News & Reviews

News & Events

  • The By-Mistake Guide to Norfolk: Demon Dogs, Dragons & Ducks by Caroline Davison has been short listed for this year's EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards in the Travel & Guide Books category. The winner will be announced at the prize-giving ceremony at Norwich’s Assembly House on November 15th 2012. The Awards are supported by the Writers' Centre Norwich.
  • Book launch: Dog Days by Elspeth Barker will be launched in Norwich at The Book Hive on Thursday October 11th 2012 at 6.30pm; and in Holt at the Holt Bookshop on Friday Oct 26th 2012 at 6.30pm. Elspeth will read from this new collection of her witty essays and incisive reviews. 
                                                             Elspeth Barker

  • Book launch: The By-Mistake Guide to Norfolk: Demon Dogs, Dragons & Ducks6.30pm Thursday May 31st 2012 at The Book Hive Norwich 
    Book signing:
    11.00am - 2.00pm Saturday June 2nd 2012 Blue Jacket Workshop Morston
    Things people have said:
    'It's a really fun read, as well as a useful (and sometimes hilarious) guide to the riches Norfolk has to offer - every back seat should have one!' David Bedford Author of The Team series 
    'I laughed out loud!' Sian Hogarth, Learning Officer, Swaffham Museum
    'Pevsner for kids.' Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Water Marks: Art in East Anglia by Ian Collins won the Art & Photography category at the East Anglian Book Awards on November 3rd 2011. The Awards celebrate the best new books with subject matter strongly connected to Norfolk, Suffolk and Fenland.  
  • At Helpston: Meetings with John Clare by Ronald Blythe was launched at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the John Clare Society at Helpston on July 9th 2011. Ronald Blythe has been president of the society since the beginning, and At Helpston brings together many of the essays he has written for the annual festival – including the talk he gave on Saturday.

 
  • Aftermath by Ronald Blythe has been shortlisted for the 2011 New Angle Prize. The shortlist for the 2011 New Angle Prize for Literature was announced on March 28th. Mark Cocker, Nicci Gerrard and Gill Lowe selected six books from which the £2,000 winner and £500 runner up will be chosen.This biennial award is for a recently published work 'of literary merit associated with or inspired by East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk or North Essex)'. A shortlist showcase, featuring readings and conversation with shortlisted authors, will take place on Tuesday 4th July as part of the Ipswich Arts Festival. For more information about the competition and all events contact library@ipswichinstitute.org.uk

 

  • Aftermath by Ronald Blythe & Water Marks by Ian Collins have both been long-listed for the 2011 New Angle Prize for Literature. The judges are Mark Cocker, Nicci Gerrard and Gill Lowe, and their short-list will be announced on Monday 28th March. A Readers Choice competition is being organised through the East Anglian Times.

                                                                                Ian Collins

 

  • At Helpston: Meetings with John Clare, the next Black Dog Books publication, will be launched at the John Clare Society Festival in July 2011: 'The annual John Clare Festival is a joyous celebration of the life and work of the 19th century poet, held in Helpston, the village where he was born. Entry is free to all, non-members are not only welcome but encouraged to come along and enjoy a fantastic weekend of poetry, music, children’s workshops, lunches and teas in the village hall and the opportunity to visit the cottage where John Clare was born. 2011 is the 30th Anniversary of the John Clare Society and there are many special events planned.' www.johnclare.org.uk
                                       John Clare1820
 
 
  • Ronald Blythe appeared on 'Midweek' with Libby Purves (BBC Radio 4) on November 3rd 2010 to talk about Aftermath. The recording is available as a podcast: Midweek podcast
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                      Reviews

                      • Literary Review December 2012/January 2013
                        With the Hunted: Selected Writings by Sylvia Townsend Warner
                        Ed. Peter Tolhurst
                        'Scattered through essays on writers, weeds and Gilbert White's tortoise, on landscapes and the 'Uses of Poetry', are sharp, delicate perceptions: "At the sight of disease we grow cold hearted with fear"; "Every writer should own a dog"; "A flow of conversation and an unhelpful nature: these are my requirements...from the good guest."...Besides Warner's own Elysian prose, which includes a very brief blueprint on how to write fiction, ignoring the need to be convincing and natural, her sheer delight in the quotidian and the numinous quite overwhelms. And the collection begins with a truly helpful introduction. While every writer should own a dog, every reader should own this book.'
                        Elspeth Barker

                      • The Independent 30.10.2012
                        Dog Days: Selected Writings by Elspeth Barker
                        Ed. Peter Tolhurst
                        'Barker's speciality, whether in criticising literary lives or East Anglian landscape painting, is unobtrusive deflation. Naturally, most of her observations on poets and poetry are aerated by her 30 years' experience of watching one particular poet at work and play. These are remarkably un-self-pitying, and consistently acute.'
                        DJ Taylor
                      • Eastern Daily Press 6.10.2012
                        Dog Days: Selected Writings by Elspeth Barker
                        Ed. Peter Tolhurst
                        'Elspeth Barker writes a glorious, allusive, and Latinate prose...The book is an unalloyed pleasure and we must be grateful to Black Dog Books for drawing these widely scattered pieces together...'
                        RM Bond-Webster

                      • TLS 5.10.2012
                        With the Hunted: Selected Writings by Sylvia Townsend Warner
                        Ed. Peter Tolhurst

