Reviews

Reviews for 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 BarkerEd. 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


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


The Independent 30.11.2010

Caledonia and short stories by Elspeth Barker:

'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


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

Reviews for Ronald Blythe

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


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 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...'

DJ Taylor

Reviews for Ian Collins

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)

Reviews for Caroline Davison

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

Reviews for Peter Tolhurst

Eastern Daily Press 02.06.2018

This Hollow Land: Aspects of Norfolk Folklore by Peter Tolhurst:

'...like every other title which Peter has produced in his acclaimed imprint over the years, this blends fascinating and in-depth research with engaging and readable prose.There have been books about Norfolk folklore over the years (though not as many as you might think) but there’s been nothing quite like this. For a start, there’s its ‘heft’ - 286 large-format pages, in a similar style to his award-winning Norfolk Parish Treasures trilogy. Then there’s the sheer breadth - from those devil dogs to witches, sacred springs to magic stones, love divination to fairy stories, restless spirits to folksongs... Peter is interested in anything and everything which reflects local traditions.'

Trevor Heaton


Norfolk Parish Treasures: North & West Norfolk by Peter Tolhurst:

'This is a humdinger of a book; a glorious gala of parish treasures to be revelled in and relished for their zinging originality. Having known and loved the area for over fifty years ... imagine the stupefying delight of finding ... a wealth of entirely fresh discoveries to be made in Norfolk ... so sympathetically and idiosyncratically chosen and written about by Peter Tolhurst. Such charmful details are the very essence of this book, with its rare delvings into Norfolk’s historic and architectural lore ... such sights make you cry out loud with pleasure. When in Norfolk I can imagine no more enlivening and enlightening companion to have by my side than this magical book.

Lucinda Lambton 2014


Norfolk Parish Treasures: Mid Norfolk and the Broads by Peter Tolhurst:

'Full of passion and wonder, Norfolk Parish Treasures takes us on a unique tour of our county's treasures – not just memorable history and architecture but wildlife, culture and literary associations too. This lovely series makes me want to rush out to Colkirk or Cockthorpe or Warham or Walpole St Peter and many other fascinating villages I've never visited before. Peter Tolhurst has written a monumental but also accessible tribute to the wealth of stories, poetry and joy to be found in the small details of our overlooked parishes.'

Patrick Barkham 2014


Eastern Daily Press 19.10.2014

Norfolk Parish Treasures: North & West Norfolk by Peter Tolhurst:

'How Peter is proving that every Norfolk village is a small wonder'' It’s a 310-page tour-de-force, a satisfyingly weighty tome which manages the difficult trick of being lively, readable and authoritative at the same time...This first volume will surely be one of the big sellers of the autumn (and winter, spring and summer too come to that) and a wonderful addition to Norfolk’s rich literary heritage.'

Trevor Heaton

Reviews for Sylvia Townsend Warner

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


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