problematic category, but as the editor of another nthology once remarked, it’s well to remember that “The best war poetry is also the best poetry: Homer and Shakespeare.”Anyway, like Beaven, Riley, Logan and the others, I wrote a poem. After afew months passed I felt uneasy about having done that, vaguely embarrassed, even ashamed. What kind of purchase could I possibly have on the First World War, by what authority should I open my mouth at all, what wound gave  permission to speak? Many poets in the anthology, it appears, approached the war obliquely, but I took my assignment to be some kind of direct address…

It has been said that the history of philosophy consists of footnotes to Plato; it could also be said that all of the terrible wars of our century have been extensions, in one way or another, of The Great War, “the war to end all wars” that didn’t, the war with no living survivors as of some years back, the war fought by the thousands and millions now pushing up poppies. I say “our century”; but of course I am a 20th century refugee who has
washed up on to a 21st century beachhead and doesn’t expect to hold his position for very much longer. Historical amnesia gets worse and worse. I retired from teaching at about the point when a significant number of my students in a course actually called “The Literature of World War I” clearly thought that conflict had something to do with defeating the Nazis…

As many poets resigned, or declined to write, during World War II, the novelists took over… For the poetry of modern war, with a few important exceptions, one still reads work by the poets of World War One. Or at least one should. It’s amazing how alive and fresh and heartbreaking even some of the standard anthology pieces still seem, whether modernist or Georgian…

So what did Peter Robinson and Adrian Blamires want us to do? They took their title from Andrew Marvell’s “Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland,” which speaks of “the inglorious arts of peace.” Adam Piette’s Introduction remarks that Cromwell in Marvell’s ode begins to embody “history-as-warfare” and “Marvell subtly sets up his own status as poet practicing the arts of peace as a self-sanctioned rival to Cromwell and his arts of war.” There are many poems in this anniversary volume that do not deal directly with World War I, but all counter the Cromwellian art of war with whatever art of peace can be mustered. For all the poets, Piette says, “poetry is itself a peace-making activity.”


For the full article, please consider purchasing the Notre Dame Review No 38.

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Man with Bombe Alaska front coverMan with Bombe Alaska by Kate Behrens (poet)

Sunday, 9 August, 2015 – Last day! See Julia Trickey’s work at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

The “Joy of Spring” exhibit at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew, has been running since February 2015.  If you have not been to see the stunning works of some of the finest botanical illustrators working today, you have until Sunday, 9 August 2015 to do so.

Julia Trickey's artwork for the Royal Mail's British Flora (Spring Blooms) Stamp Set

Julia Trickey’s artwork for the Royal Mail’s British Flora (Spring Blooms) Stamp Set

Read a detailed review and overview of  this exhibit  on the arts blog Making a Mark.  At the very end of the review is a mention of the works of our very own Julia Trickey:

Also included in the exhibition are the working drawings and the finished artwork produced by Julia Trickey for the Royal Mail for the Post and Go Collection – British Flora (Spring Blooms) Stamp Set. Julia has also produced a publication Plant Portraits by Post (Published by Two Rivers Press) about the process and pitfalls of producing the Royal Mail British Flora illustrations.  Plus a painting from her last exhibit at the RHS Botanical Art Show.

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Review: David Attwooll’s The Sound Ladder reviewed by Wendy Klein

Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalIf you haven’t already read it, take a look at the review of David Attwool’s “The Sound Ladder” posted on, an international online cultural magazine.

The reviewer, Wendy Klein finds much to enjoy in an ambitious new collection.

Order your own copy here.

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Writing_on-the_Wall_Cover_finalThe Writing on the Wall: An Anthology of Reading’s Latin Inscriptions by Peter Kruschwitz (author)

Make it a summer outing: Summer Exhibition at The Robins Nest Gallery

Hardy Places front cover final

Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle’s artwork for “Henley Regatta” in the recently published “Thomas Hardy: Places and Other Poems” is part of the Summer Exhibition 2015 at the Robins Nest Gallery, as is, the fish print for the cover of Ian House’s poetry collection “Nothing’s Lost”.


Make it an outing.  Visit The Robins Nest Gallery.

Opening times:

The Robin’s Nest Gallery, 72 High Street, Wargrave, RG10 8BY.

Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm daily, and 11am to 2.30pm on a Sunday.

The Robin’s Nest Gallery is a contemporary art and gift gallery based in the picturesque village of Wargrave on the river Thames. The Robins Nest Gallery is the idea of jewellery, needlefelter and illustrator Jo Sinclair who has lived in the village for 37 years. She wanted to bring beautiful handmade work, from across the U.K. to the local community.

Located on the high street in the centre of Wargarve, The Robins Nest Gallery sells many beautiful pieces of work from jewellery, glass, textiles and ceramics to original artworks, sculpture, prints and much more.


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16 June – 30 August 2015: Summer Exhibition at the Robins Nest Gallery

robins nest gallery 1



Two Rivers Press artist and letterer, Sally Castle, is exhibiting in the annual Summer Exhibition at The Robins Nest Gallery.  Come and enjoy Sally’s and the other artists’ exploration of the exhibition theme, Water.


Where: The Robin’s Nest Gallery, 72 High Street, Wargrave, RG10 8BY. For map, click here.

When: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm daily, and 11am to 2.30pm on Sunday.

The Robin’s Nest Gallery is a contemporary art and gift gallery based in the picturesque village of Wargrave on the river Thames. The Robins Nest Gallery is the idea of jewellery, needlefelter and illustrator Jo Sinclair who has lived in the village for 37 years. She wants to bring beautiful handmade work, from across the U.K,  to the local community.

Located on the high street in the centre of Wargarve, The Robins Nest Gallery sells many beautiful pieces of work from jewellery, glass, textiles and ceramics to original artworks, sculpture, prints and much more.

robins nest gallery logo

More information on the Robins Nest Gallery and the Summer Exhibition is available here.


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SPECIAL OFFER: Pre-publication price and free shipping on  “A Wild Plant Year” by Christina Hart-Davies

poppies mergedAward winning, botantical artist and illustrator,  Christina Hart-Davies  presents, A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora a lavishly illustrated book on the cultural, social, folkloric and medicinal history of British wild plants.

The perfect gift for any nature-lovers, nostalgia-buffs, folklorists and botanical-art-lovers…not to mention  gardeners – though, in fact,  hardly any garden plants are included.  It’s all wild plants!

Pre-order now for £12.50! 

Take advantage of our special offer of £12.50* and free shipping for orders taken until December 30, 2015 (NB: publication August 2016)

  • By post to 24 New Road, Reading RG1 5JD with your name, postal address, and the quantity ordered and cheque made out to Two Rivers Press Ltd for the total amount.

