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Books still make thoughtful presents that will last a lifetime and we’ve got some gems here that are sure to be appreciated. Scroll and click to read more about the book and writer…

A Touching Novel…
articles / 27th May 2020

‘A Name Writ in Water’ by Richard Boden is a beautifully written, touching novel, which provides the reader with an un-romanticised picture of the Romantic poet, John Keats’, who is embarked on a final voyage to Italy in search of a cure for his consumption. Based on extensive research, it never falls into the trap of becoming a mere biographical account of listed events and places. Rather, it conducts the reader on an imaginative journey, through the personal experiences of its characters, and into another believable historical time. This is a debut of impressive quality that combines a mastery of style and vocabulary with an impressive insight into human nature. The plot evolves around four main characters all of whom carry with them an emotional baggage from the life they have left behind: Keats, his unconsummated love for Fanny Braun; Joseph Severn, Keats’ companion, the disapproval of his father; the seventeen year old, consumptive, Miss Cotterell, a yearning for a life she will never have; and Mrs Pidgeon, Miss Cotterell’s chaperon, embittered by the loss of a war of her war-damaged husband and reliance on her brother’s demanding charity. Each regards Italy, with varying degrees of optimism, as a possible…

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Neither Here Nor There
news / 27th May 2020

It’s nine weeks now since the coronavirus lockdown began and I feel cut off both geographically and culturally from anywhere. The occasional glimpses of the mud brown Bristol Channel through the trees and the accents of the few people I meet on my daily walk assures me I’m still in Wales. And even though I should have left already for France, I don’t feel as if I’m in any place but marooned in a neither here nor there sort of Neverland. Cardiff is just down the road from the seaside village where I have an apartment, though it might as well be in a post apocalyptic other country. When I was a boy, Cardiff felt more like a large town than a city. It was small minded, conservative and swathed in drab colours, only on International Rugby days did it come alive with noise and excitement, the red and white of scarves and the green of leeks. Now the transformation is total and, as the city climbs skywards, brims with character and energy, and has a friendliness I’ve encountered in no other city in the world. Jill and I only moved back to Wales little over a year ago but…

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Vertical Horizons
new & recommended / 22nd January 2019

In this stunning first collection Jack Alun draws on twenty years of living in a rural area of the Midi, France to go beyond the clichéd and the picturesque and to prise out the raw, timeless and human elements in plain and compelling language. And behind the characters is a landscape that is at once stark, familiar and impersonal that undercuts every human action. In the second part, Vertical Horizons recounts the discovery of the grave of Christian da Silva, the local raconteur, singer, editor, publisher, teacher, poet and bon viveur. In the ambitious imagined dialogue between the dead poet and the living poet it becomes a homage to language, to poetry and to the powerful effect that the past has on our perspectives. BUY NOW

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A Name Writ In Water: Keats’ Last Journey
new & recommended / 14th November 2019

England’s greatest Romantic poet is dying and to ease the passing his doctors have prescribed a stay in Italy. But the journey is perilous and his companions carry their own secrets and sufferings. Richard Boden’s first novel is an extraordinary, poetic, moving and unflinching recreation of Keats’ last few months before his inevitable horrific death from ‘consumption’ in 1821. Based on careful research using contemporary letters and accounts, Keats’ very particular intellect and character are delicately brought to life as he is forced to deal with the meaning of his own life and death on board a ship with three equally lost and lonely companions, each with their own story to tell… BUY NOW

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Balkan Poetry Today 2018
balkan poetry today , red hand poetry / 20th February 2019

This is a ground-breaking and ambitious attempt to collect the best of modern poetry from all over the Balkan region in its broadest sense together and in translation to allow access to a huge variety of extraordinary modern writing for speakers of English. Writers from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Rumania, Moldova, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia have all contributed their work with the help and guidance of Tom Phillips, a writer, poet and translator now residing in Sophia, Bulgaria. This is an amazing and daring venture bringing the very best of modern poetry translated by some of the finest translators across eight or nine languages together into one volume. And this is the second and even more successful version of last year’s outstanding debut. With particular focus on the poetry of Romania and Moldova in this edition there is a feast of unknown and first class writing to be enjoyed by some of the biggest names of Eastern Europe who are hardly known at all in Britain and the English-reading world. BUY NOW

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The Reputation
new & recommended / 20th July 2017

Punched, kicked, spat at and publicly condemned, former golden boy of Iceland’s meteoric financial rise and author of its meltdown, Starkaður Levi, is facing a long prison sentence. In desperation he searches for a way out that leads him to The Firm and a way of saving his reputation…. In this brand new translation of Bjarni Bjarnason’s intelligent, ironic, comic and tragic novel he explores the motivations and weaknesses of the moneymen who brought so much misery to so many. And just how far they will go to save their reputations. Bjarni Bjarnason is a prolific prize-winning author with translations of his work in Arabic, Faeroese, German and English. And with The Reputation, (Mannorð) he established himself right at the forefront of modern Icelandic literature with its controversial portrait of a well-known Icelandic millionaire that has become a standard text for post-crash Icelandic studies. BUY NOW

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Lardland
new & recommended / 10th February 2021

