0117 972 0645

Welcome to Tangent Books, Bristol's leading independent publisher

Tangent Books

  • Eco and ethical food and drink


    Having previously explored Bristol’s late night kebab economy, Evie Steen now looks at the growing trend for zero waste and ethical food and drink

    With the increasing awareness of the need to reduce our carbon footprint, Bristol has seen a rapid increase in Zero Waste shops. For around 30 years, Scoopaway has led the way, serving customers nutritious and organic food and encouraging them to ditch throw-away packaging and bring reusable bags and containers to fill with staples such as rice, beans, pulses, cereals and more. Scoop the required amounts from the food bins into your bag just like it says on the sign. This independent and friendly store still sells an impressive range of the everyday grocery items on your shopping list so be sure to make the change, choose local and be sure to check out the tea selection.

    Scoopaway, 113 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8AT
    www.scoopawayhealthfoods.co.uk 0117 987 2199

    Sitting in or eating out

    Take-away food often entails a handful of plastic forks, a box you will never use again and pathetic-sized ketchup and mayonnaise packets. Not to mention the amount of food wasted by making the huge eyes-bigger-than-your-stomach mistake. No need to worry, here we have some suggestions of notable restaurants and cafes serving up the most zero waste meals.


    Park Street; Here, Bath Road; Emersons Green; Victoria Street; The Eye, Glass Wharf; Cathedral Walk, Harbourside


    Friska is a very popular café for coffee, breakfast and lunch, introduced to Bristol by two young entrepreneurs Griff Holland and Ed Brown in 2009. It’s not just the good food that keeps people coming, the great thing is that all of their take-away boxes and utensils are wooden, limiting the use of single use plastics means they are really doing their part. Alongside this, all unsold food is given to homeless charities and on-site waste is either re-cycled, composted or incinerated meaning nothing goes to landfill. You can’t talk about Friska without mentioning their partnership with two important charities FRANK Water, who raise money for clean water projects in the developing world, and Deki (a n ethical loans scheme for remote and marginalised communities). Friska’s wholesome attitude to eating really allows customers to feel good as the owners intended. Saving the planet and happy taste buds make a good lunchtime combination.

    Poco Tapas Bar

    45 Jamaica Street, BS2 8JP


    In 2004 co-founders Tom Hunt, Jen Best and Ben Pryor took Bristol by storm, bringing even more life to the pleasure-seekers of the city by combining the acts of self-indulgence and helping the planet. With a goal of sustainability and waste reduction, this eatery has received several eco awards including most ethical restaurant in 2013 and Food Made Good Best Business Of The Year award in 2016 and 2018. Multi-talented head chef Tom Hunt defines himself as an ‘Eco chef, food waste activist and a big eater’, which undoubtedly creates a feeling of comfort and reassurance that you know you will be eating well in his care. All parts of the ingredients are used in some sort of funky way on your plate or in your cocktail in order to diminish waste produced from the company. What’s not to love? Check out Tom’s blog and the Poco website for upcoming events in this jazzy space on the corner of Jamaica street, hire Tom’s crew out for a festival, or see how he can make your wedding day even more special (and sustainable of course). https://www.tomsfeast.com/poco-festivals/poco-bristol/

    Better Food Company

    Sevier Street, St Werburgh’s, Whiteladies Road, Clifton; Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf


    We all know that shopping organic is important but shopping local is even better. Enter Better Food who clearly state that when it come to food shopping, the most important factors to bear in mind are organic, local and ethical. After starting off as a food box service, going against the grain of mass production in the food industry, this independent Bristol-based company has spread it wings and its territory, having shops and cafes now in three locations; St Werburgh’s, Clifton and Wapping Wharf. They pride themselves on their relationships with their food providers, and on the website you are able to see a list of their suppliers so customers can be confident in what they are buying.

  • Bristol's best late-night take-aways #2

    In the second of a series of posts, Evie Steen and a team of early-hours connoisseurs bring you the definitive guide to how to satisfy ferocious hunger after a few too many pints…

    Slix and Rita’s

    Where to find it: 88-91 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RD (Slix)
    94 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RJ (Rita’s)

    Pouring out of Lakota, Love Inn, and Crofters Rights and making their way up Stokes Croft, wobbly club goers part like the red sea onto either side of the road searching for the right food to hit the spot.

    Rita’s or Slix? The question that divides us all.

    Both places have been around since anyone can remember, feeding the 5,000 chicken and chips in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning. Rita’s has more of an expansive menu – you won’t catch a kebab on the menu in Slix - and a man who looks out the window smiling at passersby. But Slix is open until 6am and serves a good portion of fries, so who could really make the decision?