*(regularly priced £14.99)

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© Poppies by Christina Hart-DaviesA Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora by Christina Hart-Davies (author, artist)

June 30, 2015: Inpress poem of the week ‘Nightwalking’ by David Attwooll

Posted on the InPress website, June 30, 2015 by Pete Hebden:

David Attwool’s great new collection The Sound Ladder (Two Rivers Press, 2015), contains, among other fine poems, a sequence called “Ground Work”, made up of one poem for each month of the year, reflecting on the seasonal changes of a floodplain bordering Oxford and the Thames.

See what you think of July’s entry:

after Philip Sidney & Charles Mingus

The moon in jive-ass slippers dances close
to offer back neglected things we lost:
a partner’s kiss, a porkpie hat, a face
that brightens as she coolly circles past.

Two weeks of heatwave and the hottest day
for seven years unpacked by warm fat rain:
the scents of earth and river, dung and hay,
sweet and rotten, beneath a perigee moon.

The ghost of a riff on moonlit ground
– Boogie Stop Shuffle and a walking bass –
the furthest supernova ever found,
a faint signature at the edge of space

ten billion years ago. We stray
in Mingus landscapes here, places to play.

Here is the full review and here you can buy the book for the full cycle of poems.

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June 13-14, 2015: Whiteknights Studio trail: Bring some art into your life

A weekend of inspiring and inspired activity – Free for the whole family!

The Whiteknights Studio Trail is a fantastic opportunity to see a fabulous range of art and craft in the area of Whiteknights, Reading. This free event, now in its 15th year gives visitors the unique chance to meet local artists and see their work, methods and tools in their studios, homes and public buildings.

Visit Two Rivers Press at 24 New Road (location 11 on the trail).

For more information, visit the Whiteknights Studio Trail website.

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TRP_Rilke_CoverThe Rilke of Ruth Speirs: New Poems, Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, & Others by John Pilling (author, editor) Peter Robinson (poet, editor)

Nature Poetry Competition 2014: David Attwooll poem, Otmoor, commended


The results of the the RSPB and The Rialto’s Nature Poetry Competition are in.   The competition has been a great success, with over 3300 poems entered.  The judge, none other than, Simon Armitage, selected four prize winning poems and seven highly commended poems.    David Attwooll’s  poem “Otmoor” was one of those seven.

As the organizers of the competition said “Given that so many poems were received of a very high standard, this really is quite an achievement. Congratulations!”

“Otmoor” appears in the collection, The Sound Ladder.

For a full listing of the winners and other commended poems, visit  The Rialto website.

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Radio program: “A Good Read” discusses Saunder’s “Christina the Astonishing”

 ©Two Rivers Press. All rights reserved

©Two Rivers Press. All rights reserved

Radio 4 Extra is re-running ‘A Good Read’ with Sarah Lefanu – this episode includes a discussion of Jane Draycott & Lesley Saunder’s “Christina the Astonishing”:  a collection of poems inspired by the life of an obscure medieval saint, Christina the Astonishing.

Tune in online at

This episode from 1999 features with a fascinating discussion with  actress Souad Faress and writer and lecturer Professor John Sutherland, about Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight Children.”

Both Faress and Sutherland rave about the beauty of the production values of the book.  Again, well done Two Rivers Press.


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Thursday, 14 May 2015: Claire Dyer & Gill Learner launch anthology “Dance” in London

Dance-product-300x300Two Rivers Press poet, Gill Learner, has a new poem in the new anthology, Dance published by The Emma Press.  And Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer, will be reading from that very same anthology!

So dance right over to the launch (downstairs in the Rambert HQ’s Archive Room, London) for this new anthology, armed with Gill’s Two Rivers Press collection, The Agister’s Experiment and Claire’s collection,  Eleven Rooms. Show the world you are a Gill Learner and Claire Dyer fan!

For details about the event visit the Emma Press website.

RSVP to queries [at] the emmapress [dot] com if you’d like to come. 

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Take a 3 minute break: Julia Trickey talks about her Post & Go British flora series

plant portraits trickeyIf you have not yet bought your copy of Plant Portraits by Post, just take three minutes and watch this lovely video about Julia Trickey’s stamp illustrations for the Royal Mail.

Plant Portraits by Post is a beautiful exploration of easily overlooked masterpieces.  Treat an artist friend, a flower lover, a stamp collector to a copy!


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cookeA Murmuration by David Cooke (poet)

Friday, May 22, 2015: Duncan Mackay takes EAT WILD to Stockholm, Sweden: May 18 registration deadline!

EatWildIf you happen to be in Stockholm, Sweden on May 22, 2015 and are interested in food and sustainability, consider attending the seminar, The role of food culture for a sustainable landscape heritage,   at Swedish National Heritage Board, Storgatan 41, Stockholm.    

At 13:30, Two Rivers Press author, Duncan Mackay will give a talk entitled “EAT WILD: connecting people to landscapes through foraging and scrumping”.

Download a pdf of the seminar programme here.

For registration not later than the 18 of May please follow this link. Maximum number of participants; 70.

If you cannot make it to Sweden, buy Duncan’s book, Eat Wild.  It covers much of what he will cover in his talk, plus a little more!

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Saturday, 16 May 2015, 3pm: Victoria Pugh at open mic!

MrsMarvellousCoverTwo Rivers Press poet Victoria Pugh and Robin Thomas are giving a poetry reading and holding an open mic as part of the Caversham Arts Trail on Saturday 16th May 2015 at 3.00.

Victoria might even read a poem from her collection Mrs. Marvellous, or maybe she’ll read something else.  Come along and find out.

Details of venue etc download the Caversham Arts Trail Flyer:

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10 & 15 May, 2015: Open mikes in Reading….news from A. F. Harrold

Two Rivers Press poet, and children’s fiction author, A.F. Harrold sent us this note about upcoming open mike dates in Reading (UK).

Sunday 10th May – Speakeasy – Oakford Social Club, 53 Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1PZ – 7.30pm? – £?
This is a farily new open mic night, as I understand it (music and spoken word and whatever), in Reading at which I’ll be doing a little guest spot.

Friday 15th May – Poets’ Cafe – South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU – 8pm door – £5/£4
This month our special guest, squeezed between all the open mic poets, is Joe Duggan, a man I have met and liked. Come and meet and like him too. And take part in the open mic, or just listen, etc.

Two Rivers Press loves local spoken word performances and encourages you to get out and show your support for your local artists, or be a local artist and perform. Either open mikes are wonderful community building events and a fun night out.

