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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Sunday, 26 April, 2015: Join us for the launch of “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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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 readinghttp://www.altreading.com/voting-now-open-for-alt-reading-awards-2015/

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



It 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 elaine.blake@reading.gov.uk

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

Are 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)

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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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

Writer, 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

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

You 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

RSVP linda.fotherhill@reading.gov.uk
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!

(l to r) Lesley Saunders, Susan Utting, Claire Dyer; 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. www.clairedyer.com

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. lesleysaunders.org.uk

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. www.susanutting.co.uk



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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 jane.draycott@gmail.com or 01491 415605 edbookings@rrm.co.uk

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 merlevents@reading.ac.uk

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”









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:

“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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IMG_2619Silchester: Life on the Dig by Jenny Halstead (author, artist)

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!

For her poem,  ‘Torc’, our poet, 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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Hardy Places front cover finalThomas Hardy: Places and Other Poems by Peter Robinson (poet, editor) Sally Castle (artist, letterer) Thomas Hardy (author)

Allen_Seaby_CoverAllen W. Seaby: Art and Nature by Martin Andrews (artist, author) Robert Gillmor (author, artist)

Look at us!

Nothing can really take the place of Jacksons.  According to Wikipedia:

Jacksons was an English department store chain. It was founded by Edward Jackson in September 1875. Its flagship branch was located in central Reading, Berkshire, occupying a prominent site, Jacksons Corner, on Kings Road, just south of the Market Place. It expanded and at its peak operated from seven locations. It closed its remaining original store in Reading in December 2013. Throughout its history, the company was owned by its founding family.

It is just too sad to have the windows of that landmark store stand there empty. So, Two Rivers Press has been allowed to fill the window with a display celebrating our 20 years as Reading’s own publisher.

Come by and take a look.  Then head to Waterstones on Broad Street or to us online and buy a book!

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Our amazing poets: Susan Utting

Poets are busy people.  They write poems.  They give readings.  They enter competitions.  They publish their poems in collections.   They are amazing and we love them here at Two Rivers Press.

Our very own Susan Utting has, just this month:

*  had a poem accepted for The Poetry Review, to be launched in London on 24th June.

*  been selected by The Poetry Library to be recorded for Poetry International at the South Bank Centre in London. Poems will be broadcast along with other international poets’ work, at the Royal Festival Hall and South Bank Centre during the Festival, 17th – 21st July.

* had a poem selected for inclusion in a new Bloodaxe anthology of women poets.

Well done, Susan!

Susan’s collection, Fair’s Fair, is available here.

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June 14 & 15: Whiteknights Studio Trail

Join us for this year’s Whiteknights Studio Trail.

Two Rivers Press will be exhibiting with Sally Castle at 24 New Road. There will be refreshments and, in celebration of the publication of our first two children’s books, an open mic event for children to read their own poetry compositions at 3pm each day (weather permitting).

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Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15: Family-friendly activities at the Whiteknights Studio Trail 2014.

In celebration of our 20th Anniversary and coinciding with the fact that we have just published our first two children’s books, we are pleased to announce that the 24 New Road venue will feature something for everyone this year!

Learn about photography! Come and meet Professor Ignatius Lumen, a friend of the famous William Henry Fox Talbot who will introduce the wonders of the new art known as ‘photography’. You will be amazed at pictures made by the power of light alone and the miracle of stereoscopic viewing. You will marvel at images of Queen Victoria herself, taking tea, beheld through the medium of the marvellous ‘magic lantern’. He will also have on sale and for your delectation copies of his new work on the first book in THE WORLD to be illustrated by photography – produced in our own town of Reading by none other than Fox Talbot himself.

If you are under 18, come read a poem at our open mic! New this Spring are: Reading Detectives (a children’s quiz guide to historical Reading) and The Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun (the back story and sequel to the famous tale). To lure children to our bookshop (!) we are holding an open mic event at 3pm each day (for half-an-hour or so) at which anyone under the age of around 18 is invited to read from her or his own poetic compositions. Hosted by Peter Robinson, TRP’s Poetry Editor, this is an opportunity for all would-be poets to hone their reading and performance skills. It will be weather-dependent.

Stamp with our historic rubber stamps! Another project we have been working on this year is the digitization of the 986 images we’ve printed from the carved rubber stamps left to us by Peter Hay. Thanks to the help of students in Reading University’s Department of Typography, we now have them all in an easy-to-use archive. You can have a go at making your own print using the historic rubber stamps and pick up printing tips from our resident expert, Sally Castle.


*******PLUS REFRESHMENTS********

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June’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…..!!!

June’s book is Eat Wild by Duncan Mackay.  Buy your copy before June 30th. Get 20% off!

Eat Wild by Duncan Mackay is a book for first-time wild food foragers and outdoor cooks. This hands-on guide is proud to be described as ‘rough cooking’ – the antidote to ‘fine dining’. It offers experiences that are hard for your taste-buds to imagine; the sort that you simply can’t buy in a shop and only rarely savour in some of the world’s most expensive restaurants. It’s a month-by-month look at what’s out there in the wild, what’s easiest and safest to identify and tastiest to eat. Wild eating is fun, free and fabulously fruitful.

