Cookham Festival Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition; Poets learn of their fates

2017 Cookham Festival logoUnder the chairmanship of Professor Peter Robinson, the judges of the “Cookham Festival Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition” have announced the list of 76 poems, from the over 200 entries, which they have selected as being of a sufficiently high standard to merit publication in the special poetry anthology which will be published during the Festival in May of this year. This list will now form the basis for the creation of a final shortlist and, subsequently, for the selection of the three final prize winners of the overall competition. The top prize will be the “Cookham Festival Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition Don and Jill Cawthorne Prize”, with a cash value of £2,500. The two runners’ up awards, the Stationers’ Company Award and the Maidenhead Advertiser Award, each carry a cash prize of £500.

spencer-frontThe list of the 76 successful poems can be found on the Cookham Festival website at as of February 16, 2017.

Professor Robinson commented to the Advertiser: “I know that it has taken longer than we expected to release the titles of the 76 poems selected for the anthology. The standard of the entries was extremely high and coming to a fair and correct decision proved far from easy. I realise that a few weeks seems an age when you are waiting for the result, but the anthology will last for ever and we had to be certain that our choice was fair to both the entrants and the competition itself.”

Members of the public will have a chance to hear some of the selected poems being read during this year’s Cookham Festival, at a special poetry event to be held at Cookham Dean Village Hall on Friday 12 May. The anthology will also be launched at this event, with copies being available for sale. At the same time, the final shortlist will be announced, with the three prize winners being revealed at a special awards evening at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham on Friday 19 May.

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Thursday, 30 March 2017: Poetry Reading with Susan Utting, Anna-May Laugher and Claire Dyer

half-the-human-race-front-coverYou are invited to the first Oxford reading of Susan Utting‘s Half the Human Race: New & Selected Poems with special guests, Anna-May Laugher and Claire Dyer reading their own brand new and selected poems.

When: 7 for 7.30pm

Where: the Albion Beatnik Bookshop, Walton Street, Oxford

Buy your copy of Half the Human Race: New & Selected Poems now.  Have Susan sign it at the reading.



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

17 and 25 March 2017: Matt Black’s theatre show “The Storm Officer”, Nottingham

The Storm OfficerWhen: March 17th at 1.30pm. Free.
Where: Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts, Nottingham
Cost: Free, but please book in advance via Box Office on 0115 846 7777


Where: Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria
01900 826448

The Storm Officer
Written by Matt Black

How do storms and extreme weather events affect us? Reflective, funny and poignant, the story of The Storm Officer invites you on a tumultuous and colourful journey, with wild scenes and original music. Featuring real-life accounts of Storm Desmond with tales of flooding, hurricanes and storms from the last thousand years.

This new theatre production from writer Matt Black was inspired and commissioned by the “Spaces of experience and horizons of expectation” (AH/K005782/1) project, which led to the TEMPEST database of extreme weather in the UK.

Directed by Martin Berry; produced by Antonia Beck; music by Julian Butt.
Created in association with Lakeside Arts, Kirkgate Arts, Arts Out West, Live and Local and supported by Arts Council England.


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2 January 2017: Jane Draycott’s “Italy to Lord” is poem of the week!

What better way for a poet to start the new year than to have a poem selected for Carol Rumen’s Poem of the Week column?

Jane Draycott  photo: Jemimah Kuhfeld /

Jane Draycott
photo: Jemimah Kuhfeld /

And so, 2017 is off to a fine start for Jane Draycott. Carol Rumen selected Jane’s poem, “Italy to Lord”, as her first poem of the week for 2017.   It is a “…gentle, subtle reflection on a child’s-eye view of an encyclopedia’s exotic secrets is also a vision of a lost world” writes Carol.   Here is the first stanza

Italy to Lord

It’s dark in here and forest green: Britannica,
sixteen oak trees in a London living room,
the little girl, my mother, in the bookcase glass.
Italy, Ithaca, Izmail, Japan, each page a mainsail,
turning, HMS Discovery – none of the rivers
of southern Italy is of any great importance…


Click here to read the whole poem and Carol Rumen’s  review


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half-the-human-race-front-coverHalf the Human Race: New & Selected Poems by Susan Utting (poet)

Utting’s “Opening the Windows” wins The Poetry Society’s “Getting Out” competition

Susan Utting

Susan Utting


Susan Utting’s poem, “Opening the Windows” was  selected by judge Anna Woodford as one of 6 winning poems in The Poetry Society’s ‘Getting Out’ competition.  What a lovely way to end 2016!

Congratulations, Susan!


Opening the Windows
                   after Vilhelm Hamershøi, Interior 1909

June, and the ceremony begins. The catch
on a bedroom frame is first – unlocked,
the handle lifted, stiffened hinge eased
to a different angle.

The hairs on her bare arms stir themselves
a little, do not quite rise – there is no thrill
here, simply air on unaccustomed skin.

‘Fresh’ is the word for outside air come in,
but she doesn’t use it – silence is her way,
breath her language. And so the slow
letting-in continues,

pane by pane, catch, handle, hinge, breath,
air that moves, felt along the blood, like a sip
of iced water, like snow after birchwood heat,

petals fallen on dry earth, their cool
restfulness after all that blowsy flowering.

Susan Utting

First published in Poetry News

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Just published: “The Red One”…..a book about Reading

red-one-finalA truly pocket-sized history of Reading: 145 million years in 75 pages!

…how a landscape’s deep structures bear shapingly upon its surface textures – and how vital a sense of place is to our dreams, our visions, and the quiet practices of everyday life.

From the foreword by Robert Macfarlane  (author of The Old Ways, Landmarks, Mountains of the Mind  and The Wild Places)

 Starting 145 million years ago, the geology of the natural landscape provides the context for Reading’s historical development.  This book tells the town’s story in terms of its location at the junction of the rivers Thames and Kennet, its landform and the living requirements of its prehistoric inhabitants, medieval communities and industrial forebears. Did you know that Reading’s name is probably derived from ‘the place of the people of the red one’, an Anglo-Saxon settlement for which no physical trace remains?

Reading is a special place where multiple migrations, invasions, battles, plagues, wars, tragedies, songs, writings, artistic works, dogmas, festivities, industries, technologies and ideas have shaped both its people and the fabric of the town.  Be a part of writing its next chapter by understanding its past.

Order your copy of Reading: The Place of the People of the Red One.

Consider also,  Bizarre Berkshire: An A-Z GUIDE to weird things in Berkshire, also by Duncan Mackay.

Duncan Mackay is a former winner of the Henry Ford European Conservation Award for Heritage and former editor of the Twyford and Ruscombe Local History Society magazine. He has worked as Director of the South East region of the Countryside Agency; Environmental Manager for Berkshire County Council; and Deputy Secretary of the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society.

He has written 5 books and contributed to others including England in Particular and Bastions of Berkshire.  


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Review: Dyer’s collection “Interference Effects”

Interference_Effects_CoverClaire Dyer’s Interference Effects is reviewed by Emma Lee for  Issue 4 Winter edition of The High Window.

The review begins thus,

The title of Claire Dyer’s new collection is taken from a description of the Morpho butterfly’s wings which have reflective layers creating interference effects. As a result, the  colour that the wings are seen as differs according to which viewing angle is used. It’s a coherent collection that aims to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary and see the familiar in a new way.

and, after looking closely at several poems in the collection, ends thus:

There lies the strength in these poems: their precise language opens and asks questions rather than providing neat, ordered conclusions. At first glance, they flutter into place like butterfly wings but it takes a second or closer reading to notice the engineering driving those wings and how the light reflects, enabling each reader to take away the patterns of light and shade that speak directly to them.

To read the full review click here and scroll down to the review.

Buy a copy of Interference Effects here.

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Lesley Saunders’ translation of Horta wins Stephen Spender prize

Lesley Saunders

Lesley Saunders

“The translation by Lesley Saunders of Poema, by the Portuguese writer and activist Maria Teresa Horta, recently took first prize in the Open category of the Stephen Spender prize for poetry in translation.”

The original poem and the winning translation can be read in this article that appeared in The Guardian, Monday, 28 November 2016.

All the prize’s winning entries can be read here.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, Lesley Saunders (poet), News | Comments Off

Susan Utting’s prize winning poetry in Half The Human Race

half-the-human-race-front-coverCongratulations to Susan whose poem, ‘Opening the Windows’,  was one of the 6 winning poems in the Poetry Society’s ‘Getting Out’ competition.   Her poem will be featured in the winter issue (2016) of Poetry News and in her forthcoming poetry collection Half The Human Racepublishing March 2017.