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Thursday, 14 May 2015: “Renewal” Some Poems for Spring

Ad Hoc Poets

will be reading at

Caversham Library

Church Street, Caversham RG4 8AU


Thursday 14 May


7.30 pm

All welcome


For this event Ad Hoc Poets are:

John Froy • Michael Hutchinson • Gill Learner

Robin Thomas • Clare Waters


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Tuesday, 5 May 2015, 2pm: Tune in to hear Claire Dyer on BBC Berkshire Book Club

Two River Press’ very own Claire Dyer  has been asked to be a regular on BBC Radio Berkshire’s afternoon show’s new book group BBC Radio Berkshire Book Club.

Tune in this week, at  2.00 pm, for a discussion of Poldark, Winston Graham’s series of historical novels, upon which BBC One’s drama series of the same name is based.

The discussion of Poldark began in the first broadcast of the BBC Radio Berkshire Book Clun on April 7th. “Wwe’re discussing the book again. In the first programme we introduced the book in the hope it would encourage people to read it and then we’ll discuss it in more detail during the second programme,” says Claire Dyer.

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Sunday, 3 May 2015 at 6pm: David Attwool and Peter Robinson read Poetry at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore Oxford


When: Sunday 3 May at 6pm

Where: The Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 34 Walton Street
Oxford OX2 6AA

What exactly: David Attwooll and Peter Robinson will be reading from their respective new books, this time joined by the brilliant jazz pianist Frank Harrison.

Tickets:    Tickets are £4.


Reservations: Dennis Harrison, Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 07737 876213,

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Sunday, 3 May 2015: Two River Poets, Saunders, Utting and Dyer, read at 8pm!

Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Claire Dyer (l to r); photo by Dwain Comissiong, Flotion Photography

Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Claire Dyer (l to r); photo by Dwain Comissiong, Flotion Photography

Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting and Claire Dyer  are scheduled to read with other invited poets at d:two  in Henley on Sunday 3rd May @ 8.00 pm as  part of the Henley Arts Trail. Treat yourself to some word music, word painting, word play…some poetry.

Where: d:two, 55-57 Market Place, Henley, RG9 2AA


The event is being organised by artist Nacera Guerin. For a full schedule of events at the Henley Arts Trail, click here.

Fair's Fair cover finalEleven_Rooms_CoverCloud_Camera_Cover




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Catching up with a poem by Kate Behrens

Beholder_Cover (1)How many of us fall behind with our reading? If you find a little time, treat yourself to a catch up session.

Make a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, pour a glass of wine and sit down and read “Looking For Clues” by our poet, Kate Behrens. It appeared in the winter issue of Blackbox Manifold, issue 13, an online mag for experimental poetry.

And while you are catching up, treat yourself, or a friend, to The Beholder, a volume of Kate’s poems from Two Rivers Press.

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Sunday, 26 April, 2015: Join us for the launch of Attwooll’s “The Sound Ladder”

You are Invited! 

Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalWhat:  the launch of David Attwooll’s  poetry collection, “The Sound Ladder.”   There will be poetry and music. Come meet the poet, David Attwooll,  and the illustrator, Andrew Walton

Where: Great Expectations, 33 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS

When: Sunday 26th April, 2015, 12:00 noon onwards.

Cost: free

Parking: see map

You can buy your copie of “The Sound Ladder” on the day, or online here.

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Caught_on_Camera_CoverCaught on Camera: Reading in the 70s by Terry Allsop (author)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015: London Book Fair – Our poet, David Attwooll is there!

This year is the first year that the The London Book Fair will host a Poetry Pavillion!

Two Rivers Press poet, David Attwooll will join other poets in live readings at The Poetry Pavilion Party & Main Stage,  3.30-5.00pm.

Don’t miss David at 3:40pm!  He will be reading from his new collection, The Sound Ladder.

There are poetry events all day Tuesday and Wednesay and the full schedule is available here.

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Review: a long review of The Arts of Peace in the English Association Newsletter

Arts_of_Peace The Arts of Peace forces “…us to consider the possibility that war and peace are almost as unavoidable as they are inextricable. It is the fact that The Arts of Peace does not automatically accept war as a human and a literary phenomenon, however, that is the catalyst for these questions, and is one of the anthology’s most laudable achievements, along with its demonstration of the breadth of poetic reaction that these issues generate.” So says, Owen Lowery in his recent review of the anthology for the English Association Newsletter.

To read the full review, click here.

To purchase a copy of The Arts of Peace, click here.

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Support Two Rivers Press! Vote now!

Two Rivers Press has been shortlisted for Independent Business of the Year in the Alt Reading awards.

Please take 10 seconds and vote for us.  It would be nice to be recognized for our mostly volunteer efforts to publish beautiful and interesting books in and about Reading.

Please share the link below with your family and friends.


alt reading

Select  Independent Business of the Year.

Vote for Two Rivers Press.

Voting ends Sunday 4th April.

Thank you for all your support.


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Authors don’t just write: Claire Dyer gives advice to students

Claire Dyer speaks to  Access to Higher Education Diploma students at Reading College

Claire Dyer speaks to Access to Higher Education Diploma students at Reading College

Two Rivers Press poet Claire Dyer (Eleven Rooms) is also the author of the novels The Perfect Affair and The Moment.  In March Claire Dyer visited Reading College to speak to Access to Higher Education Diploma students.

Claire spoke to the Education Professions pathway students about her amazing career as an author and poet and also her academic studies as an adult learner. The students had the chance to be inspired by a great role model and learn more about becoming a poet and author, first hand.

For a full account of Claire’s visit, click here.

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Pre-order your copy of David Attwooll’s Sound Ladder


Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalIt is with great excitement that we announce the forthcoming publication of David Attwooll’s poetry collection,  “The Sound Ladder”:    evocative poetry alongside evocative illustrations from Andrew Walton.

“The Sound Ladder” will be published in April 2015 but you can pre-order the book now here.



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Claire Dyer wins 2015 Torriano Poetry Competition!


photographer:Dale Strickland-Clark


19 March 2015 – Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate its poet, Claire Dyer, on her recent win of the 2015 Torriano Poetry Competition!   There is nothing quite like reading the words:

1st Prize One Small Act of Survival, Claire Dyer, Reading, Berkshire.



For more information about the Torriano Poetry Competition Prize Winners 2015 see

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Feb 16-19, 2015: Half term craft activities at Reading Museum

During half term there are three opportunities for children to be inspired by Allen Seaby’s wildlife art at Reading Museum:

Printing: All creatures great and small: 16 Feb 2015
Try your hand at a simplified version of the block printing Allen Seaby worked with. Ages 5+, Families. 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm £3, pay on the day, drop in. More information here.