Here is what others have to say about Eat Wild:

What a lovely piece of writing! I am enchanted by it all. The style alone will lift your spirits. The contents will save you money, lighten the burden of daily life and prod you into new ways of looking at the world beyond the car window.” ~ Alastair Sawday

Duncan’s book – as sharp as crab-apple jelly – has place and occasion and inventive fun in abundance.” ~ Richard Mabey

a charming, rousing and practical guide to eating better… I wanted to go straight outdoors and start foraging.” ~ Carl Honoré

a powerful reminder for modern society to reconnect to the ecological sources of our wellbeing.”  ~ Prof. Ian Christie

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A little story about “Reading Detectives” by a happy customer

Here is a little story about “Reading Detectives” sent to us via Facebook:

 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.

We love such stories.  If you have your own story of wandering through Reading with “Reading Detectives” please post it to our Facebook page or send it to us!







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Special offer: Peter Robinson’s “Foreigners, Drunks and Babies” for just £3.02!

Rarely do we send customers to another site to buy one of our books, but this deal is too good to not pass along.

There’s an opportunity to purchase ‘Foreigners, Drunks & Babies’ by Peter Robinson at the special price of £3.02 for the month of June 2014 on http://www.hive.co.uk/ebooks/ebooks/02/. Look for the ‘Independent Publishers Bestsellers Price Drop’ carousel.






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Reading Detectives in the Primary Times: Check out the competition for a free copy of the book!

The first copies of Reading Detectives are on their way to Reading Museum for the official launch tomorrow, May 28, 2014, but already we are getting a bit of press attention.

We DID get a lovely piece in the Primary Times (goes to 63,000 parents, kids and staff in Berkshire) that came out this week – hooray! Two mentions actually – a piece in the ‘news’ and a piece at the end in the ‘competitions’ to win a copy of the book.   The current edition of the Primary Times is available online here (with our news and competition on pages 6 and 30 respectively).


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.

About the author: Kerry Renshaw grew up in London and studied history at Oxford. He has taught history for many years at different levels, in England and abroad. The idea for this book comes from his fond memories of the News Chronicle I-Spy series, especially “I-spy the sights of London”, which showed him as a child how much hidden history is to be found on the streets of our towns and cities.

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Did you miss it? The launch Holywell Music Room launch of “The Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun”


About 80-100 people attended the launch of Matt Black and Pip Hall‘s “The Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun” at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford, on Sunday, May 11, 2014. The books were there: hot off the press!

It was a thrilling event, with beautiful music from Johnny Fill and the Nonsense Orchestra (who dressed for the occasion  and who had specially written for the evening a short symphony based on the Prequel, Owl and Pussycat and Sequel) and a whirlwind illustrated history of nonsense literature, including a dramatic performance of The Jabberwocky.

It was something of an anniversary fest, for not only is it Two River Press’ 20th, but Matt’s Prequel and Sequel had been written to mark 200 years since Edward Lear’s birth. And the evening began with excerpts from Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto on men’s clothing which by chance turned 100 that week. So altogether, a remarkably festively nonsensical time was had by everyone.




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May 24, 2014: Join us to “Beat the Bounds” – a historic walk in Reading!

Join us May 24th for the Beating the Bounds!

  Beating the bounds is an ancient custom still observed in some English and Welsh parishes. Under the name of the Gangdays the custom of going a-ganging was kept before the Norman Conquest.[1] A group of old and young members of the community would walk the boundaries of the parish, usually led by the parish priest and church officials, to share the knowledge of where they lay, and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands. ~Wikipedia on Beating the Bounds

Geoff Sawers leads a perambulation of the bounds of Reading in strict conformity to the one carried out on, 20th May 1714!

Full day’s walk so bring a packed lunch. Meet at 9.30am at Caversham Bridge (south east side).

A hand lettered map of the bounds (poster size) is available from Two Rivers Press here.

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May 2014 Newsletter

To find out what is new, where we and our authors will be, and what special offers we have for you in May-June 2014 please read our May 2014 newsletter here.

To receive our newsletter by email, please send us an email at orders@tworiverspress.com with the subject line “subscribe to newsletter”.




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Review of Terry Cree’s poetry collection, “Fruit”

 “….Terry Cree quickly drew me in with his delightful use of words and immaculate pencil sketches. Cree’s use of language and images feed off each other to make an unusual book.”


So says Sarah Gonnet, in her review of Terry Cree’s poetry collection, Fruit.  to To read the full review click here.



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Lesley Saunders – 2014 Hippocrates Open Commendations

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate Lesley Saunders.  Her poem “Fray” is one of the commended poems of this year’s 2014 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

On inspiration for “Fray” Lesley says:  ‘During last year’s Hippocrates symposium day at the Wellcome Collection, my attention was caught by a display cabinet containing a World War I kit for use in mustard gas attacks – eye-bath, liquid paraffin, saline solution, dusting powder, that sort of thing – which seemed so hopelessly inadequate to the scale of distress and damage suffered. At the time I was trying to find a way of expressing my feelings about the life-threatening illnesses, and equally devastating treatments, experienced by two hugely courageous friends; and the one idea began to inhabit the other… (taken from the Hippocrates Open Commendation page).