Half The Human Race includes poems reflecting and developing themes of the lives of women, particularly those too often overlooked, unseen, hidden, or silenced – women made to feel “sometimes we take up too much room”.

The collection includes poems from three previous collections, alongside new work.   Order your copy now.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

November 2016 reviews

cookeWe were so delighted to see the review of David Cooke’s poetry collection, A Murmuration in the TLS (August 19-26, 2016). Reviewer, John Greening wrote:

“The book is held together by love of place and a sober fascination with quirkiness, a study of a koala, a portrait of a Belizean woman in a pub, the English language itself…”
“There is much precision workmanship and a welcome lack of showiness in this collection from Two Rivers Press, whose publications are increasingly impressive.”   Woohoo!

David’s collection was also reviewed in Poetry Salzburg.

Chill Factor front cover finalAmazing_Memories_Cover

Gill Learner’s Chill Factor received a favourable review in London Grip: ‘a rich and varied collection’. Mairi MacInnes’s ‘Amazing Memories of Childhood etc.’ featured in Raceme No. 4 and Mairi came down to Reading all the way from York last week to read in the inaugural Reading Literature Festival alongside Claire Dyer, Gill Learner and Kate Behrens.



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Ulric Spencer (1930 – 2016)

It is with sadness that Two Rivers Press announces the death of Ulric Spencer – long time finance and accounts advisor to, as well as supporter of,  the Press.   He passed away after a short illness on November 4, 2016. The funeral is at Reading (Caversham) Crematorium on Tue 6th December at 13:45.


Posted in 2016 New Archive, News | Comments Off

Winners of University of Reading’s Creative Writing Competition!

Prizewinners of the University of Reading’s first Creative Writing Competition, on the theme of ‘My ReadingL-R: Millie, Tamanna, Niyati, Edward.

Prizewinners of the University of Reading’s first Creative Writing Competition, on the theme of ‘My ReadingL-R: Millie, Tamanna, Niyati, Edward.

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate the winners of the University of Reading’s first Creative Writing Competition, on the theme of “My Reading”.

I’m delighted to say we had over 250 entries to University of Reading’s first Creative Writing Competition, on the theme of ‘My Reading’, says Dr Nicola Abram (FHEA) Lecturer, Department of English Literature, University of Reading and Officer for Widening Participation, School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading.

The winner was Tamanna Steven (The Holt School), and runner-up prizes were awarded to Edward Day (Gillotts School), Millie Phillips (Gillotts School), and Niyati Amin (The Holt School).

reading_quizThank you again for your kind sponsorship and provision of the quiz books as lovely, local prizes!

The Department of English Literature at the University of Reading invited submissions for its first Creative Writing Competition, on the theme ‘My Reading’ as part of the Reading Literature Festival and Reading Year of Culture 2016.  For more information on the competition please see the University of Reading’s page about the competition.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, News | Comments Off

red-one-finalReading: The Place of the People of the Red One by Duncan Mackay (author)

Interference Effects by Claire Dyer



Take a look at this article by Claire Dyer on writing her recent poetry collection: “The Interference Effect” – OR – How appearances can be deceptive. Very apt in this social media age… Claire is launched her book in Reading on October 20th. And two thirds of the print run disappeared at the launch.  Get your copy here, now,  while there is still stock!

Watch and hear Claire recite her poetry….here.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, Claire Dyer (poet), News | Comments Off

Reading Gaol

BalladThanks to all the interest in Reading’s Gaol inspired by the Artangel ‘Inside’ events, we’re reprinting our version of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad for the third time.

Buy your copy here.






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Successes for Two Rivers Press Poets at Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Competition

The 24th Wells Festival of Literature is going on right now:  October 14-22, 2016.

Lesley Saunders

Lesley Saunders

Susan Utting

Susan Utting

The Festival runs a poetry competition each year and announces the winners at the festival.   It is with great pleasure and not just a little button popping pride that we are able to announce that two of our Two River Press poets are prize winners:


Lesley Saunders won First Prize,

Susan Utting won Second Prize, and The People’s Prize.

Well done, Lesley and Susan!

Susan’s collection Fair’s Fair  is available here and you can preorder her forthcoming collection (2017) Half the Human Race here.


Posted in 2016 New Archive, Lesley Saunders (poet), News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

Tuesday, 22 October 2016: Book Launch Robinson’s “September in the Rain”

Join us at 6.30pm on 25th October for the launch of the novel, September in the Rain (Holland House), by Peter RobinsonTwo Rivers Press’ poetry editor.

Two young people travelling through Italy are caught in the rain, needing to hitch a lift…and nothing will ever be the same again. A book about responsibility and love, consequences and transformation.

This is event is free to attend but booking is essential; please RSVP through this page to reserve your place or call 01223 463200.

Heffers Bookshop – 20 Trinity Street, Cambridge, CB2 1TY, United Kingdom – View Map
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Take a look inside “A Wild Plant Year” by Christina Hart-Davies

Click on the cover above and take a peek inside this wonderful book.

Order your copy here.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, Christina Hart-Davies (author, artist), News | Comments Off

6 October 2016: National Poetry Day celebrated with Susan Utting

Susan Utting (640x480)How nice to wake up on National Poetry Day and to find that your poem appears on the Poetry Society page for the day.   That is what happened to Two Rivers Press poet, Susan Utting.

Her poem Elective Mute  was the Poetry Society’s offering of the day.


Elective Mute

by Susan Utting

Inside her head she’s eloquent, knows
all the answers, words that tumble out
in perfect clause and cadence, words

like clause and cadence, beautifully
enunciated to herself, alone. Like stories
she makes up, hobgoblin tales where

small girls answer riddles, save lives
of princes tied to trees, win golden
treasure kept in chests and coffers, like

this, her life is charmed, she’s powerful
as a villainess whose thought-spells
turn a pinching boy to jagged stone,

a chalk-faced mistress to a panting toad,
a matron to a pile of linen, waiting to be
scrubbed and starched, flat-ironed, scorched.



Posted in 2016 New Archive, News, Susan Utting (poet) | Comments Off

6 October 2016: National Poetry Day celebrations feature Claire Dyer

claire-dyer-home-page-bw31The 40 stations of BBC local radio marked National Poetry Day by each broadcasting a poem commissioned from 40 #BBCLocalPoets Each poet has adopted the voice of a characteristic local landmark or mascot: from Lincolnshire sausage (Gemma Baker, BBC Radio Lincolnshire) to Essex’s infamous A12 (Luke Wright, BBC Radio Suffolk).

Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer, created ‘The Oracle’ a poem celebrating Berkshire.

To see Claire walking through The Oracle, reciting her poem, click here.

This is a joint project between BBC Local Radio, the Forward Arts Foundation, and Apples and Snakes.



Claire Dyer created ‘The Oracle’ a poem celebrating Berkshire.



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Friday 23rd September – Sunday 2nd October 2016: BOTANICAL ART & ARTISTS: Christina Hart-Davies “A Wild Plant Year”

Wild_Plant_Year_Cover_finalFor the last six years Christina Hart-Davies has been working on a book called A Wild Plant Year.  It has been officially launched at a large botanical art exhibition of the same name in Hampshire.

Exhibition – A Wild Plant Year

A solo exhibition is a major endeavour – especially when it comprises 234 paintings! ​All the artwork included in the book can be seen in the exhibition and it’s all for sale.  There are also more original works by Christina for sale plus books, cards and prints.
You can see examples of Christina’s work on her website – in terms of Wild Plants,Cultivated Plants, Mosses and Lichens and Monochrome and Line Work for publications.
These are the details:
Posted in Christina Hart-Davies (author, artist), Events | Comments Off

Review: David Cooke’s ‘A Murmuration’ reviewed in the TLS


We are delighted.  A review of  David Cooke’s poetry collection, Murmuration, appeared in the TLS (August 19-26, 2016).  Reviewer, John Greening wrote:

“There are distinct successes, such as the responses to Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” and Bruegel’s “Hunters in the Snow”, and translations from Mallarmé, Supervielle, Jaccottet and Rilke. The book is held together by  love of place and a sober fascination with quirkiness, a study of a koala, a portrait of a Belizean woman in a pub, the English language itself…”

“There is much precision workmanship and a welcome lack of showiness in this collection from Two Rivers Press, whose publications are increasingly impressive. ”

Get your copy of A Murmuration here.

Read more of the TLS review of David Cooke’s A Murmuration here.


