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Welcome to Tangent Books, Bristol's leading independent publisher


  • New Tangent Imprint Launches!

    Join us to celebrate the launch of Small Press, the new poetry and experimental writing press that champions print poetry in Bristol!

    Arnolfini Bookshop
    Thursday 24th May
    Wine & poetry
    We'll be celebrating the launch of Small Press and its first poetry chapbook, Thumping the Table of Mist by Ray Webber - a beautifully printed small collection that combines traditional letterpress techniques with modern digital printing.
    We'll also be paying tribute to Ray Webber, who passed away in November last year.
    Copies of Thumping the Table of Mist will be available on the night for £6 - and will be available from 25th May in Arnolfini Bookshop and directly from Tangent Books.
    Follow along on Instagram @smallpressbooks
    and on Twitter @smallpressbooks
  • Tangent Books at The Letterpress Collective

    Last week we got to have a play around with print at The Letterpress Collective, learning to set lead type, wood lettering and learn about the printing process (or experiment for those of us who have over 25 year's worth of experience of working in print, ahem Richard). We had a brilliant time playing on the little hobby presses as well as the bigger roller presses: also seeing a working Heidlberg is a sight to behold!

    All this was part of an exploration for a new print project at Tangent, so keep your eyes peeled for more collaborations with The Letterpress Collective: we're looking forward to working with them more in the future!

    Thanks so much to the wonderful Nick and Ellen for a brilliant workshop!

  • Brand New Book from Ultramarathon Runner Ira Rainey

    Tangent Books is delighted to announce that we're publishing the second book by award-winning author Ira Rainey!

    Ira's previous book Fat Man to Green Man: From Unfit to Ultramarathon told the tale of his transformation from unfit forty-something to super fit ultrarunner.

    Fat Man to Green Man: Unfit to Ultramarathon

    "Far from being an elite athlete with superhuman running abilities like the ones he read about in books, Ira Rainey was an overweight and unfit slacker who felt a bit sorry for himself because he had sore feet. That was until a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given months to live. It was to be an event that would push Ira to tackle his apathy towards life and take on the challenge of becoming an ultramarathon runner, pushing himself to go further than he had ever gone before."

    His latest book Still Not Bionic: Adventures in Unremarkable Ultrarunning, focuses on the mental aspect of ultrarunning. It is an honest and moving look at how important mental state, support, and friendship are, not just to running long distances, but to life and happiness as a whole.

    Still Not Bionic: Adventures in Unremarkable Ultrarunning by Ira Rainey

    Still Not Bionic has been nominated for The 2017 Running Award, if you like what you read vote for Still Not Bionic here!

    You can pre-order your copy now, and it'll arrive before Christmas!

  • Bristol MP is Unsettled by Homelessness Bill

    When Bristol West MP Thangham Debbonaire recently made an impassioned speech during the second reading of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, she reminded the House of Commons that homelessness is about real people, not just numbers.

    ‘Underneath the numbers, every one is an individual in an impossible situation, a person, cold and frightened, who has been let down or got into a mess and does not know how to get out,’ said Debbonaire during her attack on government policy which she claims has led to a sharp rise in homelessness.

    The speech reminded us of Graham Walker’s book Unsettled which Tangent published almost 10 years ago. It’s one of the most revealing insights into homelessness that most readers will ever experience.

    Unsettled, a book on homelessness by Big Issue seller Graham Walker Unsettled: In a Hole, Climbed a Mountain by Graham Walker.

    Graham has been homeless most of his adult life. His story is a journey from the very bottom to self-accomplished heights. Unsettled is a powerful book that will have the reader laughing and crying in equal measure and ultimately begs the questions; what is a home and what does it mean to be homeless? Does living in temporary housing indicate that that person is homeless? Does being in danger of losing your home classify as being pre-homeless? Or do the bailiffs need to have already visited?

    As is often said; you’re only ever three payslips away from being homeless in today’s climate. So with everyone on the precipice of homelessness, it’s important to remember that it could happen to any of us.

    Most people who are concerned about the homeless (including Thangham Debbonaire) would consider themselves to be sympathetic to rough sleepers. But Graham makes the point that we all stereotype homeless people, particularly when we see a figure huddled in a sleeping bag in a shop doorway.

    We probably see a drug user or someone with addiction and mental health problems, we don’t see a mother, a father, a son or daughter or someone with a sharp sense of humour or a particular talent for drawing, writing, or perhaps cooking.

    Unsettled is an entertaining and educational book and it’s also a very moving story. Graham’s experiences as a homeless person and Big Issue seller make a real impact on the way in which people think about homelessness, particularly young people.

    Here’s what one Primary School pupil from Newton Abbot said about Unsettled after Graham visited his school to give a talk: “Thank you for showing us not to take the piss out of homeless people and we now realise that homeless people are there for a reason and not just there because they want to lounge around, be lazy and claim on benefits…”

    Unsettled - book written by homeless author Graham Walker Comments in a letter by a primary school pupil

    David Williams

    David is currently a full-time student at UWE studying English with Writing. He's using his time here to help create blog posts of interest to discerning punters, as well as honing his writing skills. Not sure what the future holds, so long as it involves words.

