Tuesday 30 April 2019

Launching Mingled Space

V. Press is very very pleased to announce the publication of Mingled Space by Margaret Adkins - WINNER OF THE INAUGURAL V. PRESS PRIZE FOR POETRY.

“These poems are controlled, beautiful and strange, always with a woman’s way of seeing; ‘a hungry vixen barked and waltzed/ with shadows’. Here is music and witchcraft and sometimes things moving backwards. Here is the marvellous musical relationship of one word to another, as Adkins’ gaze shines a light into dark corners, noticing the small, the left behind and the lovely.”
Deborah Alma

“These musical poems bristle with tenderness and beauty. Folklore and myth mysteriously evoked in the sumptuous sweep of language, domestic spaces inhabited by vivid characters leap out at you alive with a kind of gentle danger. Beneath this vivid tapestry of poems there is an echo of poignancy, threaded and pure, delivering a wonderful and haunting debut collection.”
Roz Goddard

“In Mingled Space, Margaret Adkins articulates the concerns of intimacy and how relationships are played out in set spaces, both interior and exterior, and the negotiations people make in those spaces. There is always a keen focus on the capacity to be creative in everyday places; Adkins gives attention to tender details others might miss.” V. Press Guest Editor Ruth Stacey

Mingled Space is very redolent and very melodic.

ISBN: 978-1-9998444-8-6

R.R.P. £6.50

ORDER Mingled Space NOW using the paypal buttons below.

Mingled Space (including P&P/delivery options)

The Dividing Line

Born and raised along the hypotenuse
of the estate, his house faced the track.

Mind you don’t go off with anyone, Sid
his mother used to shout. He didn’t.

They lived on the other side of the bridge
in houses with the television switched off

in the daytime. And where candled air
drifted when her leadlight-door opened

and shut after her mother said:
she isn’t playing out today.


Not until he was fifteen
did a vanilla-scented girl come knocking

with her bowl of salt.
And just like a bowl made of salt

bones in his head sunk clarets and corals
released on her tongue. He

didn’t understand when one day
she whispered: Sid, nothing stays the same.


He knew that it did. It does. The rails hum
where he stands – chalked and whet in oily-oranged puddles.


Thursday, May 2, 2019 - The Hive , Worcester, 7pm

Event page here.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Launching The Protection of Ghosts

V. Press is very very delighted to announce the publication of The Protection of Ghosts by Natalie Linh Bolderston.

The Protection of Ghosts shows how our past can equally haunt and protect us. Here are lyrical poems about intergenerational trauma, familial exile, loss, cultural legacy and hope. In ‘Operation Ranch Hand’, Natalie Linh Bolderston explores how the damage caused by chemical warfare materialises and continues to the present time when a woman ‘does not know about the scar / that is forming inside, that her daughter / will be born wordless on a stretcher.’ The themes of separation and pain are beautifully laced in ‘My mother’s nightmares’ where ‘my mother reaches, / …and I do not know whether I am rising or she is / falling – ’, while a sense of belonging is discovered from the stories passed down to us: ‘…we grew a lot of fruit and greens on the roof. / Always eat with chilli and salt. You try!’ (‘When Bà Ngoại tells stories’). Natalie Linh Bolderston is definitely a distinct and daring voice you would not want to miss.” Romalyn Ante

“In her first pamphlet, Natalie Linh Bolderston portrays the knowledge and care shared among generations of women in poems at once sensory and tender, vivid and emotive. The Protection of Ghosts is a most welcome debut.” V. Press Guest Editor Carrie Etter

The Protection of Ghosts is very haunting and very intricate.

A sample poem from The Protection of Ghosts can be found below.

ISBN: 978-1-9165052-3-0

R.R.P. £6.50


From Bà Cố to Bà Ngoại

Daughter, do not let your feet grow septic with running,
your tongue surrender in your throat.

The country will not know your name.
When your children forget my name, remind them:
I am not just someone who used to love you.

Because you share my bed in times of sickness
and pregnancy, reach for me
as the sun paints you awake.

Con yêu của mẹ, can you hear me?
Remember this when you cradle your daughter
in the early hours, and you want
to throw prayers at the walls
and set the bedposts alight.

Instead, send me a picture of a little girl with frost in her hair
and a face that used to be yours.

When you return from the cold,
show me the shape of the water you crossed,
the blue air in your lungs. 

Bà Cố – great grandmother
Bà Ngoại – maternal grandmother
Con yêu của mẹ – my darling daughter

A previous version of this poem was published in issue 2 of The Good Journal.


9 May 2019, 7pm, Burley Fisher Books, London: launch of The Protection of Ghosts in a Covent Garden Stanza ‘mass publication celebration’ at Burley Fisher Books,  400 Kingsland Road, Hackney, London E8 4AA from 7-9pm. Event details here

14 June 2019, 8pm, St James Wine Vaults, Bath: launch of The Protection of Ghosts (Natalie Linh Bolderston), The Escapologist (Jinny Fisher), and Spring in the Hospital (Luke Palmer).