“Fray” appears in the  2014 Hippocrates Prize Anthology.

Several other poems have been chosen for the separate anthology The Poetry of Medicine (to be published later in 2014).  These poems,  ‘Organ’, ‘Germ Theory’, ‘Peccant Attoms’, ‘Lecture’, ‘The Rose’, are all from Cloud Camera (TRP 2012, of course!). 

Lesley Saunders has published five books of poetry, most recently Cloud Camera (Two Rivers Press 2012). Lesley has also held several poetry residencies, including at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science, and is involved in various collaborations with visual artists, a dancer and a composer. A new collection, The Walls Have Angels – based on a residency at Acton Court, a beautiful house near Yate built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – is due out from Mulfran Press in the autumn of 2014.

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Jane Draycott wins 2014 Hippocrates Award

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate poet, Jane Draycott on winning the £5000 2014 Open International Hippocrates first prize.  The award  was made at an awards ceremony in London at the Royal Society of Medicine on 10 May 2014.

Jane Draycott is a UK-based poet with a particular interest in sound art and collaborative work. Her collections include No Theatre (Smith/Doorstop) and from Carcanet Press, Prince Rupert’s Drop, The Night Tree and Over, short-listed for the 2009 TS Eliot Prize. Nominated three times for the Forward Poetry Prizes, she was a PBS ‘Next Generation’ poet 2004 and second prize-winner in the National Poetry Competition 2012. Other collections, from Two Rivers Press, include Christina the Astonishing, co-written with Lesley Saunders, and Tideway with images by Peter Hay. Her translation of the medieval dream-elegy Pearl (2011), was a PBS Recommended Translation and winner of a Times Stephen Spender Prize. .

The poem, “Fray” by Lesley Saunders, another Two Rivers Press poet, received a commendation.

All winning and commended poems were published in the 2014 Hippocrates Awards Anthology.

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May 11, 2014: Book Launch at the Hollywell Music Room, Oxford

The Owl and the Pussycat has a unique and celebrated status in nonsense literature, with strength of story, simplicity of imagery, and perfection of rhythms. Matt Black, poet, and Pip Hall, illustrator, have been inspired by this poem to create an edition which includes the imagined Prequel and Sequel to Lear’s poem, with delightful contemporary illustrations. The Prequel and Sequel explore why they went to sea in the first place, and what took place after we left them, married, hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, dancing by the light of the moon…

Edward Lear (1812-1888) was the father of nonsense literature, most celebrated for his limericks and longer nonsensical poems, such as The Dong with The Luminous Nose, The Jumblies and The Ahkond of Swat. He was a landscape painter, the best ornithological illustrator of his age, and the youngest of 21 children. He suffered from epilepsy and what he called the Morbids, and elements of sadness inform his best nonsense writing. He twice asked the same woman to marry him, was twice refused, and this underpins several of his key poems. The Prequel and Sequel in this edition develop this theme of personal and marital insecurity, but leave us with a smilingly happy ending!

Join us on May 11th for the launch of Matt Black & Pip Hall’s The Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun.

When:   7.45pm 11 May

Where:  Holywell Music Room, Oxford

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May 3-5: Henley Arts Trail

Join us at the Henley Arts Trail.

Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle is exhibiting and there will be TRP books available for all your present giving needs!

The Henley Arts Trail is an open studio event taking place around Henley on Thames and Twyford from 3-5 May 2014.

THE “art season” really gets under way in May and there is going to be a huge amount for art enthusiasts and collectors to visit, view and acquire. May is open studio season, with large numbers of artists across the country opening their studios and practices to the public.


There are many to choose from in and around Henley, some of which are involved in the Henley Arts Trail, the Caversham Arts Trail and the West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios Scheme.

Put a little art into your life!


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Owl_and_Pussycat_CoverThe Owl and the Pussycat and the Turtles of Fun by Matt Black (author) Pip Hall (artist, letterer)

Saturday, April 26: Poetry into Prose, a workshop

Poetry into Prose is a workshop, run by published poets and novelists Kate Rhodes and Claire Dyer, is for anyone interested in writing beautiful prose. The session will be tailored to suit both experienced writers and beginners, and will focus on practical exercises designed to show how employing some of the tools and techniques used by poets can make your prose stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Saturday 26th April 2014
14:00 – 15:00 at The Chequers
Ticket price: £5.00 each

Claire Dyer is the author of Eleven Rooms, a poetry collection that explores contradictions inherent in ideas of the permanent

This work shop is part of the  Chipping Norton Literary Festival  which runs from  24-27 April, 2014.




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April 26, 2014, 9:30am: 6 mile walk along the Holy Brook: Come on a historic walk of Reading!

Join us on April 26, 2014 for a guided walk with Geoff Sawers explaining the history and origins of the full 6 mile length of the Holy Brook – the unique and secretive waterway that has been hurrying through and under Reading for many centuries.

Meet at Theale Station at 9.30 am Sat 26th April (there is a train from Reading, via Reading west, that gets in at 9.20).

