Image credit: Andrew Lee (Instagram: @photography_andrewlee)

Lydia Towsey  

Lydia Towsey is poet, performer, cat keeper, mother and ukulele strummer – with an MA in poetry and a primary school certificate in ‘tap dancing’. Previously shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize, she’s spoken and performed everywhere from London’s 100 Club, Roundhouse and the House of Lords – to ‘On the Buses’ (as Literary Leicester’s and Arriva Buses Poet in Residence), Plymouth University’s Zombie Symposium and in more basements, bunkers and boudoirs than Bela Lugosi. 

Commissioned by The Guardian newspaper, Royal Albert Hall, Kew Gardens, Apples and Snakes, Charnwood Arts and Poet in the City amongst others, in 2014 and 2015 she undertook two Arts Council England supported UK tours of ‘Three Hard Way’ alongside Jean Binta Breeze. In 2016 and 2017 she was supported by Arts Council England to develop and UK tour the stage show of her first book, ‘The Venus Papers’ (Burning Eye Books, 2015). In 2018 she was listed for the Outspoken London Prize for Poetry in Film and in the UK Saboteur Awards for Best Show. 

In addition to her practice as a writer and performer, Lydia directs arts in health projects for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and is the Artistic Director of WORD! – a poetry organisation delivering one of the longest running poetry nights in the UK.

She is widely published and anthologised, from The London Magazine and Magma, to ‘Hallelujah for 50ft Women’ (Raving Beauties, Bloodaxe, 2016) and Candlestick Press’ ‘10 Poems about…’ series. ‘The English Disease’ (Burning Eye Books, 2019) is her second full length collection.

For bookings and/or more information please email her at

'Reading the Body: A Woman Arrives in the 21st Century' image credit, Scott Bridgwood.

‘Reading the Body: A Woman Arrives in the 21st Century’ image credit, Scott Bridgwood.


On Lydia:

“Lydia Towsey’s effervescent poetry bubbles with wry observations and quick-witted delights; these are genuine and big-hearted poems, loaded with charm. That isn’t to say her poems lack an edge; far from it, with their mix of sensual, serious and thoughtful subject matter; Towsey’s playfulness also belies an attentiveness to the sound and shape and rhythm of her poems, making them immediate, aloud and alive.” ~ Jane Commane, Nine Arches Press, Editor.

“I love the way her performances convey specifically female experiences without pulling any punches at males (or other deserving targets) but also without making at least one male feel entirely at home with their concrete & constantly entertainingly authenticity.” ~ Michael Horovitz OBE

“Lydia Towsey is an imaginative poet and performer who carefully crafts her work for both the page and the stage. Her work is a pleasure to read and a joy to watch.” ~ Kevin Fegan

“One of the new, intriguing voices of her time.’ ~ Dr Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, MBE.

“Absolutely spectacular…the audience were in the palm of her hand.”

~ Jo Ivie, Producer & Graham Henderson, CEO, Poet in the City.


On ‘The English Disease’ (Burning Eye Books 2019):

“She writes for a generation that must find a way. This is a brave collection and adds to the strength of new English poetry.”~ Dr Jean Binta Breeze MBE

“Lydia Towsey takes on England in poems that are impassioned, funny, despairing, elated, direct, and full of out-loud life. ~ George Szirtes 

“The English Disease is a letter to a land that no longer loves itself, a chronicle of a time of borders around bodies, and people with flags for faces. This book is a new national anthem. Visual, vivid, curious and kind.” ~ Joelle Taylor

“This is an exuberantly inventive feast of a collection, happily ricocheting from slapstick horror ballads to deadpan haiku and shot through with a thrilling willingness to experiment with form, all of it given emotional weight and resonance by the poet’s committed articulation of her longing to make sense of what it is to live in contemporary England.” ~ Francesca Beard

“It’s a phenomenal piece of work. The structuring is perfect and there’s so much variation – the hit rate is astonishing… The English Disease [title poem] is a tour de force. One of my favourite poems ever.” ~ Rob Gee

These are visionary poems which can shatter reflections and then piece together new, better ones – of Donald Trump saying sorry. / Fiscal reform to favour the many. / My daughter sleeping through the night.’ ~ Dr Jonathan Taylor

“Lydia Towsey skewers and celebrates Britishness by equal measure, with a collection full of wit, warmth and charm.” ~ Paula Varjack

“Lydia Towsey is funny, irreverent and rude, thanks to her Mum. God bless them both.”  ~ Mark Gwynne Jones


On ‘The Venus Papers’ (Burning Eye Books, 2015)

“Eloquent, witty, rhythmically tight…these poems are wry yet also compassiona
te, curious…there’s an impressive control here.” ~ David Belbin.

“She manages to locate the story in a contemporary setting and it speaks to a modern audience. I applaud the achievement.” ~ Mahendra Solanki.

“Lydia Towsey – the hardest working women in show business. ‘What if I could cast a spell’ – serious piece”.

~ Micheal Brome

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