Poem Of The Week: Pevsner's Staffordshire By Charles Penty

Pevsner’s Staffordshire A bespoke-made Gladstone bag still holds items stowed for two decades or more: linen jacket, lido ticket, an annotated edition of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, armbands to shore up your shirt sleeves.

Meeting A Theakston Old Peculier Crime Author: Jane Casey

What a faux pas, but at least Jane Casey has a sense of fun. As I settle to start the interview, I find myself struggling with a frog in my throat, and all I manage to say is, "Your husband is a criminal." After a seemingly long pause, I swiftly added the word 'lawyer'.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2024 Looks To The Future

Harrogate International Festivals has revealed the full programme for this year’s 21st Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, a celebration of crime fiction and thriller writing, at a special reception at Hachette in London last night.

Winners Of 2024 CrimeFest Awards Announced

CrimeFest, one of Europe’s crime fiction conventions, has announced the winners of its annual awards. Now in their 16th year, the awards, which honour the best crime books released in the UK last year, were announced at a gala dinner event during CrimeFest in Bristol [Saturday 11 May.

Poem Of The Week: Widow By Carrie Etter

Widow The plateau she stands on extends flat in all directions, prairie without a crop. When she looks, he is too plainly not there. The sky, whatever the weather, renders absence vast, apparently limitless. This is a fallow field- who knows what it can bear? Carrie Etter’s fine poem, like so many in her new collection, carries an indelible photographic quality.

All Of Us Together: The Last Devil To Die By Richard Osman

Wow! That sums it up. Really, I loved this novel but I know you will want more than that, and if you are a regular reader, you will know that I don’t use one word when five hundred will do. Although the plot is a standalone, it does help to have read the other three novels in the series, preferably in order, to appreciate how the friendships and relationships have developed.

Zones Of Discomfort: Enlarging The Tent By Jonathan Doering and Nim Njuguna

If one of the remits of university applied philosophy departments is to promote the betterment of understanding between opposing vested interests, or, to confer the possibility of an ethical dialogue upon a complacent and unexamined landscape, then Enlarging the Tent, a book about constructive reconciliation and hope, gently nudges its audience towards accord by means of listening.

Poem Of The Week: Great Expectations By Doreen Gurrey

Great Expectations I’m reading it again, struck this time by the names – Pip, a chirrup of a boy, Magwitch mad with hate, and there, between the pages where Pip steals the pie then ferrets a file down his trousers, there’s a note from you to my brother, Tea in oven, Tomo called round, bus back at 6.

The God Business: Gaslight By Femi Kayode

Whatever the organisation, there is always the possibility of malpractice, of fraud, of people taking the helm who are not as innocent as they should be, and that goes for religious groups as much as anything else.

Longlist For Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year 2024 Revealed

Harrogate International Festivals announced today the 18 titles longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2024, the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime fiction award now in its twentieth year.

Poem Of The Week: Off Duty By Katie Donovan

Off Duty Is my face just right, am I looking as a widow should? I pass the funeral parlour where four weeks ago the ceremony unfurled. Now I’m laughing with the children. The director of the solemn place is lolling out front, sucking on a cigarette.

Shortlist Announced For 2024 CrimeFest Awards

CrimeFest, a European crime writing convention, has announced the shortlists for its annual awards. The awards began 16 years ago when CrimeFest launched in 2008; they honour the best crime books released in the UK in the last year, and feature the hotly-contended Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award which offers a £1,000 cash prize.

Poem Of The Week: Cargoes By John Masefield (1878-1967)

Cargoes Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir, Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine, With a cargo of ivory, And apes and peacocks, Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine. Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus, Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores, With a cargo of diamonds, Emeralds, amethysts, Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Spying Is Lying: The Traitor By Ava Glass

It makes a change to enter the world of spies and spying; fast action, drama and tension with a good old fashioned Russian enemy who needs to be stopped when all efforts to thwart him are, in turn, thwarted by a traitor, at the very heart of British Intelligence.

Blown Apart By The Sun: Strike By Sarah Wimbush

Sarah Wimbush’s alignment with the miners, and their cause, is never less than partisan. In her latest collection of themed poems, as in her wider poetic oeuvre, that sense of affiliation is front and centre, indissolubly bound up with the connective tissue of her South Yorkshire roots.

Bestseller Peter James Joins Special Guest Line Up At The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Harrogate International Festivals has announced Peter James as the final Special Guest for the 2024 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the "world’s largest and most prestigious celebration of crime fiction" taking place 18-21 July.

