Happy Birthday to the fantastic Salena Godden!! Springfield Road is a journey into childhood in the late 1970s, a time of halfpenny sweets, fish n chips in newspaper, scrumping apples and foraging for conkers. Set in the dawn of Thatcher’s Britain, it’s a salute to every curly-top, scabby knee’d, mixed-up, half-crazy kid with NHS glasses, free school dinners & hand-me- downs, as told by the daughter of an Irish jazz musician and a Jamaican go-go dancer. It’s about discovering that life is unfair, that there are bullies out there, and that parents die; yet it is the very antithesis of a misery memoir.

It’s a vivid, uplifting tale that seeks out the humour, colour and tenderness in the world, and when you read … More

Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged & dispossessed. Common People is a collection of essays, poems & memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth & texture of working-class life, the joy & sorrow, the solidarity & the differences, the everyday wisdom & poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser. Here, Kit de Waal brings together 33 established & emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud & clear as they reclaim & redefine what it means to be working class.

Features original pieces from Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, … More

Available now in paperback, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art & his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 80s when punks & Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness & the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations & on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, & to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the … More

Born OTD in 1939, Irish poet, playwright and translator, Seamus Heaney. The poems in Seamus Heaney’s collection The Spirit Level keep discovering the possibilities of ‘a new beginning’ in all kinds of subjects and circumstances. What is at stake, in poem after poem, is the chance of buoyancy and balance, physical, spiritual and political. Private memories, classical scenes, humble domestic objects – a whitewash brush, a sofa, a swing – are endowed with talismanic significance, while friends and relatives are invoked for their promise and steadfastness.

Throughout the collection, Heaney addresses his concerns, which inevitably include the political situation in his native Northern Ireland, in a … More

Curated by poet Helen Calcutt, the anthology features a host of male and female voices sharing their experiences of suicide, mental health, or grief – from those who have been on the brink of suicide, to those who have lost a loved one, or been moved more generally by the campaign. It is both an uncensored exposure of truths, as well as a celebration of the strength and courage of those willing to write and talk about their experiences, using the power of language to openly address and tackle an issue that directly affects a million people every year.

Eighty Four is a new anthology of poetry on the subject of male suicide in aid of CALM. Poems have … More

The title Dangerous Dog raises expectations of a certain aggressive, punky aesthetic, which is certainly present, but the collection is richer and broader than that, even surprisingly traditional in places. The poems explore a truly impressive range of themes and moods, from the small-scale and domestic in poems such as ‘Asleep: Breathing Observed’ and ‘Burberry Tie’, to meditations on humankind’s place in the universe and the nature of freedom.

The ‘title track’ ‘Dangerous Dog’ is like a key to the whole book. Images of confinement (there’s a recurring motif … More

Sincerity is Duffy’s final collection of poems as Poet Laureate. Time and its passage are at the heart of this reflective work, which gazes out from the autumn of life. There are moving elegies here for what has departed; whether that be children who have flown the nest, a way of life, literary luminaries, past loves, lost parents or our own youth.

As Duffy dramatizes scenes from childhood, adolescence and adulthood, she finds moments of grace or consolation in memory, love and … More