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Dreams of the Blue Poppy out now as an e-book!

April 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm

If it hadn’t been for my sister buying a Victorian garden and building a house there, looking over at Pennine Valley, I would probably never have written Dreams of the Blue Poppy, my novel originally published by Robert Hale. It was there, in that garden, that my sister showed me meconopsis grandis, the Tibetan Blue Poppy, growing against a sandstone wall. I had never seen a flower so beautiful and such an amazing blue, and despite never having really taken an interest in gardening before, I set out on a quest to find out about this incredible flower. I was already very interested in Tibet, and when I began researching the book, I felt I had to go to the Himalayas to see where the Blue Poppy grew naturally on the mountainsides….

Now, Dreams of the Blue Poppy is coming out as an e-book, with innovative new publishers The Book Mill, masterminded by Neil Ferber and author Kathleen Jones. Available on Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords.

Click here for further details at Amazon.

Kathleen Jones has written a great review of the book, with a very insightful resume which you can read on her review blog – one of the best around – at http://www.kathleenjonesdiary.blogspot.co.uk/

And there’s an interview on Kathleen’s blog which you can find at http://www.kathleenjonesauthor.blogspot.com

The Book Mill have done some beautiful artwork on the book, which I’m really thrilled about – especially the cover. It’s really a work of art!

I originally went to Nepal and worked with the Tibetans as part of my research for the book, and this led to the publication of my travel book about Nepal and the Himalayas On Juniper Mountain which came out in 2009 with O – Books. Dreams of the Blue Poppy also led to the foundation of Juniper Trust our international charity which works sustainably with communities across the world, which I began in Nepal, and which now works in partnership with travel specialists KE Adventure Travel and a group of fantastic volunteers to build schools and improve health across the world.

Video: Dandelion Rock recital at Suffolk Poetry Society May 2015 and news from my return to Aldeburgh!

October 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

It was great to rejoin the Suffolk Poetry Society again a few years ago. It’s a great organisation, dedicated to spreading the love of, and the writing of poetry throughout the big county of Suffolk. I was born and grew up in Suffolk, living and working there until my 20s. I had the honour to the adopted by the Suffolk Poetry Society in my teens as an honorary member, and the support the Society gave me for my (then) rather experimental work was absolutely crucial to my development as a poet, and later, as a novelist and travel writer.

At the end of May I gave a workshop for the SPS’s second Poetry Festival on ‘Elemental Fire: Landscape into Inspiration’, which was very well received. The standards of the poets in the Society is very high indeed, and I had a great time. I came back in the evening to give a recital on stage at the Arts Centre, video attached.

In October this year, I was very pleased to be a winner in the Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition for the second year, and have just come back from performing my Commended poem in Aldeburgh. I have made loads of new friends, and found everyone very inspiring – it was lovely to be back in Suffolk again, and to stay in Aldeburgh thanks to the kindness of dear friends, with lots of happy memories. Video of that to follow!

You can view all my recitals from the 2nd Festival of Suffolk Poetry in May 2015 on The Suffolk Poetry Society YouTube Channel.

Watch this space for news on the launch of my own YouTube channel.


Lakeland Writing Retreat 2015

November 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

8th-10th May 2015 The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale, Cumbria

  Words in the landscape!

This year we have the exciting opportunity of writing at Rydal Mount, the beautiful Lake District house where Wordsworth spent much of his life with his family, and wrote much of his significant work. Here Wordsworth walked in the garden and composed his poetry, and here his family grew up. Here too, so many of the great figures of the Romantic Movement came to stay or visit, and some of the great authors of the time. As writers, We are being given the opportunity to have private time here – an exclusive tour of the house and gardens with a guide, and then time undisturbed to write in this very special place. It should be a magical experience! If you would like to know more about Rydal Mount, you can go on the website at www.rydalmount.co.uk


Since we founded Lakeland Writing Retreats last year, we have had an amazing response, and a great deal of interest, from writers across the world. Grevel Lindop and I had the idea of bringing together the literary history of the Lake District with original writing from a group of writers in an entirely new way of looking at the literary landscape. We brought together our particular skills to create an exciting Writers’ Retreat which is entirely new. You can download a brochure for the second Lakeland Writing Retreat to be held next May, to take place in the Northern Fells of the English Lake District, where Wordsworth, Coleridge and the other Romantic poets were inspired to change the literary landscape…for ever.