Consider a copy of Two Rivers Press’ The Holy Brook, or a Granator’s Tale.

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Sunday April 13, 2014: Harris Garden open days start!

How well do you know the parks in Reading? Come discover Harris Garden.

Harris Gardens open days start Sunday 13th April.

Jenny Halstead’s An Artist’s Year in the Harris Garden will be available for sale.




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April 11, 2014: Launch of Ian House’s “Nothing’s Lost”

Join us for the launch of Ian House’s Nothing’s Lost.

When: Friday 11th April.  At 7pm there nibbles and drinks and buying the book time. Free for all!

Anyone who wants to stay for Poets’ Cafe is more than welcome (if you buy a ticket).   8pm doors, 8.30pm poetry

Where: Poets’ Cafe, South Street Arts Centre. 21 South Street, Reading, RG1 4QU

Cost:  £5/£4.


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April’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…..!!!

Down by the River: the Thames and Kennet in Reading is April’s book of the month.  It tells the stories of those who worked on the rivers: millers, bargemasters, lock-keepers, fishermen and boat-builders. And later when the rivers became places of recreation the focus is again on local people enjoying swimming, angling and rowing, individually and in galas, competitions and regattas.

Carefully and thoroughly researched and generously provided with maps, drawings, and contemporary photographs, many not seen before, Gillian Clark writes with local people in mind. This book will interest local and family historians, as well as those with an interest in river activities.

“Gillian Clark is to be congratulated for writing such an interesting and informative account of life on the Thames and Kennet. It is a „must read‟ for anyone with an interest in either the Thames or the Kennet.” ~ Rosemary Stewart Beardsley

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March 31st to April 25th: See the exhibit on our 20 years of publishing in Reading

From March 31st to April 25th, 2014, there is an exhibit of the history and output of Two Rivers Press located just outside the council chamber in the Civic Offices.

Address: Civic Centre, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AE, United Kingdom
Phone:+44 118 937 3797
Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


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24 March – 5 April: Photographic Exhibition “Looking Back at Reading”

Take a trip to Reading Central Library in Kings Road this week for their exhibition:  “Looking back at Reading.”  Over 90 photographs by photographer, Terry Allsop, will show you a Reading as you may, or may not, recognize!.

Some of the photographs on display also appear in his book, “Newtown: A photographic journey in Reading, 1974.”

For those of you interested in Reading’s history, consider visiting Reading Forum -> Retro, online.




















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Arts of peace revised cover 20 MarchThe Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems by Adrian Blamires (poet) Peter Robinson (poet, editor)

April 2014 Newsletter


To find out what is new, where we and our authors will be, and what special offers we have for you in April -May 2014 please read our April 2014 newsletter here.

To receive our newsletter by email, please send us an email at orders@tworiverspress.com with the subject line “subscribe to newsletter”.



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April 3, 2014: Launch of Terry Cree’s “Fruit”


Join us for the launch of Terry Cree’s Fruit.

When:  Thursday 3 April at 7.30pm.

Where: The Conference Room at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke.






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Cover Birds appears on the online newsletter of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

There are almost as many books about birds as there are types of birds.  So, it is wonderful when our book Cover Birds by Robert Gillmor gets a little mention on the BTO’s website.

Looking for a present for the birdlovers in your life? Consider this unique title!






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Reading_Detectives_CoverReading Detectives by Kerry Renshaw (author)

Two Rivers Press 20th Anniversary Special Online Offer – 20% off “From the Abbey to the Office” til 1 April, 2014

This year Two Rivers Press celebrates its 20th anniversary.   To celebrate, each month we will give a 20% discount on one of our books, if you purchase your copy, or copies from us online.

March’s book is From the Abbey to the Office.

Reading is the source of the oldest polyphonic song in English, is associated with the rise of the British novel, was a source of inspiration for our greatest war poet and is the birthplace of England’s finest comic writer of the 21st century.

This book follows the traces of those writers who had some connection with the town and is illustrated with portraits of writers and their locations

Order your copy here and save 20%.

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20% discount on all books ordered online on the 20th of each month of 2014!

Two Rivers Press is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year:  20 years of publishing in Reading, about Reading, for Reading!

Thank you Reading for helping us make reach this 20 year mark! In celebration, we are offering a special discount:

20% off the price of every one of our books ordered via our website, on the 20th of each and every month in 2014!

Browse our catalogue and treat yourself to titles for yourself, your family and your friends.  We have something there for the poet, the gardener, the sports enthusiast, the bird lover, the train lover, the one who loves the architecture and history of Reading.   Take a look.  Buy a book.  Save 20%.

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Review: Jean Watkins’s Scrimshaw reviewed!

“This first collection is the work of an experienced poet who combines emotional wisdom with technical finesse, and is beautifully presented by Two Rivers.”

So says Rosie Johnston in her review of Jean Watkins’ Scrimshaw which appears on the online cultural magazine, Londongrip.co.uk.

Read the whole review here.