Monday 8 April 2019

Launching The Neverlands

V. Press is very very pleased to announce the launch of Damhnait Monaghan's The Neverlands!

The Neverlands, a virtuoso mosaic of microfictions by Damhnait Monaghan, tells the story of Nuala, a child caught in the crossfire of her parents' troubled marriage. This is a family epic in flash form, masterfully and movingly distilled, both devastating and hopeful. A gorgeous debut.” Kathy Fish

The Neverlands is a heart-tugger of a collection. In pitch-perfect colloquial prose, Damhnait Monaghan waltzes us through the sorrows of a poverty-stricken Irish family, who struggle to love each other well. Funny, clever, warm and sad, this is a beautiful book.” Nuala O’Connor

The interconnected stories in The Neverlands are very raw and very real.

A sample flash can be read below.

36 pages
RRP £6.50


BUT AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK IN THE U.K. AND INTERNATIONALLY ON KINDLE through Amazon, including Amazon.co.uk here and Amazon.com here.

Nuala: Dutch Courage

Da staggers up to the school gates at morning break and calls for Nuala. Her stomach is bubbling but she goes over and looks at him through the fence. He smiles and there’s more teeth gone. When he says he’s proud of his Nuala, she pinches her wrist hard so she doesn’t cry. Why does he have to be drunk to say anything good? Sister Angelique comes to lead her away and says it’s Dutch courage. Nuala says she doesn’t know much about Holland and Sister Angelique says actually it’s the Neverlands. And Nuala thinks that sounds about right.


Sunday, June 30  Flash Fiction Festival 
Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop
This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/.

Publishing with an Indie Press 

Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was  published by Ad Hoc Fiction in  February 2019, and Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook, The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V.Press, will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since, with publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction and Sarah Leavesley from V Press. Diane and Damhnait will read samples from their collections and there will be  Q and A. 

Monday, 14 October 2019 – Guest Feature at Loose Muse: Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hants SO23 8SB. With Guest Feature poet Katrina Naomi as  Time:  7.30-9.30 p.m. Cost: £6 at the door.

Friday 5 April 2019

Review(s) of The boy who couldn't say his name

V. Press is very very pleased to share this review of John Lawrence’s The boy who couldn't say his name (published last week) by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16 Heather Wastie.

The boy who couldn't say his name: a review by Heather Wastie

The boy who couldn’t say his name is a joy to read, a book of poems packed with heart, humour and a unique slant on everyday life. The collection is underpinned but not dominated by the story behind the title, the painful experiences he endured as a child. His relationship with a Maths teacher is vividly described in 'Report: Maths 31%...'

'Her pinched cheeks, ivory, close enough to claw;
her quink-black eyes, close enough to skewer
with my newly sharpened HB pencil.'

In the title poem, he refers in third person to a boy who is bullied because of his stammer ‘in the game of seek-and-chide’. In 'My Father’s Cap' he writes:

'The day the kids at school find out
I’m Sally Army, I show them blood
but little fire. They vent their fury

at my deceit: this kid deserves
an extra slap. Bruises the colour
of my father’s cap.' 

'Cornet Player on the Run' opens with these lines:

'Guilty. I deserted from the Salvation Army
halfway through Onward Christian Soldiers -'

I have always enjoyed John’s poems, and it has been good to watch him gradually conquer stage fright over the years since I first warmed to his work. In 'An account of the last moments of the poet' he translates his terror with his trademark humour:

'When I take the wrong turn and find myself
clomping up the steps to the block,
take my word, it’s not what I want to do –
a bloody inconvenient way to go.'

And in the hilarious 'DIY and Me', he expresses a similar – though not so extreme – feeling of alienation as he joins the queue in ‘Plumbers R Us’:

'I join the queue, trying to stand like a plumber,
As a huge fan of close-coupling, my ears prick up,
I feel like a fish out of water
like Ricky Gervais on Songs of Praise'

There are some memorable lines like, for example, in 'Inventory: in my shed I have the following':

'one garden rake, handle whittled to a point
a Charles and Di ashtray with a half-smoked joint'

He’s good on titles too:

'In the Museum of Air Guitars'
'Hair Loss: The Musical'
'The Lament of the Zanussi Luminary'

It has always been a pleasure listening to John’s work, and I am delighted that V Press are publishing this collection so that more people can enjoy, and no doubt relate to, his unique take on the ordinary and his wicked imagination.

Heather Wastie

This review at: https://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/the-boy-who-couldnt-say-his-name-book-review/


"John Lawrence knows how to tell a story, sometimes using analogy, and often setting up a scene then creating a volta, like a twist in the tale, so the ending is not predictable....Overall “The Boy Who Couldn’t Say His Name” contains wry, keenly-observed, mostly witty stories and vignettes taking a slant look at familiar scenarios and crafted with care to engage readers."
Emma Lee, full review here

More information and a sample poem from The boy who couldn't say his name can be found here.

TO BUY a copy of The boy who couldn't say his name, please use the Paypal link below (selecting the required delivery option).

The boy who couldn't say his name (including P&P)


Thurs 11 April 2019: Speakeasy, Wayland's Yard, Worcester, 7.30pm

Thurs 25 April 2019: Caffe Grande Slam, Dudley, 7pm

Mon 13 May 2019: Licensed to Rhyme, Cafe Morso, Barnt Green, 7pm

& more to come...