Posted in 2016 New Archive, David Cooke (poet), News | Comments Off

seatter-front-cover-visualThe Book of Snow by Robert Seatter (poet)

Review: A Wild Plant Year

“I don’t think I have ever seen a more attractive or informative book than A Wild Plant Year…”

“This book is pure joy.”  


Thus, Meriel Thurstan begins and ends her review  of Christina Hart-Davies’ A Wild Plant Year:  The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora.  Read the book review in its entirety:

Meriel Thurstan

A Wild Plant Year by Christina Hart-Davies

I don’t think I have ever seen a more attractive or informative book than A Wild Plant Year by SWSBA member Christina Hart-Davies. Christina spent six years researching and illustrating the history, folklore and uses of Britain’s flora, and the result is nothing short of delightful.

Reflecting the seasonal appearance of over 200 wild flowers, the book starts with the New Year and finishes with Yuletide and Christmas, every plant taking its place in its particular season. On the way we are told about special days such as Easter, Mothering Sunday, Hallowe’en and so on, and showcasing the plants with which these days are associated. Every plant is beautifully illustrated with Christina’s characteristic delicacy and detail, embellished here and there with her gentle calligraphy.

I suppose it is pretty obvious when you think about it, but so many plant names reflect their character or use: Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) was said to cure a stitch, that sudden pain in the side; Pignut (Conopodium majus) is adored by pigs and wild boar; Bee orchid (Ophrys aperifera) really looks as though it is hosting a visiting bee; Milkwort (Polygala spp) was supposed to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers; Eyebright (Euphrasia spp) brightens the eyes. Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is self-explanatory, but although you probably already knew that it was used by witches to fly, did you also know that it was protection against them? And that its bright yellow edible buds were served at the coronation banquet of James II?

Take this book with you when you walk through the countryside and you will be amazed at the number of plants that either have a history, or a medical use, or are simply edible. Our forebears may not have had antibiotics and penicillin, but they certainly knew their herbs and what had healing properties or would spice up their diet.

Or stay at home and read it, enjoy the delightful illustrations – and increase your knowledge of the history, folklore and medical and edible values of our common (and not so common) wild plants.

This book is pure joy.

Review in Palette & Petal, the quarterly magazine of the South West Society of Botanical Artists. Reprinted with permission

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What were TRP’s bestsellers at Reading’s Turbine House event?

As part of Reading’s Year of Culture 2016, and to coincide with national Heritage Open Days, RG Spaces put on an exhibition of art and beautiful books, including Two Rivers Press books,  at The Turbine House. celebrating Reading’s two rivers, the Kennet and the Thames.

turbine-houseThe Turbine House is a unique building that spans the Kennet, with waterside views towards Reading town centre. It houses preserved turbine machinery and hosts occasional summertime art exhibitions and events.


Two Rivers Press’ best selling books of the weekend were: John Man’s The Stranger in Reading, Gillian Clark’s Down by the River: The Thames and Kennet in Reading and A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora by Christina Hart-Davies.

If you were unable to make the exhibit, you can still purchase these bestsellers by clicking on the images below.

The Stranger in Reading

Down by the River: the Thames and Kennet in Reading







Posted in 2016 New Archive, News | Comments Off

Saturday, 10 September 2016: Tour of Broad Street Chapel & Geoff Sawers’ book signing

Broad_Street_Chapel_CoverAs part of the Heritage Open Days in Reading join us on a tour of Broad Street Chapel and book signing.  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.

Please contact the store to book your place free of charge, as numbers are limited to 8 people per tour.

Tours: 12:00 – 12:30 pm & 3.30 – 4.00 pm, starting at Waterstones Reading Broad Street

Book signing:  15:30 – 16:00 at Waterstones Reading Broad Street

Cost:  Free with ticket available in Waterstones Reading Broad Street store (Reading, UK)

Further details: 0118 9581270


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Saturday, 10 September 2016: Book Launch: Peter Robinson’s “September in the Rain”

septemberintherainsmWaterstones Reading Broad Street is  thrilled to welcome the author, Professor Peter Robinson, Professor of English and American literature at Reading University, as he launches his first novel ‘September in the Rain’.

Two young people travelling through Italy are caught in the rain and hitch a lift with chilling consequences.

This is a book about the responsibilities of love; about accidents and decisions; about choices and dilemmas.

This event is free of charge and there is no booking required.

When: 17:00

Where:  Waaterstones Reading Broad Street

Posted in Events, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

8-11 September 2016: Reading and its Rivers – exhibition

Turbine House

As part of Reading’s Year of Culture 2016, and to coincide with national Heritage Open Days, RG Spaces invites you to an exhibition of art and beautiful books at The Turbine House. The exhibition celebrates Reading’s two rivers.

Step out over the Kennet River – in this Victorian Turbine House with a great view of the weir originally built by monks from Reading Abbey – to see an exhibition of work by 16 local artists on Reading and its Rivers, specially curated for Heritage Open Days. It will be complemented by books from Two Rivers Press, a family trail around this little nook of Reading history, and special deals at nearby restaurant, the Bel and the Dragon.

Opening times (no booking required)

Thursday 8 September: 1000-1800

Friday 9 September: 1000-1800

Saturday 10 September: 1000-1800

Sunday 11 September: 1000-1800

Location: The Turbine House, Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock, Off Kenavon Drive, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3EQ

Additional information:  Park in Bel and the Dragon car park which is shared with the small museum which is also onsite (free entry).

Directions: From Reading Town Centre, walk down the Kennet towpath (about 15 minutes). By car or if walking from the station, along Forbury Road at the roundabout by Homebase/Reading jail, follow the brown signs to Blakes Lock Museum down Kenavon Drive. Turn right when you see the Bel and the Dragon restaurant and enter through its car park.


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Robinson’s “September in the Rain” book launches

Launch 300 dpi

Two Rivers Press poetry editor, Peter Robinson, has a new novel out, September in the Rain (Holland House).

If you find yourself near one of these bookstores, you are welcome the book launch.


1 September at 6:30pm
Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop
21 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU

8 September at 7:30pm
Albion Beatnik Bookstore
34, Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AA

10 September at 5:30pm
United Reform Building, 89a Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP

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A WILD PLANT YEAR: New title and Exhibition!



What plant should you slip into your shoes to ease tired feet?

Which was the proper day to gather Dandelions for the best wine?

Which hayfield flower would make your cows’ milk richer?


The answers appear in A Wild Plant Year by Christina Hart-Davies.

Lavishly illustrated with detailed, vibrant watercolours the book will be launched with a major solo exhibition. All the illustrations will be for sale, along with books, prints, cards and other original paintings.

Order your copy of the book now, here.

24 September – 2 October 2016
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey, Hampshire
Open daily 10 – 5
Free parking Free entry to exhibition

For more information please contact Christina.

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Review: Robinson’s “September in the Rain”

29th August 2016: Ian Brinton, reviews Peter Robinson’s most recent novel September in the Rain, for Tears in the Fence, an independent literary magazine’s, blog.


It is a tale of  two young people travelling through Italy, caught in the rain, needing to hitch a lift…and nothing will ever be the same again.  It is a tale of responsibility and love, consequences and transformation.

Mr. Brinton says, ‘…Peter Robinson’s inner narrative surfaces in this stunningly moving novel.”

Read the complete review here

Meet the author, at Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge UK on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 18:30.  Reservation required

Posted in News, Peter Robinson (poet, editor) | Comments Off

Interference_Effects_CoverInterference Effects by Claire Dyer (poet)

Ruth Speirs’ Rilke stands up to comparison with other translations


“IT WAS A GOOD IDEA to collect together Ruth Speirs’ translations of Rilke…

The insistence she makes is that sense has priority, because Rilke’s word choice was precise rather than impressionistic or ornamental. Her task was then to show exactly what Rilke was doing with language at every point of the text. The sense lay in the knots and gaps but also in the reach of the sentence, both involved in the perceptual discoveries made in the writing, which must be rendered free of both obfuscation and reductive forms of clarity. There are no doubt failures, and there are indecisions, but for the most part the result is a balance which even more recent experts cannot seem to manage without wooden awkwardness—…

Ruth Speirs’ Rilke cannot become anyone’s definitive English Rilke, since the impossibility of a book meant that she made no attempt to cover all Rilke’s major works. The Duino Elegies are all here, but only twenty of the Sonnets to Orpheus, with a generous selection from New Poems and a scatter of earlier poems. But as a check on and comparison with other translations I think it would be extremely useful.