Pony Rosettes: 17 Feb 2015 
Take a look at Seaby’s pony prints and make your own brightly coloured glittering rosette. Ages 5+, Families. 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm. £3, pay on the day, drop in. More information here.

Make & Take Rocking Horses: 18 Feb 2015
Make a cheery card rocking horse to take away. Families. Half-hour sessions between 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm. £1, pay on the day, drop in. More information here.

Arty Stationery: 19 Feb  2015
Find out more about Allen Seaby’s repeat pattern making and create your own bright and fabulous stationery to show your friends in this hands-on printing session. Ages 7+. 2-hour sessions from 10am – 12pm & 1pm-3pm. Cost £7. Booking essential. 0118 937 3400. More information here.

Please be aware that the drop-ins are very popular…

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Friday 13th and Saturday 14th February: Poetry workship at Reading Museum

Poet and educationalist Lesley Saunders is running two workshops at the Museum on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th February from 10.30-2pm. £25. To book email

Lesley Saunders by Dwain Comissiong, Flotion Photography

Join acclaimed poet and educationalist Lesley Saunders for one of two workshops exploring the meanings of nature in our lives and particularly our childhood contact with it. After some semi-structured exercises to develop your imagination, study Seaby’s art work and other writers’ poetry and stories before drafting your own creative writing. Bring something to write on and with.

Lesley’s recently won the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2014 – follow the web link below for details.

Who: Adults 16+

When:  10.30am – 2pm

Where:  Reading Museum & Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1QH

How Much: £25, click here for further information and to book

Website of poet and workshop leader Lesley Saunders


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Until March 22, 2015: Reading Museum’s exhibition “Allen Seaby: Art and Nature”

Exhibition: Allen Seaby: Art and Nature

Running from: 11 Oct 2014 To: 22 Mar 2015

Venue: Sir John Madejski Art Gallery, Reading Museum & Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1QH

NOW OPEN. The first retrospective of this important artist and much-loved local man. An illustrator, teacher and novelist, Allen Seaby (1867–1953) is well known for his bird and animal paintings. However, with increasing interest in early twentieth century printmaking, his role in introducing Japanese woodblock techniques to this country is exciting art historians.

Seaby was the longest serving Professor of Fine Art at Reading University and fondly remembered by students such as Kathleen Hale. Ageing bookworms may remember his children’s pony stories or his illustrations of birds and their eggs in the famous Ladybird book British Birds and Their Nests, some of which feature in the exhibition.

The museum also has a programme of Seaby-related activities for adults and children, including a study day ‘Art and Nature: the Work of Allen Seaby’ on Saturday 21 February 2015 – browse the museum’s What’s On pages for more information.

A beautifully illustrated book, Allen W. Seaby – Art and Nature by Martin Andrews and Robert Gillmor, has been published by Two Rivers Press to accompany the exhibition and is on sale at the Museum for a special price of £10. Cards, coasters, a poster and other related books are also on sale and make lovely gifts for any occasion.




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Review: Ian House’s Nothing’s Lost is reviewed in The North, no. 53

Nothings_Lost_CoverReview of Nothing’s Lost by Ian House

Review by Wendy Klein, published in The North, no. 53, Autumn 2014.

In his second collection, Nothing’s Lost, Ian House portrays the world with all its objects, creatures and relationships through his own unique lens. His is a vision of utter originality; there is not a simile or metaphor in this short collection that does not tingle with freshness. In the opening piece (‘Peregrine’), the birds ‘floats’ to the falconer’s hand.  ‘…hooks to the leather fist / like the other self he sees in the mirror, / inches from his eyeballs and a world away.’ The relationship between bird and master is ‘one untrammelled by love or pity.’ This poet’s cow is the perfect essence of cow-ness: ‘…massive and dainty, a ton / perched on four spindles…/ Her tail conducts a zestful orchestra.’ (‘Discovering Cows’). He notes ‘How sexy bream are, ‘industrious lap dancers / in slinky chainmail.’ Objects removed from their original localities; a boar’s head sculpture in front of Reading Museum, returns to life through House: ‘He thunders into the land of the dead. / I follow. We rootle together.’ Family memories unfold in scenes of such vividness that the reader experiences a grandmother: ‘Her kiss-soft whiskery mouth. / Her witchy hump.’ A family game of monopoly is revisited in lines that echo Dylan Thomas: ‘It was all joy: / the clatter of bones, the held breath, … / unctuous Deeds.’ (‘Real Estate’). After a chance meeting with a past girlfriend (at 18), the poet remembers her as she sways back down the street ‘…dancing through a joss stick room.’ (‘How We Are’). There is humour  here too as House muses on his ‘On-Off Affair with Anxiety’: ‘What will my life be / without the frissons you’ve given?’ Humour and pathos intertwine when Gogol’s nose is liberated from his coffin: ‘Think / how that promiscuous nose / will weep for men at the back door of restaurants;’ (Gogol on the Loose’). These poems invigorate the imagination, inviting the reader to join in their verbal aerobics. Like the peregrine, House can ‘strip life / to the bone like poetry…’ – highly skilled and totally authentic poetry , a must-read collection.

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Saturday, 7 February, 2015: Become a Reading Detective! For children 5+!


Reading_Detectives_CoverAre you 5 years or older?

Do you live in Reading?

Would you like to be a detective?

Well, then, as part of the National Libraries Day, Two Rivers Press author Kerry Renshaw and photographer, Electra Colios,  will be running a session for children (and their adult companions) based on their books of detective trails for children in Reading.

Where and when?

10am – 12pm  – Caversham Library, Church Street, Reading RG4 8AU, United Kingdom



2.15 -3.30pm  – Palmer Park Library, Saint Bartholomews Road, Reading RG1 3QB, United Kingdom


Click here for more National Library Day events.

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Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalThe Sound Ladder by Andrew Walton (artist) David Attwooll (poet)

February, 2015 – 9 August, 2015: Trickey at Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew

plant portraits trickeyThe exhibition ‘The Joy of Spring’ will run from  February until 9 August 2015 at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew.   Come see the works of wonderful botanical artists,  including Julia Trickey, author and illustrator of Plant Portraits by Post: Post & Go British Flora.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 – Poets’ Cafe, at South Street Arts Centre, with Adrian Blamires and Terry Cree

Friday 16th January – Poets’ Cafe, at South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU – 8pm doors – £4/£5

To start the year off,   Adrian Blamires and Terry Cree, both fine Two Rivers Press poets,  will appear at the Poets’ Cafe. That’ll be good, and wrapped around them is the usual open mic. So come and read, listen and go home again.

