“A sincere call for change”

New review by Katriina Rowan

The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl by Paul Thornycroft

Paul Thornycroft’s novel The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl is an acknowledgement of the impact mankind has on the natural world and a sincere call for change. Thornycroft engages deeply with environmental issues as he portrays Mowzl the mouse negotiating his way through the human world and reflecting on mankind’s treatment of nature.

The novel follows Mowzl as he is pulled from his world in the future through a mysterious fog into the human world. Although he is a real mouse in his home world, Mowzl is transformed into a toy in the human world where he is found by a man called Pip. He asks Pip to help him find his way back to his home, whilst Pip hopes that he can help him overcome the sad feelings that trouble him. Mowzl is quick to identify that Pip is suffering because he sees the devastating effect mankind’s greed has on the natural world yet feels unable to stop it. Mowzl explains that humans see themselves as separate from nature and that they do not listen to wildlife. As Mowzl shows his human friends how to listen, Thornycroft gives nature a voice through which mankind’s actions and thoughtlessness are criticised.

Whilst the novel acknowledges and highlights the effect humans’ actions have on nature, it focuses more heavily on the need for a change in the way in which humans consider the environment. In this respect, The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl promotes a mindful understanding of the natural world, raising awareness for environmental issues and leaving the reader with a hopeful sentiment.

New Review: A Journalism Handbook for Media Entrepreneurs

By Jemma O’Donovan

‘A Journalism Handbook For Media Entrepreneurs’ is a handbook that looks extensively into how someone can start a media outlet by themselves, and how they would be able to keep their finances under control and to make the most of every situation. This book is full of advice and tips on how to start a successful career in journalism, and it covers every aspect you could ever need.

Upon first reading this handbook, the first thing that I found helpful was the checklist. All of the questions perfectly summarised each chapter and topic of the book, and as an aspiring writer, I found that the checklist managed to help me take away the most important points of each chapter, and that if I were to actively follow this handbook and take the steps to becoming a journalist, I think that the checklist would allow me to make sure that I had taken in the information and that I was ready to put it into practice.

I found that this handbook was very easy to follow and it never told the readers to do something without explaining how to do it, and I think this was what I valued most, because I have read handbooks in the past that express commands but do not give any tips. But this book does exactly what it promises to, and with the help of leading journalists from all over the world, I think that anyone who reads this handbook will be well-equipped to take huge steps into the world of journalism.

New Review: No Homeless Problem

by Jemma O’Donovan

‘No Homeless Problem’ is a collection of poetry written by Belfast-born Séamus Fox. Throughout this book, Fox clues readers in on what it’s really like to be homeless by drawing on his own experiences, and by using the accounts and stories of 44 individuals who have also experienced the difficulties of being homeless.

The main thing I thought was most effective about reading this book is that I was able to peer into the lives of so many different people, and that what I was reading are true experiences of people who have lived through the horrors of having nowhere to go. This is what made this collection so hard to read, but also what made me keep on reading. I found that by being able to learn about the complications of homelessness that the majority of people don’t get to see (such as in ‘Attempted Murder’, ‘Yellow’, and ‘Life’) really aided my understanding on the harsh reality of what can happen to human beings when they’re not looked after by other human beings, and it reaffirmed the importance of community and support.

At times, I found that some of the poems seemed to have similar voices that blended into one, but I actually think this was effective when it comes to the intentions of this book because it showed me that these experiences always happen to the homeless, no matter who they are or what they once had. I don’t think this approach would’ve worked with any other poetry collection, but Fox pulls it off very well.

This collection of poetry is incredibly thought-provoking, and it ultimately led me to think about the way I perceive homelessness and the ways that I can help and leave a positive impact on people who need it most. For example, ‘Good Samaritan’ and ‘A Bowl of Noodles’ show examples that no matter how big or small a gesture, they will always be appreciated. This collection taught me that all that matters is that we, as human beings, look after each other.