  • Launch of 93 year old Poet Ray Webber's Debut Collection!

    We are delighted to announce the launch of Ray Webber's debut poetry collection, proudly published by Tangent Books this September!

    Join us for a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of this astonishing collection:

    Arnolfini Bookshop

    Thurs 15th September


    Ray Webber Launch Invite at Arnolfini

    RSVP: richard@tangentbooks.co.uk

    Ray Webber is a 93 year old poet, born and bred in Bristol, who first started writing poetry in 1946, in his final year in the army. Heavily influenced by T. S. Eliot, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery and other New York School poets, Webber's poetry defies conventional lyric expectations to take on a voice and form that is entirely his own.

    Over the years, Webber’s work has been recognised by many academics and fellow poets as being of the highest quality, but he has always shunned publicity. The poems in this volume have never before been published.

    Critical Responses:

    'What a fierce sense of energy, vitriol and devilish laughter. Webber’s verse crackles with acerbic energy and political rage.'

    --Andrew F Giles

    'Webber's poetry has a richness of time, place and experience. It feels highly relevant to our politicised times.'

    --Dr Edson Burton

  • Some Musings on Banksy, Online Publishing and Apps

    Thanks for all your shares and comments about the Banksy Bristol Trail app. I’m Richard Jones, the publisher at Tangent Books and I wrote, rewrote and edited most of the text for the app. I’d like to tell you a little bit more about the app and also to focus on the comments here and on the Bristol 24/7 page commenting that the app should be free.

    New Banksy at Bridge Farm Primary School New Banksy at Bridge Farm Primary School

    About 10 years ago, I commissioned Steve Wright (who was then Venue magazine’s art editor) to write a book about Banksy. Mark Simmons and Pete Maginnis provided a lot of the pictures and we were also sent shots by Banksy fans and people who worked with him and given permission to use them.

    Steve did a brilliant job and Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home was an immediate success. A lot of the money from sales went into funding other projects such as Children of the Can, Bristol Black and White, Art & Sound of the Bristol Underground, Wild Dayz and others which wouldn’t have been commercially viable without the revenue from Banksy’s Bristol.

    Banksy's Bristol: Home Sweet Home, now in its 4th edition. Banksy's Bristol: Home Sweet Home.

    Banksy’s Bristol is now in its fourth edition and continues to sell well, though nowhere near as well as in that first year or so.

    It was in this climate that we decided to explore transforming the book into an app. I’ve worked with Jon Rolfe at Cactus for many years – we co-published my first book in 1992, Court in the Act: A History of the Ashton Court Free Festival 1974-1992 – and over the last few years Jon has developed an app engine based on map locations.

    Banksy's Bristol, the app Banksy's Bristol, the app

    We’ve got three apps on the go, Banksy, Bristol Cider Trail and the Treasure Island Trail. Cider and Treasure Island are being upgraded and Banksy is being converted to Android.

    The plan is that Cactus provides the technical expertise and Tangent provides the content. That content is original and has been written by professional authors who are paid for their work. We are confident that a combination of the technical expertise provided by Cactus and the writing excellence from Tangent will make the apps great purchases. Several people have commented that they expect the apps to be free. I’m sure that these people don’t expect their food or clothes to be free and they certainly don’t work for nothing.

    The payment goes a small way to covering the production and writing costs. Yet still people expect digital content for free. This raises an interesting point and highlights a dilemma that became apparent in the mid 90s when magazines and newspapers began to move their articles and pictures onto the internet and those finely crafted bon mots and expertly constructed photographs became known as ‘content’.

    I was working for Future Publishing at the time as the editor of Total Football magazine and Managing Editor of The Official Manchester United Magazine, Glory Glory Man United and The Official Chelsea Magazine, so I observed the birth of internet publishing at very close quarters and quickly became aware of the threats, opportunities and the internal power struggles between on and offline publishers and advertising executives. There was an absolute lack of any coherent philosophy about the direction of online publishing and the consequences for traditional magazine and newspaper publishing.

    Total Football Cover Total Football Cover

    At Future we were always told that a magazine is just two things.

    1. Brand
    1. Content

    Virtually overnight editors were expected to give their content to the online teams so that they could use it free-of-charge on the internet. We had given away 50 per cent of our unique selling point.

    TotalFootball.com had its own sales and marketing teams and it’s own editorial team. The problem was that the print magazine had developed a very strong brand as an intelligent fans’ mag. We weren’t too laddish but were certainly heavily influenced by the brilliant magazine editor James Brown and the Loaded phenomenon.

    Over a number of years we had clearly established our brand as being for the football fan who enjoyed the culture of football (the pies, the folklore, the rivalry, the stats) as much as they enjoyed the game itself. Total Football identified with this sort of fan regardless of their sex, colour creed, age or race.

    Incidentally, at the time Future was owned by Pearson whose chief executive Marjorie Scardino said in a major interview that her favourite magazines were Total Football and The Economist – Marge is a Nottingham Forest Fan, as is former Justice Minister Ken Clarke and James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers.