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Fox_TalbotFox Talbot & the Reading Establishment by Martin Andrews (artist, author)

Fruit_LOWRESFruit by Terry Cree (poet)

Nothings_Lost_FrontCoverNothing’s Lost by Ian House (poet)

Two Rivers Press 20th Anniversary Special Online Offer – 20% off “Reading: A Horse-Racing Town” til 1 March, 2014

This year Two Rivers Press celebrates its 20th anniversary.   To celebrate, each month we will give a 20% discount on one of our books, if you purchase your copy, or copies from us online.

February’s book is “Reading:  Reading: A Horse-Racing Town.”

Horse-racing? In Reading? We’ve all heard about Newbury and Ascot, but few people know that at various periods between 1705 and 1906 there were six racecourses in Greater Reading.

To take advantage of February’s special offer to buy Nigel Suttcliffe’s account of horse racing in Reading, click here.



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3 February – 28 March 2014: Exhibition “26 Words: Exploring the DNA of Language” at University of Reading


Come join us for “26 Words: Exploring the DNA of Language”:  an exhibit of the culminination of a project started in April 2013, when the writers’ group, 26, teamed up with lettercutters, calligraphers and type designers from Letter Exchange to create limited edition art works springing from the letters of the English language.

Members of each group were paired off into 26 partnerships, with each randomly choosing a word to represent by inserting a knife in a dictionary. The result was an extraordinary collection of words: from acidulate to zaffre, via dig, undulate and connected. The list included the familiar and the unfamiliar, the everyday and the exotic, with every word evocative in its own way. Each pair was asked to explore ideas through these single words, their meanings and their visual expressions. And a 27th pair was asked to collaborate to combine all the words into one work.  (For a peek at some of the artwork click here, and for stories of the collaborations between artist and writers click here. “Wave” by Rob Self-Pierson & Sally Castle  is shown above

3 February to 28 March 2014
Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
University of Reading
2 Earley Gate
Reading RG6 7N .

If you miss it in Reading, the exhibit will move on to  Sunderland, Bruges, Snape and Hereford through 2014.

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Praise for Gillmor’s Cover Birds

A review of Robert Gillmor’s newest book, Cover Birds, appears on page 2 of the January 2014 newsletter of the Oxford RSPB.   Chris Bignal’s review is  both a tribute to the work of Gillmor and a personal trip down memory lane. As for the book, well “Any bird lover will enjoy this small work of art…” says, Mr. Bignal.

Cover Birds, describes the author’s long and close involvement with the Reading Ornithological Club (ROC), now the Berkshire OC. His art has adorned covers of annual reports for many years and the book is illustrated with many of the actual covers.

Bird lovers and stamp lovers may also find Robert Gillmor’s book, Birds, Blocks and Stamps of interest.



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Three first collections reviewed! Read more!

It is a wonderful thing to start the new year with positive reviews of three collections published in the Two Rivers Press, First Collection Series.   Belinda Cooke reviews Kate Behrens’ The Beholder, Claire Dyer’s Eleven Rooms and Jean Watkins’ Scrimshaw in issue 51, of The North

Kate Behrens, The Beholder

“This is a collection that has already earned a great deal of respect and it deserves a wide readership.”







Claire Dyer, Eleven Rooms

“For Dyer place is important because places is where we begin and end and where we make all our connections with those we love.   By way of carefully crafted poems with tight, cohesive patterns of syntax, she explores this theme in a very individual and unusual way.”



Jean Watkins, Scrimshaw

“This collection…includes a number of poems which have a sparkly ‘stand alone’ quality about them….All such poems add to the already rich collection.”




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Christmas shop with us at Reading’s Christmas fairs! December dates….

A poetry book and/or a book about some amazing aspect of Reading makes a wonderful gift for a friend, a family member or for yourself!

Come support Reading’s only local publisher at one of the following Christmas fairs:

Aunt Elsie’s Christmas Do
Thursday 5 – Saturday 7th December in Reading Market Place.
Big Marquee, warm and cosy, refreshments, beautiful decor, fun atmosphere and unique stuff to buy. Do come along! As well as our most recent books, we’ll have some of Susan Gillmor’s historical prints of Reading to sell and some of Sally Castle’s prints

St Luke with St Bartholomew’s Christmas Fair
Saturday 14th December10.30am -1pm, in St Luke’s, Erleigh Road,

Bulmershe School Winter Fayre
Saturday 14th December, 2pm – 4pm.

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Thursday, 5 December 2013: Launch of Simon Armitage’s Stanza Stones

Stanza Stones, a collaboration between Pip Hall, Simon Armitage and Tom Lonsdale, will be launched in London on Thursday 5 December, 6:30PM.

Simon Armitage’s reading of his new sequence of poems ‘In memory of water’ from Stanza Stones will be followed by a discussion of the book with letter carver and c0-author Pip Hall and,  landscape architect and co-author, Tom Lonsdale.

The launch will be at Enitharmon’s new gallery & bookshop in Bloomsbury, 10 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL

Tickets are £5; wine and other refreshments will be provided.

You can book your ticket here.

