Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy: Staying Alive (Bloodaxe, UK 2002/ Miramax, US 2003), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), along with Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy (2012). His other anthologies (all these from Bloodaxe) include Earth Shattering: ecopoems (2007), The Hundred Years' War: modern war poems (2014), and three collaborations with with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2008), and the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017). He has published two novels, The End of My Tether (2002), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (2005). In 2012 Candlestick Press published his selection of Ten Poems About Sheep in its renowned pamphlet series. In 2015 he guest-edited a special international issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, its first all-poetry issue in its 44-year history. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry from the Society of Authors in 1982 and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books in 1995. He is a trustee of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
"'I love Staying Alive and keep going back to it. Being Alive is just as vivid, strongly present and equally beautifully organised. But this new book feels even more alive - I think it has a heartbeat, or maybe that's my own thrum humming along with the music of these poets. Sitting alone in a room with these poems is to be assured that you are not alone, you are not crazy (or if you are, you're not the only one who thinks this way!) I run home to this book to argue with it, find solace in it, to locate myself in the world again' - Meryl Streep; 'These poems remind us of what we have felt yet never fully articulated, what we have dreamt yet never believed entirely possible. Perhaps most importantly, the poems in here tell us there is nothing more powerful than language when its agenda is to reveal rather than to conceal or distort' - Kamila Shamsie"