Here's what we have been up to lately... 


Carlisle Folk Experience

John Hegley and Errant Thieves joined Jean Hill's Carlisle Folk Experience at the RAOB Club in Carlisle on Thursday 9th December 2021, for an evening of music and poetry, including readings and performances from A Scarcity of Biscuit, recently published by Caldew Press.

For more information or to purchase a copy of John Hegley's A Scarcity of Biscuit please email:

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David Simmons and Mark Griffiths launched their poetry collections at Cakes & Ale cafe in Carlisle on Friday 5th November 2021 with an evening of readings and performances from Carlisle in Haiku Form and GRID, recently published by Caldew Press.

Thanks to Steve, Frida and Lucy for making the evening happen.

Both books are available from Bookends in Carlisle priced £8.00.

For more information about the collections please email:

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A Scarcity of Biscuit

By John Hegley

John Hegley weaves a colourful collection of musings, drawings and dialogues around the poems, letters and loved ones of John Keats. If you are a lover of Keats’ poetry, or are newer to the poet and want to explore his work, this collection allows the reader to share in the author's enthusiasm and passion for one of Britain's best loved literary figures.

John Hegley was born in Islington, North London, in 1953 and currently lives in the neighbouring borough of Hackney. He was educated at schools in Luton and Bristol before studying Sociology/European Literature and the History of Ideas at the University of Bradford. His livelihood has mainly been made by creating and performing content for workshops, festivals and theatre and radio. This has consisted of songs, poems, drawings, and other activities, including French baroque dance. 

He was the Keats House poet in residence in 2012.

Published by Caldew Press in 2021.

Price £8.00 (plus postage and packing).


GRID: An outside inside journey through Cumbria

By Mark Griffiths

GRID is a collection of site-specific poems, songs, prose and images concerning Cumbria and the Lake District. It is the artist’s meditations on his life-long relationship with this part of North-West England, and it offers a thoughtful companion for all who feel a strong sense of place and fraternity with the landscape. 

Mark Griffiths is an artist, writer and musician living and working in the Eden Valley, Cumbria. He has performed his work extensively, sometimes under the pseudonym of Fernando Smith, and his work has appeared in collections, journals and pamphlets across the UK. His first collection of poetry Welcome to the Golden Life was published in 2010.

For over 35 years he has worked with children and families experiencing difficulty and trauma, often by making use of the arts and the outdoors. 

Published by Caldew Press in 2021.

Price £8.00 (plus postage and packing).


Lockdown Town 

By Philip Hewitson

A collection of funny and angry poems written during, and as a response to, the COVID-19 pandemic. Various topics come under scrutiny including; the handling of the crisis by the UK Government; the slightly strange and often surreal experience of living in lockdowns; other news and events during these unusual times; and the hopes that a vaccine might lead us tentatively towards a return to ‘normal’.

Phil is a writer, poet, illustrator and filmmaker, born and raised in Carlisle. He makes films for Tolivar Productions, organises Film Fling festivals, hosts SpeakEasy spoken-word open mic night and publishes books through Caldew Press.

Published by Caldew Press in 2021.

Price £5.00 (plus postage and packing).


Carlisle in Haiku Form: First Impressions

By David Simmons

Poet, David Simmons, shares his affection for the Great Border City, and the surrounding area, in 'Carlisle in Haiku Form'. Seventeen illustrations accompany over a hundred handcrafted haiku which make up the collection providing a unique take on the city and its history. From Roman cricketers and Cracker Packers to Olympic hopefuls and Lady Gaga, there's a bespoke Carlisle haiku connection!

Published by Caldew Press in 2021.

Price £8.00 (plus postage and packing).


We shared some lovely pieces inspired by John Keats, and then John Hegley (accompanied by Cristina's beautiful Italian translations, and occasionally Phil playing the part of John Keats) entertained us with a wonderful collection of poems, songs and thoughts based around Keats.

He was thrilled with all our paper fishes, our poems and letters, and for the warm welcome. It was a really fun event and a huge thank you to everyone who was able to join us.

Hopefully we can meet in real life in the not too distant future!


'Writing, Drawing and Drawing out the Creative’ with John Hegley.

John Hegley led an online workshop with Caldew Press on Zoom on Saturday 14th November 2020.

There was a wonderful creative mix and he was really thrilled with all the responses, and particularly liked the drawings of all the biscuits!

He looks forward to hopefully doing some more stuff with us in the not too distant future.


Earth Day:

Poetry for a Purpose

To celebrate Earth Day we held an online Zoom event so people could share some of the prose, poetry, prose-poetry, flash-fiction and articles, eco-worriers and eco-warriors contributed to eco collection 'Poetry for a Purpose' published by Caldew Press. 

Climate emergency, extinction rebellion, sustainability and environmental disasters seem to be a uniting and driving force among, particularly, younger people and giving voice to concerns is a healthy way to examine our fears and educate others. Boundaries, barriers and horizons - we can also be hopeful, and look beyond the constraints we encounter.

This event was more a preview of the collection than a book launch. 'Poetry for a Purpose' is available on Amazon but it would be nice to do a physical launch event at some point in the future. 

Contributors will receive their free copies in due course once things have returned to a kind of normality we will announce further details regarding an event and for distributing copies of the anthology. 

Many thanks to all who contributed as we try to change the world with words! Hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

SpeakEasy Farewell to Foxes Cafe

First SpeakEasy at Foxes Cafe

Mind Trees of the Urban Forest

Writing Workshop

Led by Jean Hill

WatchTree Nature Reserve was the location for a writing workshop held on 26th May 2019. Writers took part in the workshop which was led by Jean Hill. She organised tasks and prompts which encouraged people to look at nature and mental health in different ways and produce work from fresh perspectives as part of the 'Mind Trees of the Urban Forest' project. Some of the pieces can be found in the 'Mind Trees' publication.

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