About Stanza Stones, from the Enitharmon catalogue:

The newly drawn Stanza Stones Trail runs through forty-seven miles of the Pennine region, some of the most strikingly varied landscape in the world. The terrain bears the deep scars of industrial exploitation, as well as those less obvious: the signs left by a hundred local generations are carved into the region’s abounding rocks. Simon Armitage was born and raised here, in the village of Marsden, and in 2012 he was commissioned through the Ilkley Literature Festival to write site-specific poetry. Armitage composed six new poems on his Pennine walks and, with the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, found extraordinary, secluded sites and saw his words carved into stone. This book is a record of that journey, containing the poems and the accounts of Lonsdale and Hall.

The many layers of stone and sediment found beneath the surface of the rock reflect the drama of the landscape itself. Covered in decades of industrial soot and grime, the colours released by the carver’s tools will likely never return to shades of black and grey, but become a small reminder of the changes that our natural environment undergoes, and the marks, small and large, of humankind. 

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A secret, a secret! Monday, 2 December 2013!

We want to share a little secret but you’ll need to read to the end of this post to find it!

Wokingham’s Living Advent Calendar runs from 1st to 24th December each year.

Each evening at 6:15 pm from 1st December to Christmas Eve, a different venue around the town will host a FREE performance lasting approximately 15 minutes.

A community project, it works with local businesses, charities, performers and individuals to present these performances to the public. Each venue is paired with a local performer (or groups of performers) and a charitable collection is taken, which is at the end of the 24 nights split between a number of named Charities.

Join us for music, dance, drama and more this Christmas season! But you’ll have to wait and see what each evening will bring, all performances are secret until the night!

For a list of the venues click here.

 And now for the secret!

Two Rivers Press poet, Victoria Pugh,  is part of the Wokingham Living Advent Calendar and will be appearing at Wokingham Library on Monday 2nd December 6.15-6.30 pm, giving a reading which includes a poem set in the Mad Stad, along with happy and sad poems, and possibly even some singing.

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26 November 2013 – 31 January 2014: Exhibition “26 Words Exploring the DNA of Language”

Two Rivers Press artist, Sally Castle, recently participated in an interesting creative exercise, explained by Tom Banks, at Design Week:

26 writers and visual artists explore ‘the DNA of language

Writers collective 26 has teamed up with artists to explore what it calls ‘the DNA of language’ in a new exhibition which looks to explore the meaning of words as a visual expression.’

As you would expect, 26 writers were paired up with 26 visual artists, and then in a slightly ritualistic act, each pair together inserted a knife into a dictionary to select a word of each letter of the alphabet at random.

‘We call it a successful experiment in seeing how creativity can be released in a single word,’ says 26, which has ended up with a set of intriguing interpretations in 2D and 3D that consider things like etymology, definition, more abstract expressions, and of course what these things might look like..

The full article and images from the exhibit are here.

26 Words will be exhibited at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1, from 26 November – 31 January 2014.  Weekdays from 9am-8pm, 26th Nov – 31st Jan, with some exceptions. Please call ahead to check availability.

Please go and see if you can find Sally’s beautiful lettering on display.

This exhibition will tour from November 2103 to November 2104:  London, Reading, Sunderland, Bruges (Belgium), Suffolk, and Hereford.  Dates, times and locations are listed here. 

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Watch TV! Monday, November 25, 3:15pm, TRP artist and letterer, Sally Castle, on Countdown

The staff at Two Rivers Press will be gathered around the television to watch Sally Castle, one of the artistic cornerstones of the Press,  compete on Countdown.

Tune in with us to watch Sally “engage in a battle of wits, competing against the clock in games of lexical dexterity and numerical agility.” Selina Scott will be the Dictionary Corner guest.

Where:  BBC Channel 4

When:  3:15pm, Monday, November 25

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Friday, October 25, 2013: Poetry Cafe at Torbay Poetry Festival with Susan Utting and Jennifer McGowan

Nothing to do this weekend?  Consider the Torbay Poetry Festival. What could be better than a  weekend full of poetry in Torbay’s beautiful ambience. With twenty-five events, poetry will fill this weekend: listen to poetry readings; learn more about writing poetry at workshops; listen to poets talking about poetry and, above all, ask questions!

  •  When:   October 24th – 28th, 2013
  • Where: Torbay, of course
  • What:  Ahhh, it is a long list of 25 events, some absolutely free, some which require tickets.  Best to read all about then on the events listing on the festival website.

Our very own poet,  Susan Utting will be reading at the Reading Poetry Cafe on Friday, October 25th.  Tickets:  £6.00/£5.00.  Book now!

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Tuesday October 8, 2013: Foraging and Wild Cooking with Duncan MacKay

Are you mystified by mushrooms? Learn how to identify what is edible and tasty, and what not to eat.

Tuesday 8th October, TRP author, Duncan MacKay is giving a talk about foraging and wild cooking at the Central Library in Reading, with a month by month guide.

Time: 7.30pm.
Tickets £4/£3 to library members.
For tickets email libraryevents@reading.gov.uk.

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Friday, 4 October, 2013: TRP poets at Swindon Poetry Festival

Susan Utting, Adrian Blamires and Ian House will be reading at the Swindon Poetry Festival’sUp the Junctions! A metaphorical day trip of poems and places along the M4 corridor“.

