Stairwell Books publishes an anthology every year and in some years contributers are invited to submit poetry with a particular theme. 
In addition to these themed collections, we occasionally publish a book where the writers are associated with a particular open mic or writing group.
Should you wish to add the book to your shopping cart please pop over to the bookshop
clicking on any one of the cover images.

Cover More Exhibitionism

More Exhibitionism  celebrates 11 years of spoken word performances at the Exhibition Hotel in York. The earlier anthology The Exhibitionists was listed by The Purple Patch as one of the top 10 anthologies for 2008. York is a nexus of excellent writing and we at the Spoken Word have been privileged to experience some of the best.This is an anthology of the best of the best.

New Crops from Old Fields Front

Eight Medieval scholars write contemporary poetry informed by their knowledge of medieval times and ideas but which are relevant to modern readers. All eight writers are well known as contemporary poets.

The Middle Ages have been constantly revisited and reimagined ever since, historically speaking, they came to an end. Poets, novelists, filmmakers, musicians, painters and gamers have all turned to the medieval as a site for adventure, allegory, parody, satire or self-expression. In this volume, eight poets who are also medieval scholars journey into their individual visions of the Middle Ages, bringing back a richly diverse body of contemporary poetry. Out of old fields, to paraphrase Chaucer, come new crops - herein lies a bumper harvest.

Edited by Oz Hardwick, Professor of English at Leeds Trinity University, this book brings together the work of Jane Beal, Jane Chance, Pam Clements, Oz HardwickWendy Hennequin, AJ Odasso, Joe Martyn Ricke and Hanna Stone.

The book is endorsed by Steve Ely, Nick Havely, Rosemary Mitchell and Gillian RuddWaterstones
Read this in-depth review by Jeff Sypeck on his Quid plura literary blog.
And read Julie Chappell from Tarleton State University on Medievally Speaking

Homeless Front Cover

This anthology of poignant and at times shocking stories is the response to a writing competition organised by the youth homelessness charity SASH. The stories express the reality and vulnerability of being without a safe and dependable place to stay, and illustrate the horrors thousands of young people face day after day as they patch their lives back together in a society that appears to discourage their best efforts. Homeless provides an insight into the many issues facing the displaced and makes for absorbing, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always thought-provoking reading.

The competition was organised to raise awareness of homelessness among young people by giving a voice to those who are often silenced, and to ensure that those who have experienced the lack of a secure and stable place to stay and those who are currently homeless are less invisible.

SASH prevents vulnerable young people from becoming homeless by offering them a room in a volunteer’s home.Sash_376_CMYK


Still Life Front Cover 1a

The French have always fascinated the English and the two countries have had a long love hate relationship for at least a thousand years. It would shock nobody were we to discover that coastal Gauls and wode wearing south coast Britons were hearty rivals even 2 millennia ago. Wode apparently tells us that Britons were by no means barbaric, even if they did wear beards, and Britons have been a civilizing force in the world ever since; and Rome’s great feats of engineering made by slaves recruited from the north of Hadrian’s wall.

This year’s visit to Yorkshire by the Tour de France, France, of course, being just another Riding of Yorkshire, is an opportunity to tell our French cousins how much we love them but that we are not taking the depredations of William of Normandy lying down.

However, we Britons are fascinated by Paris, enjoying the romance of this living museum of another great civilization, and we crawl all over the south of France with great enthusiasm.

Please enjoy this eclectic compilation of poems and short stories Waterstonesthat tell our French cousins in no uncertain terms that we love them dearly but please go home before the larder is empty. When we’re hungry we can get reet fratchy.

The Chocolate Factory Front Cover

Chocolate Factory is a bittersweet assortment of short stories created by young writers between the ages of 11 – 18. In response to a short story competition delivered by the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York and Amnesty International UK, young authors wrote on the theme of chocolate and human rights. Entries were received from Ghana and the United Kingdom. Three winning stories and all the shortlisted entries can be found in this delectable, thought-provoking collection.

Competition Judges
Juliana Mensah, Artist in Residence, Centre for Applied Human Rights
Nicky Parker, Publisher, Amnesty International UK

Book Editors
Juliana Mensah, Artist in Residence, Centre for Applied Human Rights
Rose Drew, Anthropologist and Publisher, Stairwell Bookscandle hi res

This book has been produced with the support of the Centre for Applied HumUniversity of York logo blackan Rights and Amnesty International.


frisson book cover


a pleasurable sensation of fright

frisson, released during the York Literature Festival at the packed Erotic Poetry Night in the Black Swan, a 15C pub in the historic City of York, is a collection of poems with little bit of je ne sait quoi.

Erotic poetry has a long and time honoured tradition reaching back to the Arabian Nights and the Song of Solomon. The editor selected poems for their sensuality rather than their attention to detail.