                        'Err-and-Stray'
                        'Tolhurst's dazzling selection includes reviews, essays, introductions, autobiographical fragments, interviews, extracts...the love in his labour is evident, and all Warner fans will be grateful for it. This is a wonderful book.'
                        Claire Harman

                      • North Norfolk Living Early Summer 2012
                        The By Mistake Guide to Norfolk by Caroline Davison 
                        'A Norfolk Tale of a Norfolk Trail'
                        'Written from the point of view of ten year old boy, Jim, it is a delightful diary....With his Mum, Dad, sisters and Gran in tow, his hilarious adventures are captured in his own words accompanied by some very funny hand drawn sketches that will make you laugh out loud.'
                      • Norfolk Magazine July 2012
                        The By Mistake Guide to Norfolk by Caroline Davison
                        'Mistaken meanderings'
                        '...seen through the eyes of 10-year-old Jim the county has never seemed so exciting. The By-Mistake Guide to Norfolk is a travel book with a difference, and while it might be aimed at 8-12 year-olds, parents will love it just as much as their kids....Best of all for mum and dad, it's a clever way of getting children excited about exploring outdoors.'

                      • Eastern Daily Press 16.06.2012
                        The By Mistake Guide to Norfolk by Caroline Davison 
                        Norfolk through the eyes of a child
                        'There are travel guides to Norfolk and there are children's guides to Norfolk - now there's a whole new take on the idea courtesy of 10-year-old 'Jim' and his hilarious month-by-month account of a year of family outings...And it's not hard to see how this would appeal to younger readers; they'll be hooked by the humour while learning more about the county - even the adults will, I suspect, pick up a thing or two they didn't know.'
                        Simon Proctor
                      • Church Times 25.11.2011
                      • At Helpston: Meetings with John Clare by Ronald Blyth
                        'John Clare’s poetry emerged from ambiguity, and the achievement of Ronald Blythe’s fluent and magnetic investigations is to expose the glory and the cost for a labourer’s son awarded alienating genius. Critic, detective, prose-poet, and “rural intellectual”, Blythe first delivered many of these essays as the founding president of the John Clare Society…This book is both a gracious tribute and an urgent manifesto.'
                        Martyn Halsall
                      • Eastern Daily Press 04.11.2011
                      • Water Marks: Art in East Anglia by Ian Collins
                        'Sumptuously illustrated and beautifully designed, it was a pleasure to read and rewarding to both read in sequence or thumb through on the coffee table. Ultimately, this book introduced me to many artists I did not know and told me more about those I was familiar with. My understanding of art made in the region is much richer for reading it.' Amanda Geitner, head of collections and exhibitions at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (Judge, East Anglian Book Awards)
                         
                         
                      • The Lady 15.03.2011
                      • O Caledonia and short stories by Elspeth Barker
                        '...Elspeth Barker's only novel is an astonishing thing and its passionate, great-souled girl-heroine an unforgettable creation...The nine new stories also in this volume are similarly exceptional...' Stephanie Cross
                         
                         
                      • TLS 11.03.2011
                      • Aftermath: Selected Writings 1960 - 2010 by Ronald Blythe
                        'Thought-runs'
                        ...a marvellously varied, instructive and entertaining miscellany...Aftermath bears witness to the breadth and depth of Blythe's involvement with landscape, life and literature far beyond the Stour Valley.' Peter Parker
                         
                         
                      • Country Life 26.01.2011
                      • Aftermath: Selected Writings 1960 - 2010 by Ronald Blythe
                        'Andrew McNeillie on the man who captures the real England'
                        '...No writer I know alive today speaks of rural England (and of English culture more broadly) with such subtlety and such a fine sense of what it is to dwell in one's birthplace and yet roam abroad beyond local things. The eclectic range of his reviewing is breathtaking.
                        But Mr Blythe has never had an eye to the market. What would be a recipe for disaster in farming is the salvation of true writing. Practitioners of what's sometimes called the 'new' nature writing would do well to heed his example. It requires a lifetime and that is what one finds in these pages. This is a wonderful book.' Andrew McNeillie
                         
                         
                      • The Independent 30.11.2010
                      • O Caledonia and short stories by Elspeth Barker
                        'Magical tale from the dark side'
                        'Elspeth Barker's is a wholly original literary voice. O Caledonia, first published 20 years ago, reads as freshly now as then. Steeped in classical allusions, rich in Scottish – and natural – history, fantastical in its highly wrought characters, this coming-of-age-novella is as passionately intense as it is wittily acerbic...We know that little bodes well in this, but we can't wait to find out more, and greet the flick of the tale's tail (that final sentence) with a grimace of satisfaction. The reader feels unalloyed joy, and occasional winces, on every page.' Amanda Hopkinson
                         
                         
                      • The Independent 19.11.2010
                        Aftermath: Selected Writings 1960 - 2010 by Ronald Blythe
                        'A bumper harvest from the rural radical'
                        '...Literary good manners never disguise a basic radicalism...beautifully produced and neatly assembled by its publisher...' D J Taylor 
                      •  
                      • Financial Times 16.10.2010 O Caledonia and short stories by Elspeth Barker
                        'A Highland homecoming: Modern Scottish fiction is not all about urban working-class grit.'
                        '...This is an extraordinary novel;original, beautiful yet tough...Barker's love of the classics, her focus on mothers and daughters and her remarkable evocation of landscape should mark her out as one of Scotlands principal writers...' Lesley McDowell
                       
                               
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