The Publishing Excellence Programme

by Enya Holland

The Publishing Excellence Programme, developed by a handful of publishers to offer comprehensive work experience for those seeking a career in publishing or media, is currently considering new applicants. The Programme offers the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills as well as an insight into working within the industry from successful publishers across the country. Publishers currently offering the Programme include Arkbound (Bristol), Valiant (Birmingham), UpScribe (Newcastle), The Write Factor (North Devon) and Mother’s Milk Books (Nottingham).

The Programme involves one-to-one mentorship and is structured in modules covering the essential skills needed to pursue a career in the sector. Candidates can choose from an eight-week programme that focuses on several aspects of book publishing or a twelve-week programme that covers books and magazines and the basics of journalism.  Both programmes have been designed to allow the candidate to develop a first-hand understanding of the publishing process from start to finish. Modules focus on core skills such as proofreading and editing while building knowledge of processes from formatting manuscripts to managing author-publisher relationships.

Assessment of the programme is carried out throughout the placement, with either three or six core assessments depending on the length of the programme selected. Assessment tasks include manuscript proofreading, book reviews and short-story writing. Candidates will be provided with an embossed certificate on completion of the Programme, providing a useful CV-boost, as well as a detailed reference.

In addition to the knowledge and experience gained through the Programme, candidates will be supported in their next steps. This includes first selection for internships and roles within the host publisher or referral to partner companies. During the Programme, candidates will also have the opportunity to establish useful connections within the industry, with the option to work in different locations and take part in seminars and creative workshops. Some successful candidates have even gone on to start their own publishing outlets. The Arkbound Publishing Network is open to those who complete the Programme, offering guidance to those who wish to pursue this route.

The Programme is offered to those eligible to work in the UK with excellent written English skills and proficiency in Microsoft Word. Entry to the Programme is subject to the successful completion of two assessments. It may be possible for candidates to be sponsored for the Programme by Arkbound or another funding body, depending on eligibility.

Bridging the Gaps in the Publishing Industry

byFrances Golinski Drinkwater

The publishing industry is broad and ever-changing, attracting book-lovers and academics alike – anyone with a creative mind and an interest in communicating important ideas. The industry has faced huge pressures in recent decades, with rapid changes due to increasing use of technology: fewer people are now reading fiction – book sales in this sector fallen by 23% since 2012, and more people are accessing content online (digital sales increased by 6% in 2016 and now account for 35% of total revenues). Nevertheless, publishing, whether in books or magazines, is still a great place to work, offering wide range of roles in a changing industry.

However, publishing faces two major problems: it is highly competitive and there is a distinct lack of diversity – both in the writers being published and the professionals working within the industry. Perhaps surprisingly, publishing has a higher applicant-position ratio than both finance and law, so competition for jobs is tough. Without training, industry knowledge and work experience, even competent university graduates struggle to find paid work in the industry. Applicants may find themselves stuck in that common cycle of lack of experience leading to no job offers leading to lack of experience. Even those who do manage to land an internship, will likely find that it’s unpaid, favouring more privileged individuals who can afford to work for free. The statistics speak for themselves: in 2017, bookcareers.com surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that more than 90% currently working in the industry classify themselves as white British.

Its not just the people who work in the industry who are overwhelmingly white – its also the writers they publish? In 2016 World Book Night, organised by the UK charity The Reading Agency, was criticised for its all-white author’s list of 15 giveaway books (their 2018 list is just slightly better, with 5 out of 23 writers of colour). World Book Day also issued its own all-white list of authors in Autumn 2016, along with the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature, who similarly failed to nominate any writers of colour to a longlist of 20.

Arkbound, the ‘publisher that has social enterprise at its heart’ confronts both of these problems. Founded in 2015, the Bristol-based publisher is dedicated to supporting aspiring writers and publishing professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Arkbound publishes authors who experience barriers to the industry – especially writers with an important message about society or the environment. It also helps individuals to launch careers in publishing.