It’s worth noting that this event will, for one time only, be held in a yurt. The yurt will be in our usual room, which makes it practically civilised. (The yurt will be there because this show is on the following week and we’ll be interrupting rehearsals.)

Buy Adrian and Terry’s poetry collections.

by Adrian Blamires:  The Effect of Coastal Processes, The Pang Valley

by Terry Cree: Fruit



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Happy New Year! A new year, a new poem from Victoria Pugh

Two Rivers Press wishes everyone a happy and healthy 2015 and offers this new poem.

Trick or Treat

by Victoria Pugh

It’s the evening when the borders between the worlds are open.

The doorbell rings:  “Trick or treat, Mister,” say two little witches.

A bag of sweets stands between our walls and a swift egging.

Behind the children, a man waits in the yellow edges of a streetlamp.

We think he’s a neighbour, come with his kids. So we invite him in.

The witches set off to annoy the Singhs at number twenty-four.

“Do you remember me?” he says.  We’re not sure; we say ‘of course’.

“I’ve brought you a letter.  I thought you’d want me to bring it round.”

I look in the envelope – the sea at Whistling Sands is running inside it.

We’re in the bursting blue white foam that’s seething at our ankles,

coiling us, pulling us in, curling us tight inside the deep core of a wave.

This blue white spume we stored away and kept as a box of delights.

You take the envelope, look inside, look at me, tell me that it’s empty.

We’ve been so stupid.  Next day he’s walking up the path in uniform.

“Hello,” we mumble.   “Oh no,” I say. “He’s our relief postman.”

We laugh, half-heartedly.  A ghost of a smile runs over his lips.


© Trick or Treat by Brian Murphy




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Mairi MacInnes

Mairi MacInnes was born in 1925 in County Durham and educated in Yorkshire and at Somerville College, Oxford. In 1954 she married the American scholar and writer John McCormick and went to live with him in West Berlin, then an enclave in Communist East Germany, and from 1959 to 1988 in America, except for years in Mexico and Spain. She and her husband now live in York, England. Widowed in 2010, she now lives in York, England.

Awards and Fellowships

Doctor of the University of York (D.Univ.) honoris causa
National Endowment in the Arts Fellowship
New Jersey Arts Fellowship
Ingram-Merrill Foundation Fellowship
Witter Brynner Fellowship

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David Attwooll’s forthcoming collection The Sound Ladder on Facebook

Isn’t social media wonderful?  Everyone can get excited together.   New Two Rivers Press poet, David Attwooll’s collection The Sound Ladder will be published April 2015 but already friends and loved ones are getting excited.   Jenny Lewis has posted the following generous plug on Facebook:

“Terrific news to announce that David Attwooll‘s first collection,The Sound Ladder, will be published by Two Rivers Press in 2015 with art work by Andrew Walton Many congratulations, David and Andy, this will be a stunning debut, intelligent, curious, sharp, lyrical, wide-reaching, humane and infused with the excitement and pleasure with which this poet (drummer and jazz fan) seems to respond to life generally.”


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Friday, 19 December 2014: South Street Poets’ Cafe – Susan Utting, Claire Dyer & Lesley Saunders

When: Friday 19 December;  Doors open at 8pm, poetry begins at 8.30pm
Where: South Street Arts Centre, 21 South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU
Cost:  Tickets £5, £4 readers


Eleven_Rooms_CoverFair's Fair Front coverCloud Camera coverWriter, comedian and champion of all things poetical, A.F Harrold comperes Reading’s longest running and best loved poetry platform. Every month the night is made up of an open mic section welcoming anyone to read their work in a friendly atmosphere and a full reading by some of the country’s finest poets.

This month’s guests are…Susan Utting, Claire Dyer & Lesley Saunders.

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Christmas is coming….check out our bundles!

From November 20th to December 20th, 2014 we coupled up books into special bundles and applied a 20% discount in honour of Two Rivers Press 20 years in Reading.

Searching for something perfect a colleague, friends,  family for Christmas?  Consider this….

For those interested in photography and Reading our Through a Lens gift combo: Newtown A Photographic Journey in Reading 1974 and  Fox Talbot & the Reading Establishment








For those would be know-it-alls, Know Your Town gift combo: The Reading Quiz Book AND Abattoirs Road to Zinzan Street.






Follow a link to one of the books in the gift combo of your choice and click on the gift combo to place your order for both books.

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This weekend: November 7-9, 2014: The Reading Poetry Festival

logo-reading-poetry-festivalCome one! Come all!  The Reading Poetry Festival takes place this weekend!

Reading Poetry Festival 2014 will bring together many of the most exciting talents in contemporary UK poetry, with a strong emphasis on local writers and presses and on young and emerging poets. Among the weekend’s readings, lectures and conversations will be themed events on War Poetry, on two poets born a century ago, John Berryman and Dylan Thomas, and one who died a decade ago, Michael Donaghy.

Two Rivers Press poets will be there:  Peter Robinson, Gill Learner, Jane Draycott, Adrian Blamires and A.F. Harrald.   Book your ticket to attend our special event, “Writing War: The Arts of Peace” on Sunday, 9 November 2014.

For a list of events on each day of the festival, please visit the festival website.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014: Reading Poetry festival event: Writing War: The Arts of Peace

On Remembrance Sunday, join us for readings from First World War poetry and from The Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems, edited by Adrian Blamires and Peter Robinson.

This gathering of newly composed poems addresses peace and war from an unusually varied range of angles.

For the festival’s finale, contributors to the anthology will read their own work and their choice of poems associated with World War One, introduced by Adrian Blamires: Adrian Blamires and Peter Robinson, co-editors of The Arts of Peace, with Conor Carville, Jane Draycott, Gill  Learner, Lesley Saunders and Matthew Sperling.

When:  7–8.15
Where: Lecture Theatre, London Road campus
Cost: £8 / £4 concessions


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Saturday, November 22, 2014: Sale of Peter Hay original works

When:  12-6pm

Where:  24 New Road, Reading, Berkshire UK

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Read Julia Trickey’s “Painting for post”

Article in The Artist 2014-10-13 12.29.58An article by our author,  Julia Trickey appears in the November’s issue of The Artist magazine.  Julia describes the process researching and preparing the botantical illustrations used in the Royal Mail’s British Flora Post & Go series.

The story is also told and illustrated  in her book Plant Portraits by Post: Post & Go British Flora.

plant portraits trickey


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Saturday, 18 October 2014: Poetry at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore Oxford

You are invited!