The book contains a mix of lust, love, commentary, nature, sensuality, comedy, yearning and lyricism, all written with taste and sensibility. It is an ideal summer evening’s read when, combined with  late evening sunsets, a gentle breeze, the rustling leaves and gentle lapping of the river against the banks, will all contribute to a pleasant atmospheric experience.

frisson, which, following yet another great British tradition of names not being pronounced quite as they are spelled, is a collection of the more intimate poems from the best poets in York.

Along the Iron Veins

This quotation from Ruskin announces the arrival of the latest anthology from Stairwell Books and The Spoken Word. This anthology of poetry, prose and pictures celebrates the essential nature of the railways in forming Victorian England; the England that followed; and the England that has made us the way we are now.

The poems and short stories range from paeans of praise to the intimacy of the moment: the recognition of the station platform as a boundary between going and staying; love and nothing; and a place for just waiting. Enjoy the wonderful illustrations of Pauline Kirk and other contributors which make this book a wonderful feast of poetry, prose and drawing: an ideal gift for Granma or Grampa.

Along the Iron Veins was launched at the York Railway Institute’s A Passion for Trains event on Saturday 25th September. Waterstones

Pressed by Unseen Feet Cover

Pressed by Unseen Feet

This is an anthology of poetry and short stories with a paranormal theme. Launched on the August Blue moon this book showcases the writing of the talented York and Yorkshire poets.

Humans need to explain the unexplainable, to bring reason to the unreasonable. This passion for rationality fills the psyche with imps and fairies, spirits and sprites: earthquakes, thunder and sudden death surely the work of capricious Gods, or witches. In a world where death is the gateway to eternal life, it is easy to imagine that those who have fallen on the way to their just reward, good or bad, will hang about to rain a little retribution on those they deem responsible for their poor navigation. Not so far from our living selves, then!

Is all this just imagination? Is it not possible that entities exist outside of our abilities to sense them; for caverns to possess profound intelligence; for lost loved ones to watch over us; for our own selves to have abilities we cannot sense or control?

This book explores the space our spirits KNOW is there, even though we cannot prove or disprove its existence. Very few of us have never experienced something that should not, could not, have happened: but did.  Pressed by Unseen Feet may help you remember. Waterstones

This anthology was short listed for the  Sabotage best Mixed Anthology Award

York 800 Front Cover

York in Poetry, Artwork and Photographs

This collection was commissioned as part of the York800 celebrations of 2012 to commemorate the 800 years since King John granted the City its charter, an act cynically suggested by some as a means of securing his supply of fine wine and filling his coffers at the same time.

The poems here reflect York’s 2000 years of history: Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman, all in their own way very British and yet so obstinately northern. We celebrate Saxon kings, and modern York; life persevering during the Blitz; Roman ghosts and medieval cemeteries; the annual floods, the almost-800-year-old Minster, the famous shops and cafes; even the days the Olympic Torch passed through in June 2012.

Residents will enjoy seeing their City reflectedWaterstones in poetry, commissioned artwork, and historic photographs; visitors can carry away mementos of their stay

The Green Man

The Green Man Awakes

A short anthology of poems celebrating the legends of the Green Man, a forest manifestation celebrated by many cultures world wide

Editor, Rose Drew says “I’m not even sure when I first became aware of the concept of the Green Man, only that as a transplanted American, the concept of a forest deity was new to me. Then, over the course of about a year, several York poets read out Green Man poems at various Open Mics. I began to realize that this ancient pagan symbol of fertility...

We hope you enjoy our visions of The Green Man, whether found in the United Kingdom, or the Americas; in the deep, timeless past; the everyday world of the present; or in a future beyond humankind.”

First Tuesday  book cover

A First Tuesday in Wilton

This is Stairwell Books’ first book and is a fantastic collection of poems by Connecticut Writers. Some years ago Borders Bookshops opened a branch in Wilton Connecticut, and the editors, Rose Drew and Alan Gillott started an Open Mic to encourage writers who hitherto had to travel considerable distances to read their material.

This group quickly grew to include an incredibly talented and supportive group of poets . This anthology was conceived to celebrate the combined talents of these excellent writers. Many of these writers are today leading lights in Connecticut Poetry, Faith Vicinanza, Frank Chambers, Mar Walker and others keep the flame alive, and Jackie Simmons is also the author of one of Stairwell Books own collections of poetry.

Alas Borders Bookshops are no more and this one of the last books to feature Guss Stepp whose Detroit and Jazz poerty was well known throughout the United States. Guss was very supportive of us, the editors, both personally and our endeavors with the open mic and our debut anthology. He is missed by many.

Exhibitionist Front cover10-27

The Exhibitionists

An anthology of poems from The Spoken Word Open Mic that takes place at the Exhibition Hotel Conservatory in Bootham York. The Exhibitionists was listed in the Purple Patch top 10 anthologies for 2008.