Along with a small group of publishers across the UK, Arkbound has developed the Publishing Excellence Programme, which offers candidates valuable information about the publishing industry and teaches practical skills like proofreading, copy-editing, getting ISBN codes and contacting and networking with retailers. Candidates receive one to one tuition in the basics of both book and magazine publishing, they are assessed at the end of the course, and leave with a full reference, in-depth report and certificate. Arkbound also ensures that candidates are fully supported after finishing the course; those who complete the Programme will also be the first to be considered for any publishing positions and internships. Gradutates of the course may also be referred on to other, non participating publishers. In some cases, candidates may be directly recruited by a delivery partner after the course. In line with their commitment to improving access to and diversity in the industry, Arkbound can sponsor applicants from disadvantaged groups to cover the full cost of the course and their expenses.

The initiative is unique in combatting some of the barriers to entry in the publishing industry and providing practical and tangible results.

Arkbound also has an exciting new release from a ground breaking writer of children’s literature. Odiri Ighamre’s debut book Arcadia is a beautifully illustrated children’s story which celebrates the beauty of Africa’s natural environment and asserts the importance of conserving this beauty. Through the character of Timone, the story introduces children to contemporary environmental issues whilst celebrating diversity and imagining a truly magical fictional place.

Whilst it’s impossible to authentically tell stories which reflect the experience of every community in every part of the world, nevertheless barriers in the publishing industry are starting to be broken down. Hopefully publishers like Arkbound can play their part: by making a wider diversity of great and exciting literature more accessible to their readers, and also by opening up the publishing industry which supports it, to a more diverse workforce.

More information about the Publishing Excellence Programme
Buy Arcadia

Book Review: The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl


‘The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl’ was a wonderful read. The reader is immediately swept up into an exciting and unique adventure. Horatio Mowzl finds himself pulled from his own world, where he is a real mouse, to the human world where he is a toy mouse. We join Mowzl and his new- found human friends on their mission to discover the truth of how Mowzl ended up in the human world and to figure out how he will return.
This is a very imaginative story. There are some weird and wonderful things to discover right from the beginning such as mysterious talking seaweed, the art of ‘purling’, and the idea of having multiple worlds existing alongside one another. Another great thing about the story is how the wildlife is brought to life and how the impact of human actions on the health of the planet is explored from the perspective of wildlife itself which I think helps to bring the issue a lot closer to home.
I think readers will also enjoy discovering more about Mowzl’s life before he ended up in the human world along with his human friends and will get ample laughs from trying to master wild talk. All in all, a book that captures the imagination but also has a great message.

Words by Grace Nyaboko


Grace Nyaboko is a 22 year old lover of all things bookish. You can catch her snapping her latest reads on her Instagram page (@teaandpapercuts) or posting her poetry on her blog.


The Adventures of Horatio Mowlz is an illustrated children’s story by Paul Thornycroft that reflects on the impacts human activity is having on the environment, whilst taking readers on an adventure they will not forget. It’s available to buy here.

Book Review: Lyrically Justified Volume Two

‘Lyrically Justified’ is a marvellous anthology giving voice to a diverse cast of poets from equally diverse backgrounds. It shines a light on an array of issues that affect us all as modern citizens from politics to various social issues. And the poetry lives up to the title of the anthology, being full of rhythm and some wonderful lyricism which made it a joy to read aloud.

The fact that all the poets are telling their own unique stories in their own unique way makes for a refreshing read. Because there are so many voices, every reader is bound to find a gem in there that speaks to them. I certainly found a few poems that resonated with me such as, ‘Black Girl Twirl’ by Sukina Douglas and ‘Warrior Queen’ by Alyx Tamminen. And there were some that were very memorable such as ‘Crimson Sky’ by Nathaniel Benson and ‘The Ballad of Refuge’ by David Punter.

It is encouraging and ever so inspiring to read an anthology that gives a platform to emerging poets and to see them shine in their own way. Overall, a truly enjoyable read. 10/10


Grace Nyaboko is a 22 year old lover of all things bookish. You can catch her snapping her latest reads on her Instagram page (@teaandpapercuts) or posting her poetry on her blog.


Leading on from the success of the first volume, Lyrically Justified (Volume 2) is available to buy here.