  • What:   A poetry reading by Jane Draycott, Olivia Byard, Beatrice Garland, & Andrew Smardon.  Audience response and discussion will be encouraged. Refreshments available.
  • Where:  The Albion Beatnik Bookstore,  34 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AU
  • When:   Sat 18th October 7.30pm
  • Price:  £3 (redeemable against any of the poets’ books)

JANE DRAYCOTT‘s Two Rivers’ collections include Christina the Astonishing (with Peter Hay and Lesley Saunders) and Tideway, a long sequence of poems about London’s working river (with paintings by Peter Hay). Nominated three times for the Forward Prize for Poetry and a Next Generation poet 2004, her latest collection Over was shortlisted for the 2009 T S Eliot Prize.

OLIVIA BYARD‘s forthcoming collection The Wilding Eye – New and Selected Poems will be published by The Worple Press in 2015. Her first book, From a Benediction from Peterloo Poets, was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1998. Her second collection Strange Horses (2011), was selected as one of The Telegraph’s best new collections of January 2012,

BEATRICE GARLAND is a National Health Service clinician and teacher by day. National Poetry Competition winner she has been shortlisted for the Picador Poetry Prize, won second-prize in the 2011 Ledbury Poetry Festival, and this year is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection for her recently published The Invention of Fireworks (Templar Press).

ANDREW SMARDON is an Oxford-based poet with interests including Northern landscapes and medieval literature. He is active in a number of workshops in Oxford and London, including Tideway Poets, and his work has been published in Stand, Iota and Oxford Magazine. He contributed a selection of his translations from Old Norse as well as some of his own poems at the ‘Languages, Myths and Finds’ conference at the University of Cambridge 2014.

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23-24 October, 2015: Trickey exhibits at Royal Horticultural Society

Celebrate the glorious shades of autumn at the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show, 23–24 October 2015.

Where:   RHS Horticultural Halls

When: between 10am–7pm (23 October) and 10am–5pm (24 October).

The 2015 RHS London Shades of Autumn Show is an art and design show celebrating the beauty of autumn colour. The show will be packed full of inspirational planting ideas to extend the gardening season, with stands providing advice on plants ideal for autumn interest.

plant portraits trickeyJulia Trickey, botantical illustrator and author of Plant Portraits by Post: Post & Go British Flora,  will be exhibiting there.

Go and see her works or buy a copy of this  book for a look at British flowers of all seasons.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014: An Invitation to the opening of “Allen W. Seaby Art and Nature” at the Reading Museum

seaby hareYou are invited to the opening of Reading Museum’s new exhibition, including the launch of the latest publication from us, Two Rivers Press:  Allan W. Seaby, Art and Nature.

The first retrospective of this important artist and much-loved local man. An illustrator, teacher and novelist, Allen Seaby (1867–1953) is well known for his bird and animal paintings. However, with increasing interest in early twentieth century printmaking, his role in introducing Japanese woodblock techniques to this country is exciting art historians.

Seaby was the longest serving Professor of Fine Art at Reading University and fondly remembered by students such as Kathleen Hale. Ageing bookworms may remember his children’s pony stories or his illustrations of birds and their eggs in the famous Ladybird book British Birds and Their Nests.

There will alsobe an opportunity to meet the authors,  Martin Andrews  and Robert Gillmor who will be signing copies of their book.

12:00 – 2:00pm

Reading Museum and Town Hall

Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH

Exhibition continues until 22 March, 2015

 Look out for Seaby related activities for adults and children in the New Year, including a study day ‘Art and Nature: the Work of Allen Seaby’ on Saturday 21 February 2015.

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October Book of the Month: Bizzare Berkshire

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, every month we are discounted one of our books by 20% for the whole month; all the others are discounted 20% on the 20th of the each month! Lots of 20s…..!!

October’s book is Bizarre Berkshire by Duncan MacKay. Buy your copy here before October 31st. Get 20% off!

Bizarre Berkshire combines the Thames Valley wit of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, the historical accuracy of Sellars and Yeatman’s 1066 and All That with a string of ripping yarns for the Royal County’s residents to really get their teeth into.

From the story of the yew tree at the heart of all modern democracies to the world’s first Zebra crossing, from the unique Hocktide Tuttimen of Hungerford to Royal Wedding-wracked Bucklebury – there’s something in this little A-Z guide to gobsmack the sceptical and lighten up the taciturn.

With a special foreword by Sir Michael Parkinson, who lives in Berkshire’s gourmet capital Bray.

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Be a part of it….National Poetry Day…..Thursday, 2 October, 2014

Be a part of National Poetry Day:  Attend a reading, write a poem, tie a poem to a tree, put one in your window.  Check you local papers and libraries for the poetry events closest to home or take the opportunity to travel the country to poetry readings near and far.

Catch Two Rivers Press Poets, Susan Utting, Lesley Saunders and Claire Dyer at the Swindon Poetry Festival (see entry below)!

What is National Poetry Day?

According to the Forward Arts Foundation, a charity committed to widening poetry’s audience, honouring achievement and supporting talent, through National Poetry Day, “National Poetry Day is the nation’s biggest celebration of poetry. “

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Thursday, 2 October, 2014: HIGH WIRE ACT: POEMS OF FLIGHT with Claire Dyer, Susan Utting, and Lesley Saunders

As part of the four day Swindon Poetry Festival  (2-5 October 2014) , poets Claire Dyer, Susan Utting, and Lesley Saunders explore the meanings of flight, whether in balloons, space-ships and parachutes, or as imaginary birds, or in human relationships.  Come to their performance of “High Wire Act: Poems of Flight.”

When:   Thursday, 2 October 2014 from 15:30 to 16:30 (BST) as part of the Swindon Poetry Festival (2-5 October 2014)

Where:  Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Ln, Shaw, SN5 5PJ, United Kingdom

Tickets:   Tickets are £5.00 and available from the event site, or free for those with a poetry festival pass!

Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Claire Dyer (l to r); photo by Dwain Comissiong, Flotion Photography

Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Claire Dyer (l to r); photo by Dwain Comissiong, Flotion Photography

Claire Dyer’s poetry is widely published in magazines and anthologies and her first collection, Eleven Rooms, is published by Two Rivers Press, about which Andrew Motion has said, ‘There’s a clarity about Claire Dyer’s poems that make them immediately attractive: their surfaces gleam and glitter.’ Her novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair, and her short story, Falling for Gatsby, are published by Quercus. She is currently undertaking an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Lesley Saunders has had poems published in the London Review of Books, Mslexia, the Rialto, The Warwick Review, amongst others. She has published five collections, most recently Cloud Camera from Two Rivers Press, which was described by Michael Hulse as ‘the most intelligent and thrilling book of poetry I’ve seen in several years.’Her poem, ‘The Uses of Greek’ was shortlisted for the Best Single Poem in the Forward Prize 1999, and in 2008 she won joint first prize in the inaugural Manchester competition for a portfolio of poems. Her new book, The Walls Have Angels (Mulfran Press) is due out in the autumn and includes poems telling the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Susan Utting’s 2012 collection, Fair’s Fair (Two Rivers Press) has been described as ‘joyous, heartbreaking, ramm’d with life.’ Her previous collections include Houses Without Walls, which was featured in the Independent on Sunday, with a poem included in the best single poem category of the Forward Book of Poetry. Her work has won many awards, including a Poetry Business Prize for the pamphlet, Something Small is Missing and the Peterloo Poetry Prize for ‘Under the Blue Ball’. She was selected for The Times newspaper’s best love poem prize 2010, was a winner in the Academi Cardiff International and has twice been shortlisted for the Arvon Poetry Prize. Her first full collection, Striptease, was published in 2001 by Smith/Doorstop Books.