Given the level of interest so far, it would be a good idea to book early – and if you have any questions just e-mail Angela Locke on angelic@globalnet.co.uk or Grevel Lindop on GCGLindop@aol.com. You can download our 2015 brochure and booking form below….


Lakeland Writing Retreat 2015 Brochure & Booking Form

We hope to write with you in the Lake District in 2015!
Best wishes
Angela Locke

Maryport Literary Festival, 14th – 16th November 2014

October 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm


The Maryport Literary Festival team are delighted and honoured that the author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton, has agreed to be our Patron. This literary weekend, originally started on a wing and a prayer, has become increasingly successful and can now celebrate reaching its seventh year.

Participants can expect an eclectic mix in this ‘boutique’ Festival, which is always full of literary surprises and opportunities to interact with authors and gain insights into the creative process. All this takes place in the picturesque setting of the Senhouse Roman Museum, overlooking the Solway Firth.

Our Festival is unique in having a theme inspired by the Senhouse Roman Museum collections, featuring authors of works linked to that theme. This year the theme is Tribal Voices, and we will be exploring aspects of tribal identity, how ancestral voices have influenced our culture now and in the past _ everywhere from the Clans of the Highlands to the culture of Ancient China.

Tribal Voices has proved to be an exciting journey in the planning. It will encompass a wide range of literary works, from Paula Daly’s brilliant debut novel, set in Windermere (Just What Kind of Mother Are You?), to the UK launch of a new book about life in Maryport, The Seagulls are Silent, by long-term resident and first-time author Margaret Poland. Other speakers will include John Spurling discussing his acclaimed novel about China: The Ten Thousand Things, best-selling author Jean Briggs, whose book Island in the Mist is set in the Roman port of Alauna ( now Maryport), while our Saturday evening keynote speaker, Art historian Cate Haste, , explores the formative influence of family and landscape on the painters Sheila Fell, and on Craigie Aitchison, the subject of her new biography.

Hosts for the events will be author Angela Locke, who co-organises the LitFest, and highly respected author and poet Grevel Lindop, author of The Literary Guide to the Lake District. The Festival will be opened on Friday 14th November by broadcaster and author Fiona Armstrong. She and her husband Sir Malcolm MacGregor (Chief of the Clan MacGregor and a widely published photographer) will talk about the history of the Clans in Scotland.

We hope you will be able to come to this year’s Maryport Literary Festival and will find it an inspiring and enjoyable experience. We would love to see you there!

You can view and print this years programme and booking form via the links below…

Maryport LitFest 2014 programme page 1
Maryport Litfest 2014 inside page
Maryport LitFest 2014 programme page 2

Suffolk Poetry Society: The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, Suffolk 30 May 2015

October 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm


I’m very honoured to have been asked to run a Poetry Workshop for next year’s Suffolk Poetry Society Festival, as below. The link to the SPS is as on my website.

Elemental Fire: Landscape into Inspiration.

As poets, what is it that connects us to the world we inhabit, both our internal and external landscapes? Everything from the sublime beauty of geese flighting by moonlight to the gritty reality of a sunset over an industrial town is all grist to the mill – a source of inspiration and imagery which is infinitely rich. Here too is the ‘ancient language’ of the living Earth which for the Romantic poets was the touchstone of their poetry. We are of the Earth, and our connections are profound.

In this workshop we will explore landscapes of memory and moment; our connection with the elements which gives us that fire of inspiration. Landscape is a major theme in my workshops, from my annual Writing Retreat on Iona, now in its 14th year, to my Lakeland Writing Retreats in the Lake District, and workshops in the mysterious country of Finistere, beside giant standing stones. Growing up in Suffolk, my first inspiration was my childhood spent on the River Orwell, and in the marshes of Essex in an old wooden boat. Landscape is the fire which is driven my poetry from the beginning, and I seek to share this passion with other writers. In this workshop, through exercises, guided visualisations and connections with landscape through memory, I hope to open new doors of perception. You will be welcomed whether you are new to writing poetry, or a poet with much experience. I am delighted to return to the SPS to lead this workshop, so many years after I began my association with the Suffolk Poetry Society as a young poet.