An extract from a review which appears in Part Two of an extended essay by Peter Riley on translated poetry, Poetry Notes, published in The Fortnightly Review.

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David Attwooll (1949 – 2016)

Image credit

Image credit

We are very sorry to announce the death of the poet, publisher, and street band drummer David Attwooll, whose first collection,  The Sound Ladder,  we published in 2015.  Shortly before his sudden decline, plans had been put in place to publish a second collection in October 2017. Work on this second collection will continue with the aid of  David’s family and colleagues. Our condolences go to his wife and children for their loss. Among David’s many achievements, he was Chairman of the Board for Liverpool University Press. A full obituary notice can be found on their website here.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, David Attwooll (poet), News | Comments Off

Congratulations, John Froy!

Two Rivers Press would like to congratulate John Froy:  He won 3rd prize for his poem ‘Home’ in the 2016 Havant Poetry Competition. Awards were presented during the South Downs Poetry Festival 16-24 July.


She’s flown south to Chile and I keep the image
of her heavy pack, light step on the concourse
looking left and right, but never back.
I drive home, freed too, in a way.

I set off walking, am swamped by kids
pouring from school into the winter afternoon,
and looking up see the moon she sees
rising over rooftops in a scintillating sky.

At Sunday lunch I’m suddenly queasy,
carried away to Rothera on the Peninsula
to help the loading of the James Clark Ross.
She said it would be a bit military.

The moon’s now full and she’s been sailing
five days through the Roaring Forties
to reach the home of the great wanderer.
I’ll have The Ancient Mariner to hand

while she studies senescence in albatrosses,
a season on South Georgia among biting fur seals
weighing, tagging, naming the birds,
climbing daily to the nests in the tussocks.

There’s no email and don’t expect one, remember
when you were hitching rides on the back of trucks
through the Atacama, with never a message home.

She’s on an icebreaker in the southern ocean,
but don’t think that tree can’t fall on you
the next time you open your front door.

Like an Arctic tern, lover of eternal daylight,
she’s flying north tomorrow, and the day after,
last leg of the loop, Antarctica and back,
landing at Brize where I’ll be with our old car.

John is both poet and autobiographer:



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Gill Learner launches “Chill Factor” a new collection at Literary Lunch

Gill Learner reads at launch of her collection "Chill Factor"  (July 17, 2016)

Gill Learner reads at launch of her collection “Chill Factor” (July 17, 2016)

On Sunday, 17 July 2016, Two Rivers Press hosted a Literary Lunch at the Great Expectations Pub on London Street, Reading.    Poet Gill Learner read from her new collection, Chill Factor. Other Two Rivers Press authors and editors, Barbara Morris and Peter Robinson,  read from other recent TRP publications including:






Chill Factor front cover final

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Sunday, 17 July 2016: Gill Learner at Literary Lunch at Great Expectations

Join us on Sunday 17th July at the Great Expectations Pub on London Street, from 12pm. Gill Learner will be launching her new collection: Chill Factor this Sunday.There will be a tab behind the bar for the first round of drinks and you can have your lunch there too.

As well as hearing Gill, you will also have the opportunity to hear Barbara Morris read from Edith Morley’s memoir, Before & After and Peter Robinson read from Mairi MacInnes’s Amazing Memories of Childhood, etc. So it really willBefore_And_After_Cover_13_11 be a literary lunch.

Chill Factor front cover final









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Peter Kruschwitz on Edith Morley autobiography and Sex, Gender Roles, and Hatred

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11Reading University Professor Peter Kruschwitz writes:

In 1908, Edith Morley was appointed Professor of English Language at University College Reading – the institution that eventually became the University of Reading. Professor Morley’s autobiographical sketch, ‘Looking Before and After’ was recently published as ‘Before and After: Reminiscences of a Working Life‘  ….

This is, without a doubt, one of the finest books that I have read all year (so far), telling the story of a remarkable person and a remarkable life, giving a highly personal insight in the history of my own employer as well as the struggles it took a female academic at the time to establish herself in an overwhelmingly male-dominated environment (and many a time, while reading this fine piece, I wondered what progress had been made in some areas).

Professor Kruschwitz goes on to posit that Professor Morley was  “someone who developed a feminei sexus odium, a hatred for (her) female sex, due to her society’s overall gender expectations”? The evidence, he says,  is there in the very first couple of pages of the actual memoirs (p. 11-2):

‘But I did hate being a girl and can still remember my indignation at hearing my brother told that only girls cheated at games and the like, or cried when they were hurt. And how I hated and resented wearing gloves. When quite small I suffered from a thick woollen veil, which was supposed to safeguard the complexion, but my very noisy and voluble protests soon relieved me of that infliction – old-fashioned and unusual in those days. I also resented and constantly disobeyed the rule that I must not slide down the banisters or turn head over heels! I had gymnastic lessons, however, and learned how to swim, but I yearned for more of the team games which girls did not yet play and suffered a good deal from insufficient outlets for my physical exuberance.’

Read Professor Kruschwitz’s review and analysis on his blog, The Petrified Muse.

Buy a copy of Edith Morley ‘Before and After: Reminiscences of a Working Life‘ 

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Whiteknights Studio Trail 2016…here is what you missed!


Two Rivers Press had a wonderful time hosting their little bit of the 2016 Whiteknights Studio Trail.   Books were displayed, authors chatted about their books, and everyone was invited to make a bookmark with one of Peter Hay’s stamps.

M.White, author of "The Veiled Vale" (L), talks about the book

M.White, author of “The Veiled Vale” (L), talks about the book








If you didn’t make it to us this year, make sure you come to see us next year!

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Thursday, 2 June 2016: Launch of The Veiled Vale by Mike White

Veiled Vale front coverYou are invited  to attend the launch of  The Veiled Vale at The Bear Hotel in Wantage from 7.30.

The Vale of the White Horse and the beautiful countryside of South Oxfordshire is a landscape steeped in thousands of years of legends, history and mystery. Here are witches, monsters and ghosts; old legends and modern-day tales of strange encounters with the unknown. From the mildly curious to the frighteningly inexplicable, The Veiled Vale is a treasure trove of fabulous folklore and modern mysteries.

The author, Mike White, will also be at the Whiteknights Studio Trail to talk about and sign copies of his book:  Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June 2016 11am – 6pm

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Sunday, 17 July 2016: Launch “Chill Factor” by Gill Learner

Chill Factor front cover finalPut the date in your calendar and join us for the launch of Gill Learner‘s new poetry collection Chill Factor

When: 12pm

Where: Great Expectations, 33 London Street Reading.

It promises to be a memorable afternoon as Gill will be joined by Barbara Morris and Peter Robinson who will read from Edith Morley Before and After:  Reminiscence of a Working Life  and Mairi MacInnes Amazing Memories of Childhood, Etc., respectively.











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Sunday 29 May 2016: Poetry Reading in Oxford

Join us for an evening of poetry.  

Three Two Rivers Poets: Kate Behrens, Ian House, Susan Utting  will read from their latest collections and new work, in Oxford at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore  34, Walton Street OX2 6AA on Sunday 29th May, 7:00 pm [£2 entry]

Man with Bombe Alaska front cover

Fair's Fair Front coverNothings_Lost_Cover



For more information on events at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore visit

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Thursday, 12 May 2016….come to Reading Central Library!

Thursday 12th May. South’s launch of issue 53, featuring poems by Two Rivers Press authors and poets, John Froy, Gill Learner, Jean Watkins and reviews of collections by David Attwooll and David Cooke will take place in Reading Central Library (Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3BQ) 7-7.30pm.

Please join us.


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Review: “Silcester: Life on the Dig” reviewed in Berkshire Life

Silchester_Cover_finalIt is always lovely to have one of our books reviewed in the glossy mags. Berkshire Life reviewed Jenny Halstead and Michael Fulford’s Silcester: Life on the Dig (see review below).

You can order a copy of this book for the archaeology lover in your life, here.

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Poem: “Lip-reading the Poets” by Susan Utting for Deaf Awareness Week! 

A bit of exciting news from our poet, Susan Utting.

She read her recent poem “Lip-Reading the Poets” at the Henley Arts Trail last week and was asked by a woman in the audience if she could have a copy to submit to her British Sign Language Interpreters’ association. They liked it and posted on-line for Deaf Awareness Week.

Lip-reading the Poets

More than lips, it’s in the whole face,
              meaning beyond the shape of a mouth,
more than puckering oos and grinning ees,
              the open-wides of ah and eye
the press of emm and bee.