Their slot is at 3pm – 3.45pm: Having a cake with You, with Susan Utting and friends, Ian House, Anna-May Laugher, Adrian Blamires, and Susan Roberts.

Tickets are £6.20 for one event or £12.40 for all day.

Venue: The Platform, Faringdon Road, SN1 5BJ

Tickets: Tel 01793 466454


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TODAY – National Poetry Day – ONE DAY SALE – 25% off all poetry titles and…a poem for National Poetry Day: Time For Time by Peter Robinson

We love poetry.

We know you love poetry, too.

To celebrate National Poetry Day, today, October 3, 2013 we are offering a one day only, 25% discount on each and every one of our 31 poetry titles.

Click here to go to our poetry catalogue.

Please select “National Poetry Day 2013 offer” from the drop down menu found at the bottom of each catalogue entry page (hint: the little arrow just to left of the word Order).

The discount will only apply to orders placed between 00:01-24:00 on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Don’t miss your chance to do some advanced Christmas shopping, or to treat yourself!

And now, a treat….a brand new poem for National Poetry Day:

Peter Robinson takes his inspiration for this new poem from the announced closure of HM Prison Reading. HM Prison Reading was formerly known as Reading Gaol and was the place in which Oscar Wilde was incarcerated and which was source of inspiration for his Ballad of Reading Goal. It will close by the end of 2013.

Peter Robinson

‘… a trial cannot end like a play.’*

Along the banks of the Kennet canal
you see bare walls, its central tower,
barred windows from where inmates hear
trains arrive and leave through Reading station …

Time, though, isn’t ‘dragging on’.
‘Inside, time goes quickly,’
or so the young offender said
at their guided reading circle.

I’d been shown C. 33’s cell
and sunflowers by an exercise yard;
but routine making time go quickly,
that’s what most arrested me —

and comes back now the gaol’s to close,
be made an arts hub with a theatre,
or so we’re told, outside those walls,
all along the banks of the Kennet canal.

* The last phrase of ‘Reading Gaol’ by Peter Robinson in Reading Poetry: An Anthology (Two Rivers Press, 2011), discussed at a reading group in the prison led by Sue Colbourn, Project Worker for The Reader Organisation, in October 2012. Oscar Wilde signed The Ballad of Reading Gaol (also available from Two Rivers Press) with his cell number: C. 33.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Events, News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | 1 Comment

Poetry with cake! Tuesday, October 1st and Friday, October 4th 2013

Poetry with cake – what could be better? Both available at Hot Gossip Cafe in Henley next week as part of the Henley Literary Festival.

Gill Learner will be reading on Tues 1st Oct and Jean Watkins on Friday 4th Oct. 7-9pm. Tickets are £6 available from the cafe. https://www.facebook.com/hotgossipcoffee

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Review: A.F.Harrold’s The Point of Inconvenience reviewed in South 48

The Point of Inconvenience maps the decline and death of Ashley Harrold’s late mother. There is pathos and dignity in his writing. The poems are deeply felt, often lyrical, but there is also whimsy and particularly humour to be found in his descriptions of everyday life as a carer. Here he is after a visit to his mother when music for her funeral had been discussed:

message flew between our phones,
I read it, laughed, was proud of how
ten minutes with the radio
had thrown up Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

(Come Hear The Band)

Harrold does not flinch from exploring his own thoughts and the taboos
that surround terminal illness :

You sleep in the middle of the day.
The sun might as well be the moon.
I anticipate you waking again,
the muggy swell of nausea, of living beyond
your means,
and I look at the pillow, that simple snuffer.


His mother’s illness leaves Harrold looking after her dog and home. Her
garden echoes her decline :

Colour fades as leafy things spring up.
The human patterns grow rare…
…The pond evaporates,
a damp ring-mark on stones, a daily sinking.

(Summer Neglect)

In this collection, fifty-three poems trace the decline and death of Harrold’s mother. The final long poem marks the despair and anguish he must now endure… and life without her. Brilliantly, through the use of dozens of euphemisms, Harold exposes our inability, linguistically, to come to terms with
death :

…She’s passed away, gone out the room,
drawn the curtains…
She’s snuffed it, clocked off, left the
She’s flown out of the high window of the
old meadhall,
out into the unknowable night from whence
she came.
Your mum is dead, get over it.

(Get Over It)

This review, by Patrick B. Osada, appears in South 48.

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Review: Ian Caws reviews Eleven Rooms by Claire Dyer

Ian Caws writes that “…the poems in Claire Dyer’s first collection resonate with emptiness and surfaces…There is a perpetual underlying echo of transience…the poems are about a brush rather than an encounter with the world. They create an enlivening experience for the reader..”

Read the full review in South 48.

SOUTH poetry magazine has earned a special place on the poetry scene. It pioneered a unique system of selection aimed at giving all poets the best possible chance of getting published. SOUTH is now in its 22nd year of publication.

Posted in 2013 News Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

Review: AF Harrold’s Point of Inconvinience reviewed in The North

This extract is from a review, by Wendy Klein, of A.F. Harrold‘s collection The Point of Inconvenience which appears in ‘The North’.

