Hot of the presses – new authors at the festival

Having such famous writers as Tony Harrison and Ann Cleeves appear at our festival is an obvious thrill, but for me there’s an equal satisfaction in presenting the talented new authors that IRON Press nurtures – especially when they’re both from Tyneside.

Lisa Rodgers lives at the coast. The She Chronicles is her first book of poems and the manuscript arrived at IRON Press out of the blue.

The book’s sub-title History’s Maverick Women, gives a clue, a series of poems closely researched and imaginatively written (the two don’t always go together) on such figures as Mary Shelley, playwright Aphra Behn, pirate Anne Bonny and other remarkable females in history who kicked against the system.

With a writer’s true dedication, Lisa spent several years compiling this impressive group of poems with no idea if they would eventually see the light of day. Well, they will.

Joining Lisa is another exciting new voice, Vicky Arthurs, whose poetic talents were obvious to me from a series of writers’ workshops the press ran in conjunction with our previous festival, The IRON Age.

Vicky’s book, Limehaven (again launched at Eclectic IRON), is a poetry collection inspired by the eponymous home of her grandparents.

These poems have the kind of vivid detail and original observation which comes from a young person experiencing the world in all its pain and beauty for the first time.

And they fulfil one of poetry’s most important tasks – they make us see rather than just look.

Our musician for this event, at the RNLI on Sunday, June 7, 4.30pm, is Vicky’s husband, Newcastle singer/songwriter Jack Arthurs. ‘Music to warm the soul’ as one reviewer accurately put it.

Tickets for all festival events are available online at or on (0191) 251 6009 and direct from Cullercoats Coffee in John Street or from Cullercoats Library.