Books Filter books by: reference or recommendations

Our residential courses and workshops in literature and creative writing of all kinds are led by such internationally respected mentors as Mimi Khalvati, Matthew Sweeney, Mark Doty and Judith Barrington. We also offer facilities for your own courses and workshops.


50 Great escapes

Jonathan Lee

This unique travel book takes readers on a tour of the world, as seen through the eyes of writers, photographers, filmmakers, composers, painters, sculptors, and philosophers. The author has tracked down life-changing locations-from cities and remote deserts to gardens and cafés-and recounts their transformative power over some of the world's greatest artists. Each entry features color photographs, practical travel advice, and information on exhibitions, festivals, and museums. The book also includes a global directory of twentyfirst- century hotspots, allowing budding artists to experience a creative epiphany of their own. Travellers planning a trip around an intriguing location, aspiring artists looking for a retreat, and fans keen to explore the stories behind their favourite works will find this guide an entertaining and valuable resource. The Almassera Vella is listed.


A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Europe


Covers Spain


A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe


Covers Spain


A Mesh of Wires

Christopher North

A pamphlet of poems that was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2000


A Pilgrim in Spain

Christopher Howse

A pleasant and, I have to say, old-fashioned travel book through contemporary Spain. Evocatively written and discursive; - the author didn't take a camera and the book is all the better as a result. He has an eye for the humorous and the strange


Al Otro Lado del Aguilar

Christopher North / Terry Gifford

Bilingual poetry collection (Oversteps Books)
ISBN 978 1 906856 18 2

Oversteps Books Website


Alicante 1881-1980

Juan Luis Román de Cerro

Delightful collection of photographs of Alicante and the coast pre tourism.


Birthday Letters - Collected Poems

Ted Hughes - Sylvia Plath

For some evocative poems written about their experiences in Alicante and Benidorm during their honeymoon in 1956.


Black Moon

Matthew Sweeney

This is Matthew Sweeney's tenth collection and a Poetry Book Society recommendation. It includes a number of poems written at the Almassera - including 'Procession' , 'Stone' (for Sandra), and 'Practice'.


Child: New and Selected Poems

Mimi Khalvati

ISBN 978 1 84777 094 3
A PBS Special Recommendation by regular Almassera workshop tutor, Mimi Khalvati

See Mimi Khalvati's website


Costa Blanca - 50 Walks

Gill Round

Just published in English - this is Gill Rounds splendidly researched guide to 50 superb walks in this beautiful terrain. The walks are carefully graded and well described with explanatory maps, excellent photographs and useful height profiles. We've tried a dozen or so of these walks - Gill has captured the essence of mountain walking in this province.
Book ref: ISBN 978-3-7633-4837-4



Jason Webster Doubleday 2003 – ISBN 0385603614

Purportedly about flamenco but more to do with Alicante and Madrid low-life and a fascinating read.



Mimi Khalvati

A brilliant pamphlet collection - a PBS Summer pamphlet choice. Four poems have description of the Almassera Vella including a delightful appearance of Lula. Mimi is to tutor a course at the Almassera Vella starting August 30th 2014

Mimi Khalvati's web-site


Explaining the Circumstances

Christopher North

My first full collection of poems, published by Oversteps Books in 2010 - ten of the poems relate to our experience of living in Relleu.

Oversteps Books Website


Fabled Shore

Rose Macauley

For the section ‘Valencian Shore’.



Tamar Yoseloff

Tamar Yoseloff's third collection - it includes a poem 'Siesta' that was written at the Almassera - with a fine evocation of the siesta hour.

Visit Tamar Yoseloff's website


Fire in the Blood

Ian Gibson

A fine introduction to contemporary Spain.


Flamingoes in the Desert

Kevin Borman

A book about Almeria province but nonetheless with many resonances for Alicante province. Explorations in to wild-life, hill-walking, the film world, geology, industrial archaeology and life in Spain generally


Flowers of South-West Europe


For the serious botanist – essentially covers Spain and Portugal.