The whole body signifies –
              steady as a sonnet’s pulse
then quick as a stop-frame animation.
              There is no signing woman here
to spell out words, spring out her fingers

to say beautiful with everything she’s got,
              but still from here I catch
the poignancy of a poet’s raised shoulders,
              a torso’s earnest forward slope,
the raised chin of a challenge.

The signing woman isn’t here
              to sweep her chest – one hand
for like, two crossed palms for love –
              but still I see her raise her arms
high and wide, jazz-handing her applause.

Susan Utting Continue reading

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Sunday, 8 May 2016: Poetry at the Caversham Arts Trail

CAT2016 FlyerCome into the garden!

Hear five local poets (three of them published by Two Rivers Press) read their poems in a lovely garden, as part of the Caversham Arts Trail.

Jean Watkins, Susan Utting, Robin Thomas, Susan Roberts and Victoria Pugh will be reading on Sunday 8th May at 4.00 as part of the Caversham Arts Trail

There will also be an open mic.


Download the full colour flyer. See images and contact details for all 29 artists, note demonstrations during the trail and plan your route in advance.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016: Join one of our walking tours of Reading: Reading Revealed on Foot

Here’s a question….why have experts and not use them eh?

Reading Revealed on Foot: Saturday May 21st. Explore Reading’s rich history and heritage by eschewing the car and internet. Instead, take to your feet and be guided on a walking tour by four of Two Rivers Press’s resident experts who will shed new light on the town you thought you knew.

Tours are FREE but MUST be booked in advance. Please email to book your place, or phone 07834 827611 and leave a message.


The Reading Detectives tour is the one most suitable for children, although they are welcome on all the tours. They must however be accompanied by an adult.

Tours 1 & 4 Kerry Renshaw and Electra Colios invite readers of all ages to become ‘Reading Detectives’ and uncover the clues about the town’s past that are all around us on buildings, plaques, statues and street signs.

Both tours are 1 hour duration. Meet at the statue of Queen Victoria outside Marks & Spencer’s in the Town Hall Square at 11am (tour 1) or 2pm (tour 4). Finish at the Oxfam bookshop for an opportunity to buy Kerry & Electra’s book there.



Tour 2 Peter Kruschwitz opens a previously hidden window on Reading by interpreting the numerous Latin inscriptions that grace our monuments and tombstones, explaining who wrote them and what their motives might have been.

Tour 2 is 1 hour duration. Meet at St Laurence’s Church next to the Town Hall at 12pm. 10 people max. Finish outside Waterstones, Broad Street for an opportunity to buy Peter’s book there.


Tour 3 The urban landscape of Reading consists of more than just man-made features and Geoff Sawers draws our attention to the majestic trees that grace our town centre, many of which have been here longer than some of the buildings. What events have they witnessed and how might we unlock their secrets?

Tour 3 is 1 hour duration. Meet at the main door of St Mary’s Church on St Mary’s Butts at 1pm. Finish at Reading Museum. Book not available yet (it is due to publish this time next year) but we will have details to hand out.


BID logoFunded by the Reading BID as part of their ARENA arts and culture programme  for the town centre.  With this contribution to the Reading Year of Culture 2016, we have been able to put on a series of 4 walking tours in the town centre, based around our books (some published, some yet to be published). This is a chance to hear the stories direct from the authors’ mouths and, of course, to buy the books so you can explore further in your own time.image002



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Congratulations to Susan Utting

Susan (r) with competition judge and fellow prize winner

Susan (r) with competition judge and fellow prize winner

We’d like to say, “Well done!” to our poet, Susan Utting.  She has won third prize in the  Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Competition.  Not bad considering there were over 1700 entries!  Winners were announced Tuesday, 19 April, 2016.

Of Susan’s poem  Room One, judge Anne-Marie Fyfe says:

Room One: this is a classic poem of isolation, the condition of someone ending up in rooms that aren’t their own: Room One certainly suggests a small hotel or b&b. There’s a certain courage needed to ignore things that might otherwise cause anxiety.  But the positives that the poem offers, the poppies on the mugs and the crimson walls, still feel dated. And you mustn’t dwell on the poppies’ black hearts, a hint of Baudelairean fleurs du mal. Worse, it’s an attic room, so you can’t even see that there’s a world out there. A real evocation of a lonely, transitory moment, or just a lonely life.

To read the winning poems and the full judge’s report visit The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s page Prizewinning Poems from our Open Competition 2016.

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Congratulations to TRP poet, Gill Learner!

Take a look at this…..our Gill Learner took second prize in the Torriano Poetry Competition.   Isn’t that grand?

Winners of the Torriano Competition 2015/16

Many thanks to all who entered the Torriano Poetry Competition.

The winners performed readings of their works on  24 April.

Judged by Ann Drysdale

Chill Factor front cover final1st Ian McEwen (Bedford) Rooks in the Wind
2nd Gill Learner (Reading) In Consideration of Sticks
3rd M. Lee Alexander (USA). Local Hussy at the Kilkenny Village Fete, 1722

Read Gill’s poetry in her collection, The Agister’s Experiment or pre-order her forthcoming collection, Chill Factor (June 2016).

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Sale of Peter Hay works

This past weekend, Two Rivers Press held a sale of works by its founder Peter Hay.   As one Two Rivers Press poet commented afterwards “‘that wasn’t just a nice event, it was a lovely one!’

Peter Hay sale1

Peter Hay sale Martin & Nadja & LesleyPeter Hay salePeter Hay sale2

Poetry was read and art was taken home!

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Saturday, 23 April 2016: Two Rivers Press Present: Slam Sale with Poetry

Come to Reading Museum & Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1QH for a sale of original artwork by Peter Hay.

detail of a Peter Hay painting

detail of a Peter Hay painting

When: Sale 12pm – 3.30pm, poetry readings from 2pm

Cost: Free, drop in

Who: all ages

Peter Hay set up Two Rivers Press and painted and illustrated his way into the hearts of Reading people. Today the Press is sharing the love with a sale of original paintings by Hay at give-away prices. Find paintings full of joyful colour from as little as £10.

Take a break from rummaging through the art and poetry books for a rare chance to hear astonishing poems read aloud by nationally acclaimed poets. Join the poets in the Sense of Place exhibition surrounded by the paintings that inspired them and sit back as their poems bring the paintings to life.

Two Rivers Press logo

Throughout the event Two Rivers Press books will be selling books at discounted prices and after the poetry readings poets will be available to sign books.

For more information about the event see Reading Museum events listing.


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Saturday, 23 April 2016, SLAM SALE and POETRY at Reading Museum

Take a break from rummaging through the art and poetry books for a rare chance to hear astonishing poems read aloud by nationally acclaimed poets. Join the poets in the Sense of Place exhibition surrounded by the paintings that inspired them and sit back as their poems bring the paintings to life.

When: Saturday 23rd April, 12.00-15.30, with poetry readings from 14.00
Where:  Reading Museum & Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1QH
Cost: FREE for all ages

detail of a Peter Hay painting

detail of a Peter Hay painting

Peter Hay set up Two Rivers Press and painted and illustrated his way into the hearts of Reading people. Today the Press is sharing the love with a sale of original paintings by Hay at give-away prices. Find paintings full of joyful colour from as little as £10.

Throughout the event Two Rivers Press will be selling books at discounted prices and poets will be available to sign them.

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Claire Dyer at Charles Causley’s Cyprus Well

From “A Winning Week at Cyprus Well”

well-blog1-500x500Saturday: My journey to Cyprus Well has been long and tiring but I arrive to find the afternoon sunlight falling in wide bands across the kitchen.

On the table is a vase of blithe spring flowers and in every room a sense of peace like an embrace. It is different here; this house made of light spaces and tender dark corners is calm and generous.

I spend quiet moments in each room, looking through the bookshelves, at the pictures on the walls, at the displays in the glass cabinets. I sit for a while in the ‘bright glass cabin’ and somehow know he’s here too, in his study, at his desk, weighing words. There’s no rush, he tells me. Take your time.

In February of this year, we announced that  Two Rivers Press poet, Claire Dyer had been awarded 1st Prize in the 2015 Charles Causley Poetry Prize, for her poem ‘Trust and the Horse’.

1st Prize included a week-long residency at Cyprus Well, Causley’s former home in Launceston, Cornwall.

Claire has now spent her week at Cyprus Well.

Read A Winning Week at Cyprus Well and the poem it inspired “At Cyprus Well after Charles Causley” here.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016: Shakespeare, the V&A and Live Canon’s 154: A Poetry Marathon

file-page1To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, on his 452nd birthday, Live Canon commissioned 154 contemporary poets (including two Two Rivers Press poets, Lesley Saunders and David Attwooll) to each pen a poem in response to one of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets.