‘Poignant, honest, and reflective, A.F. Harrold’s memoriam to his mother avoids Onegin’s inherent callousness. In shudderingly accurate poetry, the poet confronts the mixture of anger, boredom and desperate sadness created by lingering death, on both his mother and himself. using all his skills, this highly versatile poet, who also writes children’s literature, plus acting as a compere and performance poet, examines every stage of an unexpectedly lengthy and painful death…..Poem by poem, he unpacks the emotional strain involved in observing the suffering of a loved individual close up….’
‘…clever, full of heart, and not a word wasted.’

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Friday, September 27, 2013: Two Rivers Press poets at Pangbourne Hall of Sound

Please come and listen to and meet Two Rivers Press poets, Susan Utting, Jean Watkins and Claire Dyer

These lovely ladies are doing a reading at Pangbourne Hall of Sound (Pangbourne Village Hall) this Friday 27th September at 7.30 pm.

To read about The Hall of Sound please visit their website.

Posted in Claire Dyer (poet), Events, Jean Watkins (poet), Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Review of The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

This is a review by Jane Seraillier of The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

The Art School Dance – A Memoir, by John Froy

“Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards” (Kierkegaard).
In John Froy’s evocative memoir of his art school years, we do not have the luxury of “understanding backwards”. Reconstructed from old diaries and letters, and written in the present tense, we endure with him the lostness, the self-mistrust, the confusion of those painful years between the ages of 18 and 22. We ‘look over his shoulder’, as it were, and ponder the hand that life has dealt him, with all its complications and compensations. Complications: divorced parents – two homes – stepfamilies – a mother whose struggles with alcohol and depression find strong echoes in John himself. Compensations: a deep love of nature (particularly the landscape of his beloved summer home, Colham) – gardening – birdwatching – and the unsung heroes who help him through those early difficult years – his rock-like, kindly step-father Frank, who ensures stability and routine even when family relationships become chaotic and terrifying, and his tutor/counsellor at Falmouth School of Art, Lionel, with the twinkling eyes, who encourages him to look deep into “the wellspring” – his childhood, and write down his daily and past-remembered experience.

The memoir is also a chronicle of the times, with their brand new freedom to hitch-hike around Europe, throw oneself into sexual relationships, sample mood-altering drugs … the reader who also lived through the 60s and 70s is drawn to compare his or her own experience. And to compare it with the present, also: what would today’s teenagers make of the books John surrounds himself with, and the hours and hours he spends on his art, looking intently and with deep seriousness at what is before him, and trying to record it?

Here is a rare opportunity to absorb oneself for a while in another person’s inner and outer life – in this case, that of the art student John Froy, as, in fear and trembling, he finds his way towards his future self – the adult he will become.

Jane Serraillier

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Successful events at Waterstone’s for Heritage Open Days, Reading

Two River Press authors, Adam Sowan and Geoff Sawers fascinated audiences at Waterstone’s, Broad Street, Reading with history nuggets about the Reading train station and the Broad Street Chapel, which today is Waterstone’s!)

Read their books!
All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013

Broad Street Chapel & the Origins of Dissent in Reading

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Successful launch of The Art School Dance A Memoir by John Froy and Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson

On Sunday 15th, 12-2pm, Two Rivers Press hosted a literary lunch at the Great Expectations Hotel & Bar on London Street. Two of our authors launched their new books: Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson, and The Art School Dance by John Froy.

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Art_School_Dance_CoverThe Art School Dance A Memoir by John Froy (poet)

Sunday, 15 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Author tea at Malmaison, 2-6pm

Meet the author, Adam Sowan,  over tea at Malmaison Hotel,  Sunday, 15 September, 2013,  2-6pm

Adam Sowan signs copies of his book: All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013 which features the building that houses Malmaison, Reading – formerly the Great Western Hotel.

Buffet-style afternoon teas in the hotel lounge for the special price of £10.   Booking is advised.

Malmaison Hotel
18-20 Station Road
Reading, RG1 1JX
Tel: 084469 30660

This event is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

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Sunday, 15 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Book launches and lunch,12-2pm

Sunday 15th, 12-2pm, a literary lunch at the Great Expectations Hotel & Bar on London Street. Two of our authors launch their new books: Foreigners, Drunks & Babies by Peter Robinson, and The Art School Dance by John Froy.

Great Expectations Hotel & Bar
33 London Street
Reading RG1 4PS
Phone:+44 118 950 3925

This is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

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Saturday, 14 September, 2013: Heritage Open Days: Author, Adam Sowan, on Reading Station 12-2pm

Meet local author, Adam Sowan, as he launches his latest book, All Change at Reading: the railway and the station 1840-2013.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel gave Reading an inconvenient station with but a single platform; after four major rebuilds it now has fifteen.

Find out more and chat to Adam who has written other popular books about Reading including ‘Believing in Reading‘ and ‘Abattoirs Road to Zinzan Street‘.

Book launch and signing alongside a small display of railway memorabilia.

Saturday, 14 September 2013, 12:00PM – 2:00PM
Further details: 0118 9581270.

This event is one of many Heritage Open Days events in Reading.

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