Flowers of the Mediterranean

Huxley & Polunin

Good general introduction to Mediterranean flowers.


Gastro Guia de la Costa Blanca

Carlos Llorca y Angeles Ruiz

Sumptious survey of the varied Levant cuisine a restaurants– a must for foodies. (In Spanish.)


Ghosts of Spain

Giles Tremlett

A highly readable survey of modern Spain which explores the lingering traces of Civil War tragedies plus a contempory update on the one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. A particulary amusing chapter on Benidorm.


Guia de los Pozos de Nieva de la Provincia de Alicante

M V Martinez & J R Gosálvez

A very thorough and beautifully presented guide to the extraordinary ancient storage chambers for snow that can be found throughout the Alicante mountains. The maps included provide excellent aids to exploratory mountain walking.


Guia Senda Verde

FEMECV collaboration

An essential walking guide showing the public footpaths clearly and with gradients , distances etc. Now very difficult to find.



James A Mitchener

The best general introduction to Spain I’ve read.


Iberian Villages

Norman F. Carver

Beautifully illustrated survey of Spanish village vernacular.


In Spain

Ted Walker

A rambly, poet’s introduction to Spain. The late Ted Walker lived in Denia, a short way up the coast from Relleu.


Inland Trips from the Costa Blanca

Derek Workman

An excellent guide to the fascinating villages and landscapes away from the Costa Blanca itself.


Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams

Sylvia Plath

for the ‘The Widow Mangada’ about a formidable Benidorm landlady. – also Plath’s ‘Letters Home’ and ‘The Journals of Sylvia Plath’ contain some interesting material.


Landscapes of the Costa Blanca

J and C Oldfield

Excellent introduction to the excellent walking opportunities in the Marina Alta and Baja. Walks 13 and 14 are a short distance from the Almàssera.


Las Fuentes de la Memoria

Publio López Mondéjar

Superb collection of 19th century photographs of Spain.



Mercedes Arranz

A contemporary Spanish novel set in Alicante. (In Spanish).



Judith Barrington

A beautifully written and moving memoir describing a young woman's attempts to come to terms with the tragic loss of her parent's before she was able to resolve her relationship with them. Much of the narrative takes place in Spain - the life of Figeras a town on the Costa Brava in the 60's is splendidly evoked.

Visit Judith Barrington's website


Master and Commander

Patrick O'Brian

The first in a series of wonderful novels depicting Naval life during the Napoleonic Wars. Much of the action of this opening book takes place off the Levant coast (the 'Costa Blanca')


Mountain Walks on the Costa Blanca

Bob Stansfield

The best English book to date on the tougher walks in the mountains of the Marina Baja, Alta etc. Needs to be supplemented by the 1:50.000 Carta Militars.


Our Lady of the Sewers

Paul Richardson

Some witty essays about life in Spain.



Jane Draycott

Jane Draycott's third full collection. Formerly one of the Oxford Poets and former winner of the Keats Shelley Prize, Jane has tutored at the Almassera Vella and worked here on retreat. Her haunting poem 'Return to Relleu' is included in this fine collection.

Jane Draycotts web-site


Parajes Mágicos

R Cebrián & F Jarque

Dramatic colour photographs of the mountains of Alicante and Valencia provinces.


Pintura Alicantina

Adrián Espí Valdés

A beautifully presented volume illustrating the relatively unknown schools of artists practising in the Alicante area in the 19th century particularly in Alcoy. The survey includes artists working up to the outbreak of the Civil War.

More in Google Books


Plantas Silvestres de la Communidad Valenciana

G Stubing & J B Peris

The best field guide I have found for the wild flowers of Valencia and Alicante province.


Presencia de Xavier Soler

José Bauza

A monograph (in Spanish) on the Alicante landscape Artist Xavier Soler. An artist that really caught the textures, colour and ambience of the Marina Baja landscape.

A web-site with Biographical information


Red Rock Dreaming

The poets of Stanza Alacant

An anthology of work from the Poetry Society 'Stanza Alacant' based in Benissa and Chaired by Christopher North. The poems here are 'evocations of life on the Levant coast. Some are translated. "A complex map of landscape, history, politics and feeling" Jane Draycott.