It was lovely to be beside the sea at Aldeburgh two years ago for the annual Crabbe Memorial Competition, with the Suffolk Poetry Society. The sun was shining, the sea was flat as a blue pancake (is there such a thing?) – we were on the East Coast! My old alma mater. I grew up in Suffolk and lived there, apart from going away to study, until I was in my early 20s. I was adopted early on by SPS as their protégé and given enormous encouragement – the only encouragement I got as a writer for many years. My father didn’t approve, for a start, and thought I should have a respectable profession, so I eventually trained as a teacher, while still editing the college magazine, writing jazz poetry, and later working part-time as a journalist. Ipswich High School GPDST, my school, was not always as enlightened in those days as it is now, and although I had a splendid education there, for which I’ll be forever grateful, they were not always very keen on my rather experimental poetry. However, the then Head of English (rather terrifying) descended upon me one day in the Sixth Form corridor (I can still smell the polish) to pronounce that if the Suffolk Poetry Society, a venerable institution even in those days, has taken me under their wing, she supposed she would have to put me in the school magazine. After all, I was a bit of a rebel, and my first poems were probably something of a shock!

Anyway, one of the poems which had won a prize that year at the SPS Crabbe Poetry Competition was Green Jell-O, was also previously long-listed for the Bridport Prize and is still up there on their website. The poem is actually about the East Coast, and was written during a workshop which Grevel Lindop www.grevel.co.uk and I were doing together, prompted by memories of rowing with my father in the pram dinghy up the Orwell River, the subject of, and inspiration for, so much of my writing. Despite the privations of the sleeping in a damp fo’c’stle, under rough army blankets, and with Kilner jars of stew for dinner, I loved every minute of it.

Moon moon moon , the other prize-winning poem, which received a Highly Commended, was inspired by my grandson Joe, who especially loved the moon when he was small and would stand looking out the French Windows repeating moon moon moon- almost his first words. Now, like any healthy seven year old he is keener on football, rugby and Barcelona!

You can view my Suffolk Poetry Society profile here.

a farewell to Iona and information for Iona 2015

September 4, 2014 at 11:40 pm



As the bee –lines lead to the flower’s heart,
so I come here again, an uncertain traveller,
storm-blown into this quiet air, the soft pricking of rain.
Nothing is what we expect in this place;
it is a crucible of change and if we are open to it,
not resisting, there is nothing that will not change in us –
our writing, our direction, our ability to take risks, to fly.

©Angela Locke

It was sad to leave Iona looking so hauntingly beautiful, leaving behind so many wonderful memories. The work was tremendous, the rapport between everyone amazing, so much support for everyone, kindness and laughter, and the fantastic writing, combined to make it all very special indeed, and we hope for all the writers too.

I stood in the doorway of The Argyll just before leaving.The thought occurred to me, in that deep moment, as I was feeling so regretful about parting from that beautiful island, that we should take Iona with us in our hearts wherever we go. To remember the things that are so important to our ‘spiritual’ growth, to our souls, which we have discovered in this very special place, and which we should carry with us always. Not only the beauty and the sacred quality of the island, which draws so many people with good reason, but also the companionship, the time to laugh and above all time to go inside and find our true voices, our deep creativity, in whatever form that may take. It was such a gift for me to see how everyone blossomed on the island in such a short time, enabling us to see their talent and ability as writers. In that moment, in the doorway of the Argyll Hotel, looking out over the Sound of Iona, in sparkling sunshine with the boats at rest, I thought what an immense privilege it is for me to be able to do this work, in such a special place.



2-7 September 2015 Argyll Hotel, Iona, Scotland


Somerled’s Final Voyage

September 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm


Somerled’s final voyage
At that time when day turns to night.
When the sea holds its breath,
stills its voice.
The wind drops and keeps its peace.
A black-sailed burlin
slips into the sound, sails furled.
Sheets strumming their own rhythm,
to join the sailors’ lament
and the grey seals sing their eerie song.
Somerled sails his final voyage.

As the mighty keel comes to rest on the sand
The Lord of the Isles is carried home.
With the setting of the sun,
With a pounding of silver hooves,
With the ringing of many golden bells
The fairies of the west come with the mist
To welcome the great hero home.
On a road paved with tears
Somerled is borne by warriors who weep.

His fighting done, his battles won
In Oran’s chapel he lies.
A spear in hand, a sword at hip
And a battle-scarred shield to guard his heart.
For all time he will sleep with saints,
A faithful hound to guard his rest.