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An Invitation: Starting this Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Rivers Press poet, Jane Draycott, extends an invitation to all of you.  Here it is:

Starting 18 September I’m running a new FREE* ‘no-prep’ reading group, a weekly 90 minute meeting at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, looking at fiction and films (and the odd poem) for sheer enjoyment, and to talk about how writers weave their effects.

No pens, no paper, no prep: for people who enjoy good writing – like a book club but without the ‘homework’. More details here. If you’d like to join us just let me know, so I can buy enough biscuits … and please do pass on the word to others who you think this might appeal to.

Thursdays 4-5.30 River & Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1BF

Contact: 01491 575108 or 01491 415605

best wishes
Jane Draycott

*part of a national initiative sponsored by the Royal Literary Fund

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“The Art School Dance” front and center at Waterstones

If you happen to be in Waterstones in Reading,  take a look at their table top display.  There,  front and center,  is John Froy’s book “The Art School Dance“, a memoir of, as the sign on the display says, a different life.   Buy your copy and follow the young man in the mustard jumper from Italy to Art School in the 70s, with many twists and turns in between.

“The Art School Dance”  is both a personal memoir, as the author battles with the confusions of those painful years between 18 and 22, and a chronicle of the times.  The 70s heralded new freedoms – to hitch-hike round Europe, to throw oneself into sexual relationships, to sample drugs. In the arts, too, change and experiment are everywhere: the figurative / abstract divide in painting and sculpture, the new photography, film and Happenings. In the midst of this turmoil the author struggles to find himself through his art, seeking consolation in his deep love of nature and landscape.

Read about a different life now.

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plant portraits trickeyPlant Portraits by Post: Post & Go British Flora by Julia Trickey (author, artist)

September’s Book of the Month – 20% discount

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, every month we are discounted one of our books by 20% for the whole month; all the others are discounted 20% on the 20th of the each month! Lots of 20s…..!!

September’s book is Newtown: A photographic journey in Reading, 1974 by Terry Allsop. Buy your copy here before September 3oth. Get 20% off!

A collection of unique photographs records the days and weeks prior to the demolition of part of Victorian Newtown to make way for its 1970s replacement. Evocative black and white images of the streets, the houses, the canal and the people reveal glimpses of a vibrant society on the brink of change, in which children play on the streets and intricate brickwork details contradict the fragility and decay already apparent in the buildings. This beautiful book will fascinate anyone either personally or professionally interested in the social history of Reading.

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August’s Book of the Month – 20% off!

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, every month we are discounted one of our books by 20% for the whole month; all the others are discounted 20% on the 20th of the each month! Lots of 20s…..!!

August’s book is  An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden by Jenny Halstead. Buy your copy before August 31th. Get 20% off!

This book presents the personal vision of the Artist in Residence at the Harris Garden in the University of Reading. Jenny Halstead captures the seasonal changes, portrays the stages of its renovation, and celebrates its enthusiastic workforce, especially the many volunteers. Accompanied by a history of the garden and an account of its restoration, these paintings and sketches memorialise a place in time!





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Monday, 28 July 2014: “The Arts of Peace” launches at MERL’s Poetry in the Garden event

When: Monday 28th July  6.30pm

Where: MERL (Museum of English Rural Life), Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

Cost: £3

NB: booking necessary at  +44 (0) 118 378 8660 or

You are invited to come along to  a summer’s evening of poetry readings for the launch of the new Two Rivers Press book, The Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems.’ Enjoy a glass of wine and take a stroll around the museum and garden.

Two Rivers Press’ latest anthology, The Arts Of Peace, collects together poems about peace and war from a whole list of local, not to mention living, poets.

The evening will be MC’d by Adrian Blamires and will include readings by:
Derek Beaven
Kate Behrens
Adrian Blamires
Vahni Capildeo
Peter Carpenter
Terry Cree
Tim Dooley
Claire Dyer
Isabel Galleymore
John Greening
A F Harrold
Ian House
Gill Learner
Allison McVety
Elaine Randell
Peter Robinson
Lesley Saunders
Simon Smith
Susan Utting
Jean Watkins

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The Roman Town at Silchester, Calleva Atrebatum, in one of only six Roman towns which is no longer inhabited.  Why is that?

Well, the University of Reading has been conducting an archaeological dig there every summer since 1997 in search of answers.  But time in running out.   The site will be closed after this year’s dig;  it will all be covered over and left for future generations to explore at some later date.

Artist, Jenny Halstead, has been invited to come along this year to document the dig visually.   Her paintings and thoughts are brought together in a new book to be published in 2015:   ‘Silchester: Life on the Dig’.

Pre-order now for £10! 

Take advantage of our special offer of £10* for orders taken during this year’s dig (7 July to 16 August, 2014).

  • By post to 24 New Road, Reading RG1 5JD with a cheque made out to Two Rivers Press Ltd and including your name and postal address.
  • Or at the Two Rivers Press stand at the Silchester excavation Open Days, Saturday, 26 July and Saturday, 9 August, 2014.

* (regularly price £12.99)

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Friday, August 1, 2014: An invitation to join us in celebrating “The Arts of Peace”



Arts of peace revised cover 20 March







The first of August 1914 saw the beginning of the war that was to end all wars and which, instead, ushered in a century of armed conflicts. Two Rivers Press marks the centenary of the start of World War I with the publication of a new anthology, The Arts of Peace, edited by Peter Robinson and Adrian Blamires.

You are invited to join us….

When:  7:30pm, Friday 1 August, 2014

Where: Acton Court, Latteridge Road, Iron Acton, Bristol: for directions click here.

What:  Acton Court’s very special WW1 Event: Blast from the Past / Poems for Peace,  concert and poetry reading.

Cost: Tickets £12 | (£10 concessions); to purchase tickets before the show sells out, click here.

