We are a writing, performing and publishing collective, formed in 1991. We grew from a women's writing class at the late lamented Darlington Arts Centre in Vane Terrace.
- Book us to do a reading or workshop; email us on:
- Buy our books or find out more about our Press
- Find out what we are doing on our Facebook community page.
It is with great sadness we post the news that Wendy Iliff, a founding member of Vane Women, has died. She was a great poet and performer, a fabulous, creative cook and a huge supporter of Vane Women and the press. A full obituary with all our memories will be on the website soon. For now our hearts are with her children, grandchildren, sister and families in their grief.
Two new books from Vane Women Press
In 2023, Vane Women Press celebrates 30 years of publishing. We specialise in first pamphlets (poetry or short stories) of women who live in the North East of England. Since 1993, we have brought out 23 beautiful pamphlets, two full collections and seven anthologies. You can view most of these on Our Publications page.
To mark this milestone, we are publishing two new books:
Our superb 24th pamphlet, Safety Measures against the Sea by Katharine Goda, published on September 5th, is available to buy on our publications page.
The pain of a frightened child is carried throughout life, like cracked glass distorting the view of the world. In her first book Safety Measures against the Sea, Katharine Goda is reaching for the buoy in the buffeting sea, ‘these old, old, waves’. She would leave if she could ‘but the doors are far away across a vast and polished, unmapped space’. Her poetry maps that space, the abiding menace in the presence of her father, ‘His hands his hands his hands’, and the questions she never asked her mother. Her poem Yes is composed entirely of Noes. Anger is passed on as ‘vital as sunshine’, the spiral of her descent becomes her ascent, her poetry healing herself in creative battles against blank forms of bureaucracy. While she is losing her words she is finding her words. This is the force of marvellous poetry, exciting, brilliant, highlighting the rocks below for safe passage.
Our anniversary anthology, Glorious Vane, featuring a poem or short story from our Vane Women Press writers, is available to buy on our publications page.
“For over thirty years the Vane Women collective has been writing, performing and publishing, taking their distinctive poetry across the North East and beyond. It is a remarkable achievement, an act of quiet, supportive and sustained resistance to the values of show-business and big business that disfigure so much of contemporary British poetry.
Although all these poets have different things to say, and different ways to say them, there is a shared vision in their work – wise, painterly, unclamorous and serious. They write about maps, rivers, birds and skies, about domestic interiors and landscapes of escape, imagining the ordinary and describing the extraordinary. A hugely enjoyable antidote to the embarrassing froth and hoopla of the UK poetry scene.” — Andy Croft
“Vane Women are part of the bedrock of the Northern poetry scene. Theirs is a consistently vital and carrying voice celebrating and promoting women writers, artists and photographers, creating an enduring core of excellence in a remarkable list which includes publishing a variety of wonderful poets, while also organising workshops, courses and events. As a woman poet I was so impressed by their publications and then, as I came to know them, by their open, generous support of poetry as a whole.
Vane Women Press published my pamphlet The Spar Box with meticulous editing and a beautiful specially-taken cover photograph. This cover is still my favourite of all my books! I received unstinting support and encouragement and I felt welcomed into the Vane Women network. I hope they won't mind me saying they are a great bunch of sparky, sharp, feisty, gifted and unusual women who have come together to create something truly remarkable. Long may Vane Women flourish.” — Pippa Little
Event not to be missed with an opportunity to buy the books:
Katharine will be joined by some of the writers featured in Glorious Vane at The Lit & Phil in Newcastle on December 11th at 7pm. Free event.
Film Poems – Tell Her Story
Vane Women are very grateful to Darlington for Culture for awarding a grant to work with film-maker Jason Berge to create 12 short films, each inspired by one of the paintings in the 2017 Tell Her Story exhibition.
You can view the films on YouTube
Based on an original design by Vane Women
Logo design by Darlington Media Group
E-mail Vane Women at
Website designed and maintained by Cornwell Internet
Last update: 6 October 2023.