    These two places remain the same in the constantly changing area of Stokes Croft. Get your Rita’s T-shirt whilst you tuck into your food and try to drown out the screaming of orders and overpowering chart music once you have managed to perch on one of the two chairs available. It’s all part of the experience. Slix has a bit less of the in-flight entertainment but sometimes all you want is a quick in-and-out transaction.

    Needless to say you’ve got all the ingredients of a late-night take-away between these two places – irritating drunk people desperate for their kebab, something greasy and over-priced mayo.

    Dennis Kebab

    Where to find it: 40 Cannon St, Bristol BS3 1BN, just off the bottom of North Street

    What to expect: Well, Bedminster is not the most buzzing area past 2am (unless that desire for a kebab arrives on a Sunday night) so you might struggle to find a place to fill your stomach, but this place satisfies the needs of many before packing up for the night. After the trek from town back to your home turf across the river, reward yourself with a well deserved kebab whilst Dennis makes you feel right at home.

    House Speciality: The chicken kebab is notably great.

    Diamond Kebab and Pizza

    Where to find it: 28 Park St, Bristol BS1 5JA

    What to expect: This establishment is for those University of Bristol kids who like to venture further into town for a boogie than the pop-infested Triangle and can’t make it back to the top of the hill for their greasy kebab. It’s even open 24h on a Wednesday, a bit strange, but ideal for those leaving the clubs on the Triangle late on sports society night. Catch a University of Bristol versus UWE scrap outside for entertainment with your meal.

    House Speciality: It’s got to be the lamb doner.

  • 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
  • The Bristol Booze Odyssey #3

    Tony Bolger continues his journey around Bristol's pubbiest pubs…

    Episode 3: The Seven Stars, St Thomas Lane

    The Seven Stars doesn’t quite fit with the motif of my previous outings into Bristol’s ‘pubbiest publand’. Both the Mardyke and The Long Bar are the sort of places that could be kindly described as ‘basic’ and more accurately as ‘rough’.

    Certainly, neither of them can claim to be ‘The Pub That Changed The World’. But that’s the title that Bristol historian Mark Steeds has bestowed on The Seven Stars, a seemingly traditional boozer tucked away next to The Fleece & Firkin in St Thomas.

    “The Seven Stars was the base for Thomas Clarkson when he visited Bristol to begin his investigations into the slave trade,” explains Mark. “It's the site of the world’s first major civil rights movement. You name me any other pub that can claim that.”

    In 1787, Thomas Clarkson arrived in Bristol and began his abolitionist crusade against slavery. At the time, slavery was the backbone of Bristol’s economy so obviously Clarkson faced opposition, hostility and threats of violence at every turn.

    That is, until he was introduced to the landlord of The Seven Stars, a man named Thompson. The two joined forces and using the pub as their headquarters, they conducted their research into the vile industry. Upon investigating the conditions on the slave ships, they learned that the free sailors often received very similar treatment to that of the slaves. Many free seamen were dying on board the slave ships or taking part in mutinies to escape the atrocious conditions on board.

    In fact, these sailors were often conned into signing up to serve aboard these ships while drunk or simply kidnapped like the slaves themselves. Clarkson and Thompson were able to expose the reality of slavery. This was a huge blow to the slave industry and proved pivotal in changing attitudes worldwide because before the slave trade was publicised as a great boon for working seamen.

    “Clarkson found that of the roughly 1000 Bristol sailors engaged in the trade in 1786, almost half never made it home,” Says Mark “He then used the technique in all of Britain’s port cities and the results became a major factor in changing public opinion.”

    There is an ongoing petition to turn the pub into a World Heritage Site and I have no doubt that The Seven Stars, Thompson and Clarkson will eventually receive the recognition they deserve for the huge part they played in changing the world. There’s already a large plaque on the pub’s outside wall explaining its historical importance.

    History coming alive aside, it’s a good, warm pub and won the CAMRA Bristol Pub of The Year in 2010 for its excellent selection of ales. The bar is tucked away down a cobbled lane but the leaping pig sign hanging on the corner serves as a good landmark for finding it. There are five picnic tables outside the pub. Inside, there’s a very chilled, friendly atmosphere with exposed wooden rafters on the ceiling and wooden floor boards.

    This may not be as bar-brawling or riotous as the first two pubs on this list but that’s not to say that this place isn’t a proper down-to-earth boozer. Brit pop is the music of choice, there’s old ads on the walls as well as water colours of ye olde Bristol and a picture of Mona Lisa holding a lager. When you go into the men’s, the smell tells tales of pisses taken in the 1770s and at the back of the pub, perilously close to the toilets is a pool table and dart board. Both couldn't physically be used at once without causing serious injuries, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t always keen to try.

    Mark Steeds is the author of Cry Freedom, Cry Seven Stars (Bristol Radical History Group) available from www.tangentbooks.co.uk.

  • 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

Items 1 to 10 of 24 total

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3