    The editorial team at TotalFootball.com were perfectly pleasant people, some of them were football fans but they were mainly there because of their expertise in building and maintaining websites. They didn’t understand why Total Football magazine ran surveys to find the best pie in UK football, or why we ran features on football superstitions, animals on the pitch or the worst ever away strips (Coventry City’s chocolate brown monstrosity of 1978/79 season since you ask). In short they didn’t understand our brand. Also because the website was delivering content on a daily, even hourly basis whereas we published the magazine every month, the two products were bound to be different, yet the website used the Total Football name and logo – which looked terrible online, but fine in print.

    Image: www.chrisgriffinsays.co.uk

    After years of being told how vital they were, at a stroke Total Football had given away its content and its brand. Of course we weren’t alone, virtually all traditional media organisations got it horribly wrong in the rush to online publishing in the 90s and it’s taken a long time for the wounds to start to heal.

    One of the consequences of all this is that many people expect digital content to be delivered free of charge. I firmly believe that well-researched and well-written articles, great photography and expert coding comes at a price.

  • Bristol Short Story Prize Competition

    There's just 40 days and 40 nights remaining to get your entries in to the Bristol Short Story Prize. For those who have been thinking about entering... Here are the details of how to get your entries in:


    If you're feeling inspired, or want to read some of the previous winning stories, you can get hold of copies of the anthologies from our website, each volume of which features a beautiful illustration from a student on the UWE Illustration course...

    Here's last year's anthology:

    Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 8 Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 8

    And also the 2014 shortlist:

    Short Story Prize 2014

  • Tangent Books at the 6 Music Festival

    We had great fun last week installing an exhibition of photographer Beezer's work in Trinity as part of the 6 Music Festival that took over Bristol this weekend. Below are some of the images of the exhibition, which features The Wild Bunch (before they became Massive Attack) and images of St Pauls Carnival from the 1980s:


    IMG_7075    IMG_7071  IMG_7086image1

    Also, our glorious leader, Richard Jones Esq. was allowed on the radio. Not once, but TWICE.

    Here he is chatting to Stuart Maconie (tune in at 1hr 38, if you're short of time).

    And have a listen to him talking with the lovely Cerys Matthews on Sunday afternoon (1hr 23).


    Johnna Darque, Assistant Publisher

  • Bristol Underground Music Scene

    Bristol's incredible music scene is getting some well-deserved attention what with the BBC 6Music Festival gracing our shores in a couple of weeks. The full lineup is looking good, especially with all the Fringe events taking place all over the city.

    Gilles Peterson of 6Music has made a brilliant documentary, tracing the history of Bristol's underground music scene over the years. Have a listen here.

    We've got the perfect book to go alongside Gilles' documentary, which explores and examines the history of the underground music scene in Bristol:

    Art & Sound of the Bristol Underground.

    Art & Sound | Tangent BooksThis influential book looks at the art and music of the 80s underground scene in Bristol. Influenced by the New York hip hop scene -its DIY ethos, sharp fashion and gang culture- and which seemed a natural successor to the anarcho punk, weird funk and dub reggae mash that had prevailed on Bristol's alternative scene.

    Featuring flyers advertising the secret parties of the Bristol circuit, as well as in-depth interviews with the people behind the leading hip hop crews of the day.




    Our very own Richard Jones is installing an exhibition of Beezer's photography at Trinity Centre, especially for the 6Music Festival. Details here.


    ...And for those visiting our wonderful city for the first time, we've got the ideal companion for your adventures round Bristol:

    The Naked Guide to Bristol

    naked Bristol

    The Naked Guide to Bristol is a witty and informative guide to the sights and sounds of Bristol. Whether you're after a big sight-seeing weekend or out to uncover the secret spots in the city, this guide will have you there in no time.

    Remember, not all guide books are the same...

  • Fiction at Tangent Books

    We're proud to have a wonderful selection of fiction here at Tangent Books! Featuring local, national and international writers, our collection of fiction ranges from poetry, short stories and fictions to full length novels. Check out the full collection here.

    My Mother Was an Upright Piano by Tania Hershman


    A scintillating collection of 56 short fictions by one of the genre’s most daring exponents, whose economy of words cloaks her subtlety and power. Tania Hershman’s work is powerful, spiky and off-beat but with a distinct warmth and affection for her subjects. ᅠA Bristol-based writer, Tania is the chair of this year's judging panel for the Bristol Short Story Prize.

    Catacombs of Terror by Stanley Donwood

    Catacombs Cover

    This page-turning terror of a book is written by Radiohead artist Stanley Donwood, and features an amazing, 50s-inspired cover design by Chris Hopewell of Jackknife Prints.

    Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, vol. 8

    Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 8
    In the eighth volume of the Bristol Short Story Prize, the 20 outstanding writers who were shortlisted for the 2015 prize showcase their extensive international writing talent.
    Since its launch in 2007, the Bristol Short Story Prize has become one of the leading competitions for the genre. The Prize is open now for 2016 entries!

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