Virginia Astley Readings

Virginia Astley Readings

‘There is magic to be found in the text and photographs here, and also in this beautiful rendering of what the river actually is.’ – Pete Townshend, The Who

Songwriter and poet Virginia Astley’s debut poetry collection The English River: a journey down the Thames in poems & photographs, recording her walk along the river’s length, will be published by Bloodaxe Books on 21 June 2018.  Virginia will be launching the book at Waterstones in Dorchester on 27 June, accompanied by her daughter on harp, with further readings to follow at record stores and at venues along the Thames. The book is introduced by Pete Townshend of The Who.

Virginia Astley grew up by the river’s upper reaches, knew the lock-keepers and was familiar with all aspects of the Thames and its hinterland.  These poems tell the story of her return to the Thames, of three years spent tracing its course and of the lives of those connected with the river, as well as her summer spent as a lock-keeper’s assistant based on the upper reach. 

Virginia Astley has been a much-admired singer and songwriter since the 1980s, known for her engaging lyrics as well as for her melodious style. Since the publication of her chapbook The Curative Harp in 2015, poetry has been added to the mix.  In 2017 she became writer-in-residence at Thomas Hardy’s Cottage. She continues to perform, together with her daughter Florence on harp, regularly at Max Gate – Thomas Hardy’s house in Dorchester.

The English River is Book of the Month for June 2018 on Caught by the River.  Poem & photograph from the book featured here.


Wednesday 27 June 2018, 11am, Waterstones, 45-46 South Street, Dorchester, Dorset 

Poetry Recital with Virginia Astley

Launch event at Waterstones in Dorchester.  Poetry reading by Virginia Astley, with live harp music performed by her daughter Florence.

Click here to book.

Saturday 4 August 2018, 2pm, Drift Records, Totnes  

Virginia Astley will be reading at Drift Records in Totnes, with live music on flute and harp.

Shop details here.

Virginia Astley will be reading at some of the locks along the River Thames - details to be announced. 

[07 June 2018]

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