In this remarkable six hour marathon, the Live Canon ensemble will launch the publication of the poems with a performance of all 154 sonnets and all 154 responses, in the beautiful surroundings of the V&A’s National Art Library.


Live Canon’s 154: A Poetry Marathon

When: Sunday 24 April,10.30-17.30
Where: NAL Centre Room
Cost: Free

Join the Live Canon ensemble for a unique, marathon poetry performance.

Drop in or stay all day for a Shakespeare birthday blowout.

This event is part of the V&A Performance Festival 2016.


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30 April – 2 May: Discover local artists and TRP’s own Sally Castle at the Henley Arts Trail

The 2016 trail is on the first May Bank Holiday Weekend  Sat 30th April – Mon 2nd May

Visit artists’ studios and exhibitions in the Henley-Twyford area!

  • Over 150 artists
  • 25 venues
  • More than 10,000 people visited in 2015

The artists will be at the various venues to welcome guests and show their work. Some artists will be doing demonstrations or workshops for members of the public who want to have a go themselves and many venues offer refreshments.

The Grand Opening for the Trail is at Venue 1, The Old Fire Station Gallery on Friday 22 April 2016, 18.00 – 20.00 – all welcome!

Sally Castle’s open studio is venue 21.  Come see her linocuts, letter carving and lettering! For a taste of what you might see at Venue 21, visit

walking-words-wide-v2-600x400Shipping forecast








For more information on the Henley Arts trail and to download the trail map/brochure visit

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Review: The Rilke of Ruth Speirs in TLS

“….why given the super abundance of Rilke translations available are we being offered “her” (Ruth Speirs) Rilke?”

This question is at the heart of Charlie Louth’s TLS review, “Untormented”  of The Rilke of Ruth Speirs: New Poems, Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, & Others (8 April 2016). He argues that Rilke poses a balance to the well-known translations of J.B. Leishman whose translations were published by Hogarth Press (who had an exclusive agreement with Rilke’s German publisher):


Hers are some of the most supple, patient, responsive and exact versions of Rilke around….

Speirs marks her difference from Leishman by making no attempt to follow Rilke’s rhyming, arguing ….the “Rilke’s abundance of meaning does not depend on rhyme for its transmission, but bursts upon us in some degree even through a ‘prose’ translation, if only we let him speak in words that, in kindred language, are as closely equivalent to his own as is possible to render them.”  Whatever the truth of that, it is clearly better to have plain, accurate versions that do without rhyme rather than overwrought, hit-and-miss versions that are impeded by it, and it is not much of an exaggeration to think of Speirs’ Rilke as an “anti-Leishman”…. Her translations have a sense of quietness, the language seems sure footed, unforced, tending to tone down rather than work up, finely attentive to the German but not in awe of it or even tempted to abandon its own measured resources.  And her versions are not ‘prose’ and don’t pass up opportunities to hint at the rhyme or to compensate for its absence by other means.  She follows and has faith in the sense, in Rilke’s and her own.

The Rilke of Ruth Speirs is available here.

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A reminder! Grey Hen Poetry Competion deadline 30 April, 2016

Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2016 – Closing date 30th April

For women over 60.

Poems up to 40 lines on any theme.

Judges: Maggie Butt and Anne Stewart.

Prizes: £100, £75, £25. Rules and entry form (essential) at or write with sae for further details to

Grey Hen Press
PO Box 450
W Yorks
BD22 9BG
United Kingdom

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Shining a light on Edith Morley, UK’s first female professor

Prof. Alison Donnell, Head of School of Literature and Languages (University of Reading) tells BBC’s Anne Diamond about the UK’s first female university professor, Dr Edith Morley:  “She really had to fight for it”. Listen to the radio interview here.

Anne was clearly so moved by Edith Morley story,  that on Wednesday, March 9, just a day after International Women’s Day, Anne suggested that a statue would be fitting tribute to Edith’s hard-won achievements.

Read Edith Morley’s memoirs Before and After: Reminiscence of a Working Life.

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Read All About It: ‘Before and After’ by Edith Morley

This post, by Yen-Yen Lu, was posted on March 11, 2016 on the Inpress website.

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11We celebrated International Women’s Day this week to commemorate the achievements of women in history and in contemporary culture. It would be impossible to leave out one of this week’s most exciting new titles, Before and After from Two Rivers Press, a memoir of Edith Morley, the first female professor in the UK.

Since childhood she ‘hated being a girl'; understandable, considering the fact that she grew up in late Victorian era. She was aware of the restrictions put on her simply from ‘being a girl’ and made every effort to break through them, from defying her father’s wishes and attending school rather than being educated at home, to her later life when she overcame many different obstacles as she navigated through a male-dominated environment of Edwardian academia. She was appointed Professor of English Language at Reading in 1908.

I spoke to Sally Mortimore and Barbara Morris (editor) of Two Rivers Press about the book and of the significance of Morley’s achievements and what they mean today.

What stands out to you about Before and After, and what will stand out to readers? The restrictions placed on girls and women in the early part of the 20th Century, though we read about them, are hard to take on board until you read a first hand account from an intelligent and energetic, personable woman. Edith’s memoir makes you wish you could have invited her to dinner. Such was her range of knowledge and pursuits, her clear interest in others and her pragmatism, it’s easy to imagine late night conversations full of laughter and name dropping! Her memoir is easy to read and resonant of a life-affirming personality. She is honest about the challenges she faced, about her own personal weaknesses and about the people she came into contact with. The result is the reader’s opportunity to go back in time, experience the events that made our lives what they are today and make a commitment to future generations to live our ordinary lives as if they matter.

What makes Edith Morley an important figure, in her time and ours?             Edith Morley was an ordinary woman. Ordinary in that her circumstances and upbringing were typical of many women of her time. But she possessed extraordinary determination and energy which she used to change the course of her life and the lives of many women following in her footsteps. Although her personal achievement was tarnished by the attitude of her peers to the women in leadership positions, nevertheless, the status she did manage to attain paved the way for future female academics of all ranks to fulfill their potential.

What would you most want this book to achieve?  Huge sales! But also an understanding amongst women today that the path we tread was laid by some unassuming but determined women, many of whom are not noticed by history, but whose legacy was hugely significant. We can but aim to do likewise.

Purchase Before and After  here.

Posted in Barbara Morris (author), News | Comments Off

2016 Paragram Paradox Prize

Claire Dyer is to be the judge for the 2016 Paragram Paradox Prize. There will be three genres in the new competition, humour, poetry and petite-prose, with a prize in each.

More information about the competition will be posted at

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

Irish Times article about Before and After Reminiscence of a Working life, the Edith Morley autobiography

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11(2016-Mar-09)   The Irish Times has published an article by Barbara Morris, the editor of the recently published autobiography of Edith Morley,  the first female professor in Britain or Ireland.

Barbara says Before and After: Reminiscence of a Working Life will appeal to anyone with an interest in women in academia, the work of Fabian socialists and the women’s movement.

Indeed it should be of interest to anyone interested in social history.


The book is available now, directly from Two Rivers Press, here.

Posted in 2016 New Archive, Barbara Morris (author), News | Comments Off

Review: The Bookbag reviews Edith Morley autobiography


The Bookbag has published a full review of Edith Morley’s autobiography  Before and After: Reminiscence on a Working Life, edited by Barbara Morris.

Morley was involved in the early feminist movement and later worked in setting up the Reading Refugee Committee which assisted Jewish refugees in world War II – work for which she would be awarded the OBE. Her descriptions throughout the book are vivid, concise and memorable and have a directness which brings situations to life in a way which is not often encountered. For the first time I felt that I was really present in a Victorian childhood or with refugees. It’s an interesting and varied life although the author makes rather less of it than is usual in such memoirs. There’s an underlying need to give credit to others and minimise criticism which is refreshing.

Many years ago I was a woman in a position where women were still unusual and many of the struggles which Morley encountered were familiar to me, but I did feel grateful for the groundwork which she and others like her had done and which made what I did possible.

(Excerpt from the review)

Posted in 2016 New Archive, Barbara Morris (author), News | Comments Off

Before and After: Reminiscences of a Working Life by Edith Morley launched

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11Yesterday, 8 March 2016, was  International Women’s Day and Two Rivers Press launched a most appropriate new publication, the autobiography of Edith Morley, the first woman appointed to a chair at a British university-level institution.

