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Ellen Phethean Hom The Ropes: Poems to hold on to
Ellen Phethean

Welcome to the website of Ellen Phethean, poet, playwright and editor and co-founder of Diamond Twig press. Ellen's first full collection of poetry, Breath was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award. It is now back in print, from Red Squirrel Press, who also published her second collection, Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman, and have now published her new book, Ren and the Blue Hands.

Smokestack books published Wall, Ellen's first novel for teenagers written in poems; her second novel, Hom, was published in installments on this website. She says "It's unusual in that it is written in poems but it uses dialogue, monologue and dialect and is meant to read like mini installments of a novel." Read more about Hom here, or use the monthly archives to start at the beginning.

Every month, Ellen selects a poem that she finds wonderful, interesting, challenging, and fresh: she celebrates Nove,ber with an autumn walk through London, with Celia McCulloch.

Diamond Twig Press: Important News

Diamond Twig Press is closing down for good.

Ellen writes: we haven't published anything for a number of years, apart from a poem of the month on this website. Stocks are dwindling and no money is coming in, so it's not worth the running costs to keep the website up. I had a stall at the Star Bazaar at Star and Shadow, Warwick Street, Heaton, Newcastle on Saturday 27th October, and made £41- when you consider I was selling books for 10p and 50p, that was quite a lot of books: 278 in total. And this is your last chance to buy books at those prices through the website - but hurry, as - but stocks are low (and some titles are already sold out). Have a look at our catalogue to see what is available, and how to buy.

We will be hosting a Goodbye Diamond Twig Party at The Lit and Phil Library, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, on Wednesday 5th December 7.00 - 9.00pm with readings from some of the published poets, and a chance to reminisce and celebrate. Free. All welcome.

I will be setting up my own online presence, where I will publicise my own books and activities and hope to continue highlighting a poem of the month.

The old Diamond Twig website content will be archived and available to search.

Thank you to all our poets, writers, readers, customers, The Poetry Virgins, Cornwell Internet and financial supporters over the years, including New Writing North and Arts Council.

This website will cease to operate at the end of 2018 and in 2019 I will begin running my own website. Details to follow when ready.

Until then, continue to look out for poem of the month, watch out for my online diary and peruse the catalogue for anything you want to buy.

With thanks and warm wishes to everyone and with fond memories of Julia Darling,
Ellen Phethean

Ren and the Blue Hands

Cover art from 'Ren and the Blue Hands, by Tessa Green

In a world on the cusp of change, Ren, a Blue Hand dyer, is plucked from the Dye Sheds to become Lady's maid up at Barrow Hall. Excitement turns to uncertainty as her mistress Lady Lilac entangles her in a plot which threatens the Shebble Dye industry that has supported Ren's family and the Islands for generations. When the secret organisation, the Mazards, are exposed, Ren must think and act for herself. Torn between helping the conspirators, loyalty to her roots and her love for fellow conspirator Bark, Ren is driven by passion into danger, where right and wrong are hard to tell, and only a terrible event can help her see more clearly.

Inspired by real historical events, but set in the fictional 16th Century Calico Isles, Ellen Phethean's YA novel, Ren and the Blue Hands, was longlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2012: "A vividly imagined historical background, and interesting mixture of politics and romance. Ren is a courageous female hero whom readers will empathise with and root for."

Ellen talks about the book in her diary - and she was interviewed by Kat the BookNerd (@Kat_thebooknerd) as part of a virtual blog tour ahead of the 2016 UKYA and Children's Extravaganza.

Ren and the Blue Hands was published by Postbox Press (an imprint of Red Squirrel Press) on 1st November 2016.


More information about Ellen Phethean here.


Politics & Poetry

Keith Morris Memorial Concert DVD cover

The Keith Morris Memorial Concert: Politics and Poetry at Gateshead Old Town Hall won the 'Performance of the Year' award in the Journal Culture Awards 2016.

The concert, on June 7th 2015 at Gateshead Old Town Hall, was recorded live and features dozens of musicians, a brace of poets and a whole lot of politics!

The CD and DVD are now available to purchase online, at £6 each or £10 bought together. Use the drop-down lists to say how many of each you want, we’ll do the sums. There is a flat charge of £1.50 per order for postage and packing.

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Use the diamonds to find your way around this site: and if you can't find what you are looking for, check the Site Map, which includes a full list of our authors, and our publications, which we hope you'll buy.


Diamond Twig publications are supported by lottery funding from The Arts Council England, North East. This website is sponsored by Samara James, diamond engagement rings specialists, Marlows Diamond Rings, and by Purely Diamonds, specialists in Eternity Rings.

Photo © Hogg Photography.

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Last updated 2nd November 2018.

Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England