Jane Laskey, Iona 2007

Sacred Earth…

August 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm

‘Sacred Earth’ is from Angela Locke’s fourth collection ‘Sacred Earth’. It has been used in Quest, the international spiritual programme for universities across the world.


The humanity of Earth
is a woven part of our consciousness,
and of her Nature. Without us,
we would not ‘know’ that Earth is,
and Earth could not know herself.

She sees herself in our eyes
as beautiful. We stand on the
seashore and watch the waves
and know we are alive,
and Earth through us
knows her aliveness.

We know the morning
birdsong and the secret night,
and we give Earth back her treasures.

So life dreams itself
and we dream Earth in this unimaginable
Universe, where infinity waits for us
to find ourselves.

Maybe we are Earth’s senses, cells
on her surface that tell her what she is like;
where trees are, ravines
and deep secret places,
white snows, eagle nests, flicking
rainbow fish in deep waters, how it feels
to walk barefoot on her rain-drenched grass.

We sing the song of Earth
with our everyday being. Be careful.

We are singing her dream back to her.
We may sing her to sleep, or death.

Reprinted in Quest: Exploring a Sense of Soul : O-Books  2005


Maryport LitFest: 8th – 10th of November: Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport:

October 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm

LitFest POSTER 2013

I can’t quite believe it’s only just over a week until the sixth annual Maryport LitFest! We’ve been working on it since last January, and it’s been a really exciting journey. It’s such a privilege to work with so many interesting authors, and the icing on the cake was when author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg agreed to come and open the Festival on the night of Friday, November 8, and talk about his new book Grace and Mary. He has been so supportive and kind, and the whole team really appreciate it. I’ve also had the marvelous pleasure of listening to Eric Robson’s voice-mails. That chap really should be on the radio! I can’t wait to hear his talk on Wet! which includes an account of his amazing journey round the coast of Cumbria, to be published in the spring. And I’m so looking forward to seeing biographer Kathleen Jones again – she’s been in Italy for a while, has come back to a brand-new granddaughter born last week in the UK, and yet is still going to make the journey across Cumbria to come and talk about her new biography of Norman Nicholson. As the main theme of the festival is Neptune and his Realm, the coastal towns have been so important in weaving a theme together – and Nicholson and Millom are practically a double act!

There are so many marvellous writers coming to give pleasure to the LitFest audience, and I can’t wait for it all to kick off on the Friday night!

Tickets are still available for all the events. Just phone the RomanMuseumon (01900) 816168 or go on the website at www.senhousemuseum.co.uk

Melvyn Bragg to open our sixth annual Maryport LitFest!

October 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm


The sixth annual Maryport LitFest is only three weeks away! We’ve worked so hard on it since January, and now it’s nearly here!

And the great news is that the author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, otherwise Baron Bragg of Wigton, has so generously agreed to come and open the Festival on Friday, 8 November. He will talk about his new book Grace and Mary, which I have read twice, and found delicate, beautiful and moving. It explores the desperate sadness around seeing someone close to you with Alzheimer’s, and then goes back into the previous generation to make sense of personal history. I find it a very tender, loving novel, which is clearly close to the author’s heart. As my own mother died of Alzheimer’s in Cumbria in 2001 – just into the new century – and her history has so many of the same echoes as the mother in Melvyn Bragg’s novel, I found the book almost unbearably to read. It moved me to tears, and yet in its own way there was something very cathartic in its journey through that sad rite of passage.

It is immensely generous of someone so busy as Melvyn Bragg to make the time for our intimate little Festival. This is a real chance to get up close and personal with the authors in a very private and special setting – that welcoming quality, and the way we weave a theme around the whole weekend, in this case Neptune and his Realm, based on a rare head of Neptune which the museum is bringing up from the vaults for the Festival, and an altar to Neptune, makes it unique in the world of LitFests. Do try to come – and book soon, as tickets are going fast! You can click on the link to see our full program, and a flyer, below. Hope to see you there!


Maryport LitFest 2013 Flyer


Dreams of the Blue Poppy receives ‘Awesome Indies’ approval!

July 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Really pleased that Awesome Indies have today recommended the e-book of ‘Dreams of the Blue Poppy’. Have a look at http://www.facebook.com/AwesomeIndies
The Awesome Indies site shares recommendations, reviews and promotions of independently published books.