Flambard Press

A blog from an independent publisher in North East England

Enter the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition

Established in 1978, the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious poetry contests. The judges this year are Vicki Feaver, W.N. Herbert and Nick Laird. Winners include both established and emerging poets, and for many the prize has proved an important career milestone. The prizes are: £5,000 for the overall winner, £2,000 for the second, £1,000 for the third, with seven commendations of £100. The deadline is 31 October. Enter online or download an entry form at http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/npc/


Rowena Macdonald Shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize

Smoked Meat, Rowena Madonald’s collection of Montreal-based short fiction, has made the shortlist of five titles for this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Huge congratulations to Rowena, who now has a award ceremony to look forward to in early July. Good luck to her. It’s a very strong list, which alongside Rowena includes books by A.J Ashworth, Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall and Zoe Lambert. If you have a chance, read them all.

Smoked Meat is available here and as an e-book here.

Strange Horses Reviewed

Olivia Byard’s Strange Horses is extensively reviewed by Rebecca Farivar in the Spring 2012 Poetry Salzburg Review.

‘Byard links together moments in sequences of poems that together create the impression of a complete event or concept.  … Her stand-alone poems share the sequences’s effect of telling a large story through a singular moment. . . . Byard’s poems feel true and resist the pitfalls of pretentiousness.’

For the full review and other articles, as well as new poetry and translations, do order a copy of the Poetry Salzburg Review. It’s an excellent publication created by people devoted to poetry.

A must-read poem by Olivia, ‘Sisyphus’, is also included in the Review. Strange Horses is available here.

The Selected Poems of John Fowles – Book Launch

Photograph of John Fowles by Carolyn Djanogly

‘I never pick up a book of poems without thinking that it will have one advantage over most novels: I shall know the writer better at the end of it.’ John Fowles
Join us for the launch of the Selected Poems of John Fowles on Saturday, 26 May at 6 p.m. at Primrose Hill Community Library, Sharpleshall Street, London NW1 8YL.
The book’s editor, the poet and novelist Adam Thorpe, will read from and discuss this selection of Fowles’s poetry, put together from an extensive collection of material dating from the 1950s and created throughout Fowles’s lifetime.
Although John Fowles’s novels such as The Magus and The French Lieutenant’s Woman are considered classics of 20th Century fiction, his poetry has not been widely published before. Selected Poems (Flambard) contains the best of Fowles’s poetry, revealing the variety and depth of this less well known side of his talent and his great skill as a poet.
John Fowles was a long-time resident in Regent’s Park Road, as well as in Lyme Regis, and we are delighted that his poems will be launched at the new Community Library.
Refreshments will be served and books will be on sale. Free entry.
Please email editor@flambardpress.co.uk if you intend to come along.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize is the only UK prize for collections of short fiction and is administered by only a couple of very dedicated people. The prize plays a vital part in bringing much needed attention to this cherished and neglected genre, greatly loved by so many readers. This year’s longlist showcases a host of great books including two of ours: Courttia Newland’s A Book of Blues and Rowena Macdonald’s Smoked Meat. Reviews of all the longlisted titles are appearing on Carys Bray’s blog here – as she reads them. Have a look and discover how much exciting contemporary short fiction is out there. The shortlist will be announced in May and the prize awarded at the start of July.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Barbados from 15–20 May, you can catch Courttia Newland at the Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair.

As well as being on the Edge Hill list, Rowena Macdonald’s Smoked Meat is also featured on the huge longlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, alongside writers from all across the world. It’s an incredible range of books and really worth exploring.

You can download both these books from here and here, and find them in print form too of course.

Rebecca Goss and Alicia Stubbersfield this Wednesday

Dead Good Poets Society Guest Night

Wednesday 18th April 2012: 7.30 p.m. to  10 p.m.

The Garden Café, Blackburne House, Hope Street, Liverpool

 £3/£2 pay on the door


Alicia Stubbersfield has published three collections of poetry & her fourth, The Yellow Table, is forthcoming from Pindrop Press in 2012. As well as many other places she has run workshops for, &  read at, The Southbank Centre, & Ledbury & Aldeburgh Poetry Festivals. She frequently tutors courses for The Arvon Foundation, The Taliesin Trust at Ty Newydd & The Poetry School, & is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University.