Novel, fiction part historical and part contemporary telling the story of Burgerman and the Circle, a place that lives outside the system. Out there, in Lardland, the world is on a descent into violence, rage, inequality and broken people. The Circle is everything Lardland isn’t. It’s about community, integrity, cooperation, safety, nature, creativity, a move away from money-driven things and status. Chapter 1 introduces us to Burgerman and his giving advice, Chapter 2 brings in Milton who is ultimately part of the Circle’s downfall but he has a terrible tale to tell of how he, too, has fallen off the edge and then the story begins to unfold of how the Circle is the target of an unholy partnership of gangster-capitalists and people with the power and means to destroy and take whatever they want. Burgerman and his group work to expose the identities of these people – millionaires with endless companies not paying tax, bent coppers, local gangsters running dodgy businesses and even local aristocracy looking for ways of making lots of money. Amongst all this we glimpse life as it is lived in the Circle and the stories of the people who have come to live there and…

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The English Disease
red hand poetry / 7th July 2016

For every father, poems that reveal the gut-wrenching love and fears and insights at producing something similar to themselves. For every son, portraits of inadequacy, unlovedness and the strange fun of observing parents. For every family being part of a team not like any other team…all coloured by Richard Boden’s wry, challenging and expert scalpel The English Disease digs deep into the DNA of being a quietly English Dad and poet. And more than that – the Englishness of all that past, all that literature and all those vivid ghosts – Byron, Shakespeare, Malovolio, the French – that wander into our particular ordinariness A startling, warm and witty first collection. Review ‘Whether he’s writing about the birth of his son, Byron in Greece or, as in the series of inter-related poems in the second half of the book, Richard Boden’s poetry explores its subjects and occasions with both imaginative flair and wry humour. An acute eye for detail and a felicity of diction combine in poems which offer a fresh and insightful take on the everyday business of living in an England whose default setting often seems to be little better than ‘underwhelming’. This and the frequent moments of bathos…

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Balkan Poetry Today 2017

Featuring the work of more than 30 poets from across SE Europe, Balkan Poetry Today 2017 offers insight into the rich and diverse poetries of a region that has only sporadically emerged onto the literary radar in the English-speaking world. Established writers sit alongside those from the latest generation to add their voices both to the region’s poetic traditions and world poetry in general. This volume also includes an excellent section devoted to contemporary poetry from Bulgaria, an introduction to contemporary poetry from Macedonia and an essay looking at other recent translations of poetry from SE Europe. Balkan Poetry Today is edited by Tom Phillips, a poet, playwright and translator from Bristol in the UK who has worked closely with writers and artists across SE Europe for much of the last decade and is a published poet in Bulgarian. BUY NOW

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Turkish Poetry Today 2017
red hand poetry , turkish poetry today / 18th January 2018

This is the fifth volume in the Turkish Poetry Today series and presents once again an exciting array of the very best from Turkey’s rich poetic culture and heritage. “Trying as always to break new ground, we invite you in this issue to accompany us on a journey through Turkish poetry that will include many voices never before heard in English translation…ˮ from The Editors’ Introduction Presented here in this edition’s Featured Poet section is Gülten Akɪn, whose intellect and writing have made her “the greatest living Turkish poet” according to a majority of Turkey’s leading poets, writers and critics. Selections from the work of nearly twenty other Turkish poets in original translations alongside biographical notes make this a superb introduction for readers new to Turkish poetry or a further treasure chest for those who have come to appreciate how rich a vein of poetry there is to explore. “Turkish Poetry Today brings us the unique flow, imagery and timbre of Turkish poetry, with translations that enable the works to sing for us in English. Truly memorable reading.ˮ Dr. Robyn Rowland, poet BUY NOW

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The Teesdale Angler
sporting classics / 31st October 2016

The Teesdale Angler was first published in 1858 and intended by its author ‘as a help and guide to Trout fishers generally, especially those of Yorkshire, Durham, Westmoreland, and Cumberland.’ Lakeland’s perceptive advice and richly observed insights – his artificial fly patterns and methods for dressing them – have earned this little book a lasting place in the library of fly-fishing classics. from The Teesdale Angler: ADVICE TO BEGINNERS. Angling is such a popular recreation that professors of the gentle craft are to be found amongst all classes and conditions of the Genus homo. The disciples of glorious old Izaack – is not their name Legion? In early youth, fascinated with the capture of the tiny Minnow or glittering Gudgeon, the youthful Tyro is known in after years as the expert Salmon and Trout fisher. To become a really expert angler, requires a good deal of energy, perseverance, and activity, accompanied by a suitable amount of patience and ingenuity. In the fourth chapter of Waverly are the following observations, “that of all diversions which ingenuity ever devised for the relief of idleness, fishing is the worst qualified to amuse a man, who is at once indolent and impatient, such men’s…

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Contemporary Turkish Womens Poetry
red hand poetry / 31st October 2016

In recent decades Turkish women have risen to extraordinary prominence in a literary culture once dominated by men. Contemporary Turkish Women Poets is the first comprehensive survey of these startling, vibrant developments. In his landmark anthology, poet-translator George Messo gathers twenty-two of Turkey’s leading, award-winning poets, writing at the very height of their creative powers. Collectively, they represent more than half a century of innovation and change, embodying one of the most sustained and compelling re-visionings of contemporary poetry for many years. With an introduction by the translator-scholar Saliha Paker, Contemporary Turkish Women Poets offers a uniquely challenging and irresistible encounter with some of the most dynamic poets writing today. From Saliha Paker’s Introduction: In Sennur Sezer’s ‘documentary narrative’ Mihrî Hatun, a Turkish Sappho the author reconstructs the life and times of Mihrî (c.1460- 1506), an Ottoman woman who achieved unusual recognition as a poet in the late fifteenth century, but who was only brought to the modern reader’s attention within the last few decades. In The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society (2005) Walter Andrews and Mehmet Kalpaklı too discuss Mihrî, focusing on ‘the problem that the woman poet presents…

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