Acclaimed historical musicians, Blast from the Past, play songs from their new album, Smile! Smile! Smile!, a scintillating mixture of soldiersʼ songs, music hall numbers and war poems set to new and original compositions.

Poets will read their own new works from a new anthology, The Arts of Peace, and their favourites by WW1 poets. Readers include Peter Robinson, Adrian Blamires, Claire Dyer, Susan Utting, Ian House, Lesley Saunders and Allison McVety, winner of the National Poetry Competition 2011.

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Review: John Froy’s The Art School Dance

Alison Oldham’s review of John Froy’s The Art School Dance appeared in the Ham & High (Hampstead and Highgate Express).  And here is what she said:

Art_School_Dance_Cover“Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever” is the title of a song by Beat poet Pete Brown which gave John Froy the title of his second autobiographical memoir. The Art School Dance focuses on his years at the University of Reading and Falmouth School of Art in the 1970s and is related with verve, honesty, humour and an attention to detail that makes it a riveting read.

It recounts how Froy, a former Hornsey resident who now lives in Reading, opted for the art school path despite not having taken the subject at school and being colour-blind. He had what was sometimes the advantage of art being in the family, including his parents who met at the Slade. After separating when John was five, his father had a successful teaching career, culminating in being Professor of Fine Art at Reading, while his mother’s life was blighted by depression and addictions.

The book opens with a blissful interlude in Italy with his first love, later lost to a college friend. The sadness of this is subtly conveyed, as are his feelings towards his mother, even when he is also struggling with the “black dog”. The narrative is enlivened by his enthusiasms for bird-watching, the guitar and the countryside and by glimpses into the shortcomings of cheap accommodation and unskilled jobs, including a stint in Harrods wine cellars where workers kept a fine vintage on the go.

But the core of the book is his engagement with art and learning about it. The Art Department at Reading was known at that time for the lack of contact between teachers and students and a bias towards abstraction. One close friend, who favoured figuration, was a recipient of much “flak”. Terry Frost, then a teacher, commented that her etchings would be nice to show her mother.

“Her least favourite visiting lecturer from London suggested during a tutorial, while brandishing a screwdriver, that what she really needed was a good screw,” writes Froy. He left in the second year and moved to Falmouth where he found a supportive network of tutors.

However, the delight of the book is not in applauding successes but in describing how difficult they are to achieve and how easy it is to be overwhelmed. Froy found a saviour in his Complementary Studies teacher, the artist and writer Lionel Miskin, who encouraged his writing and to whom the book is dedicated.

The photograph used for the cover shows Froy during his finals, in 1977, with a painting on the easel that he counts as his highest art achievement – Swanpool Street Interior 3, which won a Stowell’s Trophy commendation in 1975-6. Froy recounts how the green stripe described by Carel Weight as clinching the picture by being “bold and daring” was a happy accident. He was trying to make a shadow by mixing blue into the yellow ochre used for wood and couldn’t know what the result was, given that “as Peter Cook might have put it: my optical cones are deficient in the red-green area”.

Although this is a very personal memoir and his family circumstances hardly typical, Froy’s accounts of relationships, sexual encounters, newly formed bands, hitchhiking and happenings make this an evocative tale of the times.

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An invitation: Saturday, 19 July 2014: Forbury Family Fringe Day

We will be there (with all of our books, of course)  as part of the the Forbury Family Fringe Day, part of the Reading Fringe Festival (July 16-20,2014).  But we will only be there on one day of the three day celebrations in Forbury Gardens so don’t miss us.   Join us there on Saturday, the 19th of June.

Activities include theatre prince & princess themed workshops, live art, story telling, sensory gardens, african cultural activities, arts & crafts and more.

The whole Fringe event and activities there are free to all.

Sharing the space in Forbury Gardens, Reading’s most historic green space will be the Food Festival with Medieval Fayre, with  stalls selling food, wine, crafts, clothing and accessories. Music stage for live performances, traditional fairground rides including carousel and free circus workshops for children.

So…there is plenty to do and see and taste and take home.

Come find us in Forbury Gardens on Saturday, June 19th.




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silchester finalSilchester: Life on the Dig by Jenny Halstead (author, artist) Michael Fulford (author)

28 July 2014: Save this date!

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Reading our poets in other places….


Lesley Saunders’ poem, “On Nazim Gafurri Street”  appears in the Members’ Poems in  Poetry News  (Summer 2014). In every issue of Poetry News, a leading poet is asked for his or her pick of members’ poems on a chosen theme.  This summer’s theme is loss.    Go read Lesley’s poem and find out how a bracelet is linked to loss.



And,  our very own Susan Utting has a poem, “The Journal”  in Volume 104, No 2, Summer 2014 of The Poetry Review.

If you would like a whole collection of these poets’ works, you can treat yourself to Susan’s  collection, Fair’s Fair,  here,  and Lesley’s collection, Cloud Camera,  here.

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Warmest Congratulations! Frogmore Poetry Prize 2014 goes to Lesley Saunders!

LS Acton Court (head & shoulders)Lesley Saunders has been awarded  the Frogmore Poetry Prize for 2014 by Abegail Morley.  Isn’t that grand?

We are so pleased for her!   She really is a splendid poet….and you should find out for yourself by treating yourself to her collection “Cloud Camera

The Frogmore Poetry Prize (sponsored by the Frogmore Foundation) was founded in 1987 and has been awarded annually since then. The Prize money is currently two hundred guineas but the true Prize is the kudos of joining a select band of winners which includes Caroline Price, John Latham, Tobias Hill and Mario Petrucci. Many leading poets – Carole Satyamurti, Pauline Stainer, Linda France, Paul Groves, John Mole, Sophie Hannah, Elizabeth Bartlett and Susan Wicks among them – have adjudicated the Prize and all winners have been published in the pages of The Frogmore Papers.

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Review: Jean Watkins’ Scrimshaw

This review,  by Sue Kindon,  of Jean Watkins’ collection, “Scrimshaw” appears in The Interpreter’s House (issue 56).

But as it is hard to read here on these images, you either have to subscribe to The Interpreter’s House to read the full review, or you can read the last paragraph of the review below; Then buy a copy of this collection and see if you agree with Ms. Kindon.

“….these poems are crafted as carefully as the artifacts and heirlooms they sometimes describe, bringing with them their own scrimshaw, a dark strand scarcely seen. They well withstand the test of being read aloud.  Futhermore, Jean Watkins has not fallen into the trap of so many first collections: she has evidently not subjected her audience to every poem she has ever written.  This feels like a careful selection I am left wanting more, even when my feet are firmly back on dry land. ”

Buy your copy of “Scrimshaw.”

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