Book Review: The Natural Self

The demands of the modern lifestyle have led to an increasing disconnect both with ourselves and our understanding of what it truly means to be human, with our communities, and with nature. The Natural Self offers readers a wonderfully thoughtful solution to this problem. The authors take the reader’s hand in leading them on a quest to rediscovering the ‘natural self’, a self that is at peace within themselves, with nature and with their community. This is a very practical text which not only gives pointers on how to achieve this goal such as encouraging the reader to wander or sit in nature often, but the reader also has the opportunity to engage with the text through the accompanying journal pages where they can reflect on the various topics suggested in the book. This is a wonderful way of encouraging mindfulness and is added to by the integration of some really great pieces of poetry that conjure up peaceful images that really engage the imagination in an exercise of awareness. The visual art is also a great accompaniment to the poetry as well. All in all, it is a very effective guidebook and will lead the reader on a very enlightening journey.

Words by Grace Nyaboko


Grace Nyaboko is a 22 year old lover of all things bookish. You can catch her snapping her latest reads on her Instagram page (@teaandpapercuts) or posting her poetry on her blog.


The Natural Self combines eco-psychology, holistic nature-based practices and the benefits of a life lived closer to nature to create a series of poetic musings and journalistic prose on the self and our relationship to the world. Written by Rhonda Brandrick and Michéal Connors, The Natural Self is published by Arkbound, and is available here to buy.

Book Review: The Journalism Handbook for Media Entrepreneurs

A Journalism Handbook is a wonderful guide for the aspiring journalist. Easy to follow and very accessible, it offers a broad and in-depth look at the practice of journalism. Readers will get ample information on the duties of the journalist, on how to get ideas and research them, how to write a great article etc, whilst also getting insight into the changing media industry i.e. the rise of online journalism.

What makes this handbook special is the practical approach that it takes. At the end of every section the reader gets a checklist of prompts to think about and it’s great how you can apply these prompts directly to your work.
Particularly useful in the internet age, are the sections on online journalism. I found the guidance on navigating social media sources and utilising social media invaluable.

And finally, the chapter on media outlets is truly eye-opening for those who are contemplating setting up their own media outlets and are wondering how they would fund it.

Overall, a wonderful book, informative, and useful and something that the reader can easily go back to time after time. Highly recommend this for anyone who is raring and ready to get into the world of journalism.

Words by Grace Nyaboko.


Grace Nyaboko is a 22 year old lover of all things bookish. You can catch her snapping her latest reads on her Instagram page (@teaandpapercuts) or posting her poetry on her blog.


A Journalism Handbook for Media Entrepreneurs provides a comprehensive guide to aspiring journalists looking to enter this exciting and fast moving industry. Compiled and edited by Arkbound, it’s available to buy here.

Book Review: No Homeless Problem

No Homeless Problem is a book of poetry by, once homeless, Seamus Fox. This compilation is based on the experiences of 44 individuals and sheds light on the issues faced by the homeless including the process by which they came to be homeless and the subsequent horrors they faced (I personally found 10 days very disturbing).

I found this compilation of poetry very touching and moving. This book allowed me to be the fly-on-the-wall in the various homeless situations that people had found themselves in. As someone, and I know I am not alone, who does not truly grasp what it means to be homeless or how somebody could end up this way, I found myself seeing through the eyes of these misfortunate people. The way the poetry is written and presented on the page adds to their haunting nature. It is insightful and breath-taking. I believe the raw emotion felt throughout these poems evokes real empathy within the reader. I know I felt very emotional after reading ‘Yellow’ and it breaks my heart to know that this is not fiction. It pains me that even today, innocent people are battling with homelessness and I am grateful to have read this collection. My heart and ears have been opened to the homeless and for this must thank Seamus Fox. A truly talented man who has shed such compelling light on such a broad issue.

by Vanisa Pankhania


No Homeless Problem by Seamus Fox will be published in August by Arkbound.


Vanisa Pankhania is a science student at the University of Bristol. Despite loving science, she has a passion for books and reading. You can follow her on Instagram.