This book is getting reviewed widely, perhaps an indication that the challenges facing women today are disappointingly not so different from those faced by Edith Morley over 100 years ago.

Buy your copy here.


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Lesley Saunder’s poem, Asylum, on Youtube

I will take you myself on my shoulders

and the task will not weigh heavy on me

-Vergil, Aeneid II, 708

So begins, “Asylum” by Lesley Saunders, recited here by  Eva Traynor.

“Asylum”  is a poem in a collection  Lesley Saunders is preparing.

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Academic and feminist: Edith Morley! Memoirs published today

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11BBC’s Woman’s Hour takes up the story of the UK’s first female university professor, Edith Morley, her  professional struggles and political convictions around equality in the early twentieth century relate to on-going campaigns for equality and diversity in higher education today.

You can listen to the podcast here and/or buy a copy of Edith’s memoirs, published on this International Women’s Day 2016, here.

Posted in Barbara Morris (author), News | Comments Off

Tuesday, 8 March, 2016: Claire Dyer on air on Paul Ross Show

claire-dyer-home-page-bw31Our very own poet and author, Claire Dyer is a regular guest on The Berkshire Book Club on the Paul Ross Show on BBC Berkshire.

Unexpected inheritanceTomorrow she will be on air at 2.00 pm talking about ‘The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra‘ by  Vaseem Khan.






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Review: June Purvis reviews Edith Morley memoir in THE

Before_And_After_Cover_13_11This memoir of a scholar who fought for recognition will strike a chord with many women, says June Purvis, professor of women’s and gender history, University of Portsmouth, in her review of Time Higher Education review of Edith Morley Before and After Reminescences on a Working Life.  Here is an extract of that review…

 Writing in 1977 in The University of Reading: The First Fifty Years, historian J. C. Holt drew a hostile portrait of Morley, describing her as “provocative, disturbing, aggressive, intransigent…a very different sort of person from her male colleagues”; a woman who “frightened” even “the most extrovert of men”. Morley’s memoir presents a very different picture that challenges such misogynist views. She also writes about her active life after her retirement, when she set up Reading’s Refugee Committee and assisted Belgian Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany…

Before and After is a poignant first-person account by a pioneering feminist who struggled for recognition in her academic life, and her story will resonate with many female academics today.

Read the full review of Before and After: Reminiscences on a Working Life, by Edith Morley here.

Purchase your copy of Before and After here.

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PBS Bulletin: Behrens’ Man with Bombe Alaska

Man with Bombe Alaska front coverIMG_3102IMG_3103Have you read the Spring 2016 edition of the PBS Bulletin?   Kate Behrens’ collection Man with Bombe Alaska gets a mention in the new book listing. The entry reads:

Kate Behrens’ second collection follows The Beholder in 2012, also published by Two Rivers Press.   These poems journey between London, Turkey, Italy, Spain and the English countryside and carry a strong sense of place, with each poem grabbing and holding the reader’s attention and drawing us into a beautiful tableau, where “Horizons have turned / to the singular.” Reviewer Adam Piette describes it best when he calls it “a very haunting, emotionally fraught and entrancing collection,” which will reward repeated readings and resonate long aft the page is turned.

Buy your copy here.


Posted in 2016 New Archive, Kate Behrens (poet), News | Comments Off

Review: Edith Morley memoir reviewed on


Read all about Edith Morley Before and After Reminiscences on a Working Life  in the review “Rising up the career ladder – voices of the past” which appears on

Or read the book yourself.

Buy your copy here!


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Review: Prof Rosie Campbell reviews “Edith Morley Before and After: Reminiscences of a Working Life”


Edith Morley’s memoir has been carefully and honestly edited by Barbara Morris. Edith’s strength of character permeates the text. Her account of her personal struggles vacillates between self-deprecation and absolute confidence in the rectitude of her actions. It is abundantly clear that she was a very formidable woman. There is a quiet restraint in her description of the barriers she faced individually but she is keen to illustrate her refusal to compromise her commitment to women’s right to participate in intellectual and public life on an equal footing with men. It is not always clear who she imagined the audience of her memoir to be, she defends the suffragettes and suffragists actions in a tone that feels directed to a somewhat less than sympathetic ear. One can imagine that as the first woman professor in Britain she must have become highly skilled at attenuating her arguments to win over her male colleagues and it seems to me that in part the memoir is engaged in a dialogue with them. Professor Morley’s (I cannot bring myself to describe her as either Morley or Edith given her discussion on the new informality in terms of address in the text) description of her Victorian childhood and the constraints of being a girl child in even a very liberal family is especially vivid and engaging. She traces how a girl of ‘her class’ ended up in the very unexpected position of being in full-time academic employment and situates her own progression within an account of how the class structure, gender relations and access to academic life changed beyond recognition throughout her life time. Professor Morley dedicates considerable energy towards describing the extra curricula organisations that she helped to form and participated in attributing to them central importance in the development of university culture. In an environment where colleagues are more often deep in conversation about the REF and now the TEF the idea of participating in regular collective poetry and dramatic evenings seems, sadly, extraordinarily remote and is a timely reminder of the original aims of a university education. The memoir provides brief first-hand accounts of the activities of the Fabian Society, the Suffrage movement, the Workers’ Educational Association , refugee societies, women’s organisation during the wars and of course women’s organisation within academia. I would strongly recommend Edith Morley’s memoir to anyone with an interest in any of these social movements and to the general reader as a fascinating insight into a tenacious woman who helped to make things rather better for the rest of us.

Dr Rosie Campbell, Assistant Dean for Post Graduate Research School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy
Birkbeck, University of London

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Congratulations, Claire Dyer! 2015 Charles Causley Poetry Prize winner


Two Rivers Press’ own Clarie Dyer has been awarded First Prize in the 2015 Charles Causley Poetry Competition for her poem ‘Trust and the Horse’.

“The top prize of £2000 and a week-long residency at Cyprus Well, Causley’s former home in Launceston, Cornwall was awarded to Claire Dyer who will join us at Cyprus Well in April 2016 for her residency, during which she will be giving a public reading of her work.

Head judge, Professor Caleshu, had this to say about the winning poem:

“There’s a quiet confidence in this poem, born out of ‘wisdom and rhythm’. We join the speaker on horseback, travelling toward the poem we want to read, and so the poem we want to write. The couplets move us forward with controlled momentum, a strong trot made from a straight-forward language. And yet the poem, with each turn of phrase, surprises us, turns into those spaces which are genuine, and by which we find ‘trust’: trust in the poem to make the right steps, ‘trust’ that it will carry us into a new world order — of ‘hope’, and, at the poem’s unexpected conclusion, of numbers. This poem adds to that great tradition of poetry about poetry, a quest narrative which is both of this earth and its animals and of the ‘blue air’, where the imagination triumphs.”

Eleven_Rooms_CoverClaire is from Reading, Berkshire. Her poetry collection, Eleven Rooms is published by Two Rivers Press and a further collection is forthcoming in 2016. Her novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair and her short story Falling for Gatsby are published by Quercus. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and teaches creative writing for Bracknell & Wokingham College. She also runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service. Her website is”

From The Charles Causley Trust Poetry Prize page.


Two Rivers Press would also like to congratulate 2nd Prize winner,  Russell Jones  and  3rd Prize winner,  Nell Farrell!

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Who was Edith Morley?

Born in Bayswater in 1875, Edith Morley ‘did hate being a girl’, though she found the middle-class conventions of the day restrictive rather than repressive and benefited from a good education thanks to her surgeon-dentist father and well-read mother.

She obtained an ‘equivalent’ degree from Oxford University (the only type available to the few female students at the time) and was appointed Professor of English Language at University College, Reading, in 1908, becoming the first female professor in England. She is best known as the primary twentieth-century editor of Henry Crabb Robinson’s writings (the author of a comprehensive biography) and for her Women Workers in Seven Professions: A Survey of their Economic Conditions and Prospects (1914), published while she was a member of the Fabian Executive Committee.

This memoir, Before and After, written in 1944 a few years after leaving the post at Reading, was ‘intended to relate my experiences to the background of my period and to portray incidents in the life of a woman born in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.’ She was made a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1950, for her work setting up the Reading Refugee Committee and assisting Belgian Jewish refugees in World War II. She died in 1964.


