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.


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

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


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


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

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

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.


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')

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

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.

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

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

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

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 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

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