The Value Of Luck: In Conversation With Martin Venning

It was quite a defining moment for Martin Venning. The West Yorkshire author is sitting down to discuss his third novel The Value of Luck and tells me he started writing to stop him getting bored after a serious accident that left him spending six months in hospital.

Poem Of The Week: Home Thoughts, From Abroad By Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Home Thoughts, from Abroad Oh, to be in England Now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England—now! And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!

Review: Stoking The Fire - Oluwale Now

The sheer colour and vitality of Leeds’ annual West Indian Carnival, and of the exponents of cultural identity in all of its dynamism, endorses the patchwork pageant of integration that mostly seems to work in despite.

Flawed Characters:The Party House By Lin Anderson

I had an early holiday, actually - I was house and dog-sitting for friends and picked up two books to put in the suitcase; well, the weather forecast was bleak. Yet again, coincidence hit the spot.

The Miracle Behind The Legend

Group Editor Andrew Palmer delves into The Callas Imprint: A Centennial Biography a new biography of probably one of the most misunderstood opera stars of her day, the incomparable soprano Maria Callas, whose life has been so vividly captured by music critic Sophia Lambton with a cornucopia of never-published personal correspondence. Who was Maria Callas?

Poem Of The Week: Anthem By Kirun Kapur

Anthem Love begins in a country Where oranges weep sweetness And men piss in the street. Your hands are forever binding Black strands in a plait. Your mother’s Childhood friend has steeped Your skin in coconut oil, tucked Her daughter beside you – the night Is a womb, live with twins. Heat’s body presses every body.

Poem Of The Week: Owl By George Macbeth (1932-1992)

Owl Is my favourite. Who flies like a nothing through the night, who-whoing. Is a feather duster in leafy corners ring-a-rosy-ing boles of mice. Twice you hear him call. Who is he looking for? You hear him hoovering over the floor of the wood. O would you be gold rings in the driving skull if you could? Hooded and vulnerable by the winter suns owl looks.

An Extraordinary Life: Three Things About Elsie By Joanna Cannon

But Ronnie Butler is dead! Florence Claybourne lives in an assisted-living home for the elderly and Florence, or Flo to her friends, has fallen. The hours tick by as she lies alone in her flat and thinks about events both in the distant past and the recent. Florence is ‘on probation’.

Poem Of The Week: An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump By Ali Lewis

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump Is a recreation, revised again by Wright, with the lark replaced by a grey cockatiel, witnesses repainted with faces of patrons, and the philosopher borrowed from a study by Frye, so the dim observers, who weren’t there, can’t have seen it open one moonlit wing as the pressure fell as if the last thing it felt was it felt like flying. Ali…

Defying Gravity: Variety Turns By Christopher Arksey

The title of Christopher Arksey’s new pamphlet for Broken Sleep Books gently ironises the elegiac nature of his poems. A backward glance to a life well-lived, Variety Turns extrapolates alternative meanings from the suggestion of a theatrical playbill to describe, instead, the many faces of his subject, his mother, who died in 2016.

What A Tangled Web: Wartime For The Chocolate Girls By Annie Murray

I am a self-professed chocolate and cream queen. Chocolate in all its forms never disappoints but for me, king of the crop has always been Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, with Fruit and Nut as its Consort. That Edward Cadbury’s aim, as articulated in 1953, was to make the Cadbury village of Bourneville ‘a happy place’, comes as no surprise.

Poems And Pressed Flowers: The Botanist By M. W. Craven

I know my faults. I can be greedy. I would rather have no chocolate at all than limit myself to just one square from the bar; give me a good book and I like nothing better than to read at every possible moment, getting acquainted with the characters and immersing myself in the action.

Poem Of The Week: Rolling News Blues By John Cooper Clarke

Rolling News Blues BBC – the daily Guardian - you choose This misery soup is on a loop Rolling news blues There’s nice people doing nice things Most of the time I can’t prove it but you gotta believe me You wouldn’t hear it on the public dime BBC – the daily Guardian - you choose Deep concern could only earn you the Rolling news blues There’s never been a better…

The Aestheticised Obscene: Dirty Books By Barry Reay & Nina Attwood

Barry Reay and Nina Attwood’s compelling enquiry into the murky publishing world of the early to mid-twentieth century uncovers several complex truths regarding motive and reward.