Available from Rod Davis
McFarlands Publishing


Redgrove's Wife

Penelope Shuttle

Her brilliant seventh collection of poems - shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize in 2006.


Relleu 'Conocer un Pueblo'

Alejandro Sendra

A local history of the village of Relleu written in Spanish with some sections in Valenciano. It was written in the 80s by a distinguished local doctor with the help of various members of the cultural association of Relleu. It traces the development of the village from the Iberian race that occupied the site of Relleu before the Romans, the Roman occupation, the Visigoth period,the Moorish and medieval periods up to the opening of the 20th century. Christopher and Marisa North and Sue Boulton are in the process of translating this volume into English.


Running Out of Space

John Foggin

John's first pamphlet collection - mostly drafted here. It includes the moving 'Broken English'. John has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Leeds and was first prize winner in the Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition 2014 and the Plough Poetry Competition in 2013


Running Out of Space

John Foggin

John Foggin's latest pamphlet collection. Two recently won major competitions. Most started life at the Almassera Vella - including the moving 'Broken English'

John's Facebook page


Sandgrains and Hourglass

Penelope Shuttle

Penelope Shuttle's ninth collection of poems; very much a companion volume to her much acclaimed 'Redgrove's Wife'. Some of these poems were drafted at the Almassera Vella.

The Poetry Archive


Secrets of the Pomegranate

Barbara Lamplugh

A dramatic first novel concerning expat life in Granada. Barbara comes on writing retreats to the Almassera Vella from Sacramonte, Granada


Spanish Lessons

Derek Lambert

Story of a couple setting up in Denia – just up the coast from Relleu.
Published by Ebury Press 2001


Special Places to Stay SPAIN

Ed Jose Navarro

Alastair Sawday's Directories are fast becoming the essential guide book for travellers seeking interesting and off-beat places to stay. The Almassera is in the 'Levante' section.

Alastair Sawday's Guides (Spain)


The Forging of a Rebel

Arturo Barea

Autobiographical trilogy - and one of the best books I know for evoking Spain just before and during the Civil War. The author acted as a press officer for the Republicans - and during the height of the seige of Madrid he takes a recuperative break in Altea on the coast near Relleu. The chapter in question brilliantly evokes the Levant coast at that time - before tourism obliterated the old coastal towns.

Published by Granta in 2001


The Meanest Flower

Mimi Khalvati

This poetry collection , recommended by the Poetry Book Society includes the long poem 'A Mediterranean of the Mind' which was written on retreat at the Almassera and is a fine evocation of the village and its people.

See Mimi Khalvati's website


The Night Surveyor

Christopher North

My latest collection from Oversteps Books. These are poems that explore family roots and encounters with literature and landscape - 'Unafraid and personal' Jane Draycott

I will be running a course on the writer's journal starting November 22nd this year.


The Penguin Book of Spanish Verse

ed. J M Cohen

Thorough with prose translations.


The Prison Poems

Miguel Hernandez

Alicante's Civil War Poet - a friend of Garcia Lorca , Hernandez is less known internationally but is as significant a poet. Translated and introduced by Michael Smith. There is also a Bloodaxe bi-lingual selection of Hernandez poetry

First published 2008


The Spanish Woman’s Kitchen

Pepita Aris

Good section on the Levante.


The Unreliable Mushrooms: New and Selected Poems

Terry Gifford

New and Selected poems from Terry Gifford who spends half the year in Sella, the nearest village to Relleu. Terry is a leading scholar on the work of Ted Hughes and will be running a Ted Hughes Study Week at the Almassera Vella starting October 4th 2014


Wild Spain

Frederic Grunfeld

An introduction to Spain’s superb wild life parks.


Wolves Recently Sighted

Christopher North

Published in 2014 by Templar Books - a collection of poems - most inspired by life and experiences on the Levant coast of Spain. It was a prizewinner in the Templar Pamphlet competition of 2014