“These sparkling poems ring true in a shrewd, honest, lyrical voice unfurling the colours of love.”  – Robert Hamburger


“Her world is witty, moving, affectionate and gaudy yet it is a place where the brilliance of the colours is haunted by what lies in the shadows.” – Maura Dooley

Rebecca Goss began writing poetry as a teenager & was a Special Award winner in the 1991 WH Smith Young Writer’s Competition, judged by Ted Hughes.  Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines & anthologies including Stand, Ambit & Magma.  The Anatomy of Structures, her first full length collection, was published by Flambard Press in 2010.  She was Highly Commended in The Forward Prize 2010 & has success in other competitions including The Bridport Prize, Mirehouse/ways with words & the Torriano Poetry Competition.  She was awarded an Authors’ Foundation Grant from The Society of Authors in 2011, to assist with the completion of her next collection.

“What is remarkable about her poems is that they make the most intimate experiences of love and death both shocking and simple… It is a fine first book” – Jon Glover, Stand, Volume 10 (2), 2011

“This is Rebecca Goss’ first full collection, and it’s a startlingly good beginning. For her the poem’s the thing. When she chooses to write about imaginary situations, she still achieves the tang of truth. This is good, strong, efficient writing, accurate, economical, clear-sighted, from a woman who has her finger on the pulse of life.”  – R.V. Bailey, Envoi, 157, October 2010

Andrew Forster and Gladys Mary Coles in Liverpool

Just a reminder that tonight poet and novelist Gladys Mary Coles (The Echoing GreenSong of the Butcher Bird, Clay) and poet Andrew Forster (Fear of Thunder, Territory) will be reading at Liverpool Poetry Cafe in the Bluecoat Centre, Liverpool. The event is 7.30–9.30 pm, and tickets are  £4 (£2 concessions), from the Bluecoat Box Office, 0151 702 5324.

Here’s Andrew reading at Poets and Players:

Smoked Meat longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award

Congratulations to Rowena Macdonald whose debut short story collection, Smoked Meat, has been longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The award is in honour of the great Cork writer and is the single biggest prize for short story collections in the world.

The  Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize is worth €25,000 to the winning author of a collection of short stories published for the first time, in English anywhere in the world, between July 2011 and June 2012 . . .It is hoped the Award, for a complete collection of previously unpublished stories in a book collection, will play a significant role in establishing parity of esteem for the short story collection alongside the novel.

The shortlist will be announced in June. You can download Smoked Meat straight to your e-reader from here, buy a hard copy from Inpress or track the book down in your nearest independent bookshop.

Coming this Summer: The Selected Poems of John Fowles

Photography: 'Cobb Storm' by Peter Wiles

I have always found the writing of poetry, which I began before I attempted prose, an enormous relief from the constant play-acting of fiction. I never pick up a book of poems without thinking that it will have one advantage over most novels: I shall know the writer better at the end of it.’ John Fowles
John Fowles (1926–2005) is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and important English novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet readers of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Magus and The Collector may be surprised to know that Fowles wrote poetry before he embarked on his groundbreaking fiction and continued as a poet throughout his life.
Selected Poems, to be published by Flambard in May, contains the best of Fowles’s poetry, revealing the remarkable depth and range of this neglected sphere of his talent. The majority of the poems have never before been published. The selection has been painstakingly edited by the poet and novelist Adam Thorpe who has been granted access to a large collection of material held by the Fowles Estate.
Flambard Press gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of Arts Council England, who have awarded us Grants for the Arts funding to make this project possible.

More coverage for Strange Horses

Writing in the new Mslexia, Chloe Stopa-Hunt describes the poems in Olivia Byard’s Strange Horses as ‘fine-hewn, often funny, sometimes devastating‘ and ‘full of sidelong looks at life‘. For the full review, find a copy of the Mar/Apr/May edition of Mslexia – which is full of exciting and original articles about writing – and have a look at their website here. Below you can watch Olivia reading ‘Eagle-Owl Caged’ and ‘Raydance’ at her launch in Oxford in 2011.