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Friday, February 12, 2016: a light-hearted romp through Reading’s grimy years (Walking Words)

Our very own Sally Castle has designed a series of 9 bronze panels that tell the story of Reading’s past (text and research by Adam Sowan) in words and pictures. They were commissioned by Muse Development as part of the redevelopment of Chatham Place and will be installed in the garden there on the 18th February.

walking-words-wide-v2-600x400They are absolutely beautiful and Sally has also designed a gorgeous map so that we can bring the artwork into our homes. On it she explains the inspiration behind the images and letterforms on the panels.

The map will be available at each of the 9 Walking Words events that jelly have organized to celebrate the commission as part of Reading’s Year of Culture. The events – involving local artists, arts organisations and art practices – are themed around the stories told on the panels.

walking words

One of them, A Much-maligned Town, is a light-hearted romp through Reading’s grimy years with Ashley Harrold, Gill Learner and Adam and Barbara. Held at Haslams, Friar Street on Friday 12th February at 7pm, the event will include extracts from newspaper reports about the crime-ridden back-to-backs at Somerset Place, quotes from Reading’s unimpressed visitors over the years and the performance of a song about the notorious Reading baby murderer, Amelia Dyer.


Although they are all free, you will need to book for many of the Walking Words events.

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Ends January 31st: Life on the Dig exhibit at Reading Museum

silchester final

If you haven’t had a chance to see Jenny Halstead’s  wonderful work for Life on the Dig in real life, there is an exhibition of her paintings, drawings and sketch books in the Silchester annex at Reading Museum during January.

Silchester: Life on the Dig

Running: from 8 Dec 2015 to 07 Feb 2016
Venue:   Silchester Annexe, Reading Museum & Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1QH

For more information visit the museum’s event page here.



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Review: Attwooll’s Sound Ladder reviewed in the latest issue of The North by Noel Williams.

Sound_Ladder_Cover_final Noel Williams reviews David Attwooll’s The Sound Ladder in The North.

He judges the collection to be  “… a cluster of cleverness – some brilliant ideas, some very unusual sideways approaches to getting a decent poem...”; a collection of  “…wide ranging glances and off beat complexities…“.

Read and judge for yourself.


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A sneak preview of A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora

Christina Hart-Davies is writing a series of very short monthly articles,  with illustrations from and text based on her forthcoming book A Wild Plant Year: The History, Folklore and Uses of Britain’s Flora (September, 2016), for  local newspaper, Dorset Echo. There will be one article every month. Dorset Echo were planning to publish them in their weekend supplements, but the supplements haven’t started yet.  So, here is a taste of what is to come…..

Butcher’s Broom, Ruscus aculeatus

Butcher’s Broom, Ruscus aculeatus


New year, new broom: a clean sweep. Country people used long flexible Birch twigs, gathered at this time of year and lashed to a Hazel handle, to make a useful broom or besom.  The aptly-named Broom plant has always been used for sweeping and did not even need a handle if you cut a long enough branch. Heather was good for a smaller brush, but used only when fresh or it disintegrated. The rather spiky Butcher’s Broom, still found at woodland edges in many parts of the country, is said to have been used for cleaning butchers’ chopping blocks. Rather surprisingly, it is related to Lilies. Its fat red berries and evergreen ‘leaves’ – actually modified stems – encouraged its use as a Christmas decoration. For brushing really delicate items people used the fronds of Hair Moss, so noticeable in acid woods in winter.

~by Christina Hart-Davies, for Dorset Echo

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Monday, January 25, 2016: Discover the fascinating world of Reading’s Latin inscriptions and gain a new perspective on our local history


If you can’t make the event at Reading Museum on January 23, you have a second chance to meet the author of Two Rivers Press’s recent book The Writing on the Wall and discover the fascinating world of Reading’s Latin inscriptions (with translations, of course!).

Peter Kruschwitz talks about the wealth of monuments in Reading over 1,800 years of local and not-so-local history, giving a new, highly entertaining perspective on the chequered history of Berkshire’s county town.


Where: Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3 BQ (0118 901 5950)

When: 7.30pm

How much: Tickets £4/£3 for library members. For tickets email, or collect from Reading Central Library.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016: Tea and Talks at Two: The Writing on the Wall

Writing_on-the_Wall_Cover_finalWhen:   2pm

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

Who:  Adults and older children

How Much:  £5, pay on the day, booking essential (0118 937 3400)

Meet the author of Two Rivers Press’s recent book The Writing on the Wall and discover the fascinating world of Reading’s Latin inscriptions (with translations, of course!). Peter Kruschwitz talks about the wealth of monuments in Reading over 1,800 years of local and not-so-local history, giving a new, highly entertaining perspective on the chequered history of Berkshire’s county town. After the talk enjoy a cream tea in Palmers Café (pick up your voucher when paying).

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Friday, 15 January 2016: Poets’ Cafe – South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading – 8pm doors – £5/£4

Man with Bombe Alaska front coverThis month the Poets’ cafe have a special local guest, the mighty and magnificent Kate Behrens,  launching her latest collection, Man with Bombe Alaska, which is out.

In addition to Kate’s reading, of course, there will be plenty of room for  the regular open mic, so bring a poem, come and read. Or just listen. It’s up to you.

Poets’ Cafe – South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading – 8pm doors – £5/£4

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Veiled Vale front coverThe Veiled Vale by Mike White (author)

Chill Factor front cover finalChill Factor by Gill Learner (poet)

Amazing_Memories_CoverAmazing Memories of Childhood, etc by Mairi MacInnes (poet)

TRP Boundary Map – the perfect present from Reading

20151224 boundary map dusseldorfThe Mayor of Reading, Cllr Sarah Hacker, took a trip to Düsseldorf, Germany before Christmas.  Reading is twinned with this German city.   And what did she bring the mayor of Düsseldorf as a present to mark the beginning of the celebration of 70 years of friendship…..why Two Rivers Presses own Boundary Map!

Hand lettered and illustrated, this map shows the old Reading boundary (<1887) with an account of the custom of beating the bounds and dozens of fascinating snippets of history and folklore relating to various places on the map.

At £10 you cannot find a more interesting map of Reading to hang on the wall (frame not included!).


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15 December 2015: Camden and Lumen Poetry reading

Three Two Rivers Press Poets, introduced by Peter Robinson, will read at the Camden and Lumen Poetry reading, on Tuesday, 15 December, 2015:

David Attwooll, The Sound Ladder (2015)

Kate Behrens, Man with Bombe Alaska (2016)

David Cooke, A Murmuration (2015)

Venue:   88 Tavistock Place WC1H 9RT

When:     7.00p.m.(doors open 6.30)

For more information visit Camden and Lumen Poetry London Poetry Project Supporting the Cold Weather Shelters

Sound_Ladder_Cover_finalcookeMan with Bombe Alaska front cover

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Before_And_After_Cover_13_11Edith Morley Before and After: Reminiscences of a Working Life by Barbara Morris (author) Edith Morley (author)

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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25 November 2015: Launch of poetry collection, “Hands and Wings” for Freedom from Torture

This year Freedom from Torture celebrates 30 years of being the only UK based human rights organisation dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of torture survivors. The anthology, Hands and Wings  is the creation of the Oxford Freedom from Torture supporters’ group, who have promoted the organisation since 2001.

Hands-Wings-A5-213x300Philip Pullman CBE, author of His Dark Materials, will launch a new anthology with poems by over 50 contemporary and award-winning poets, in aid of the charity Freedom from Torture. Pullman, who has also written a foreword to the book, will launch Hands and Wings’ on Wednesday 25th November 2015 at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford, from 12- 2.00pm.

Contributing poets include Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke, T.S.Eliot Prize winner Philip Gross and winner of the OxfordWeidenfeld Translation Prize Susan Wicks. Oxford based poet Dorothy Yamamoto has edited the anthology, which will also include new poems by Two Rivers Press poets, including Susan Utting and Claire Dyer!

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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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Review: A Murmuration by David Cooke reviewed in London Grip

cookeA lovely review of A Murmuration in London Grip. It is very positive and gets to the heart of what the poet is thinking.

Read the review.

Buy the collection.




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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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Advice to would-be authors from Claire Dyer

claire-dyer-home-page-bw31Claire Dyer, author of ‘The Moment’ and ‘The Perfect Affair’, and the poetry collection Eleven Rooms,  has taken up a teaching post at Bracknell & Wokingham College giving students her knowledge and experience of the creative writing industry.

Having an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London, two novels, poems published in anthologies, magazines and poetry journals, a collection of poetry published by Two Rivers Press and another collection on the way – Claire has plenty of insider knowledge to pass on.   Read her advice: Don’t keep it to yourself. Published author shares her knowledge.

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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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