Stairwell in the New Forest 2023

Independent Publisher's Fair

After our spectacular success of our previous Stairwell in Scotland, Stairwell Books is pleased to announce that we will be running a similar event, this time near the south coast.

Third Annual Independent Book Fair

Ali Sparkes, Rebecca Smith, Susie Williamson, Stella Davis, Jennifer Keevill, Simon Culleton, Victoria L Humphreys, David Hill at the Forest Arts Centre, New Milton

Friday and Saturday 3-4th November: Book Festival and Readings

Stairwell Books, a publisher  based in York, is sponsoring their third annual Independant Book Festival at the Forest Arts Centre, in New Milton. The festival focusses on authors based in southern counties, and welcomes other local presses to join in the fun. The event takes place on Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th of November.

This year’s festival is part of the Play On Words Literary Festival which runs from 23rd October until 6th November. Stairwell Author, Ali Sparkes, will also be taking part in the Writers Day on Sunday 29th October.

On Friday evening join Stairwell Books for a night of readings, featuring Ali Sparkes, Rebecca Smith, Susie Williamson, Stella Davies, Jennifer Keevil, Simon Culleton, Victoria L. Humphreys and David Hill, writing in genres including poetry, literary fiction and writing for children. Writing for children will feature first.

On Saturday, Stairwell has invited a number of publishers to share the Forest Arts Centre with tables of their own books. This is a great opportunity for readers to see and buy a range of excellent books which may not grace the shelves of the large retail bookselling chains, and to meet authors and publishers in a congenial setting. Saturday also features a full day of free writing and publishing workshops.

Details of the Festival can be found on the Play on Words web site at

Forest Arts Centre
Old Milton Road
New Milton
BH25 6DS

Performances: Readings

Friday 3rd November, 7.30pm – 9.00pm

Free and Livestreamed. Books by featured authors available

Book Festival
Saturday, 4th November, 10am – 5pm

Stairwell Books publishes authors from across the UK, Europe, Nigeria, the USA, and Canada. Our first indie press festival was held in Edinburgh in 2021, due to the range of Scottish and Northumberland authors we brought out from 2019-2021. We returned to Edinburgh for 2022, but it’s now time to spotlight our authors from the South of Britain. As usual, Stairwell offers a free book festival from 10am to 5pm, this time at the vibrant Forest Arts Centre, again with tables given over to local booksellers, artists and crafters, as well as Stairwell’s authors.

Authors and artists will present workshops throughout the day, each about 40 mins, beginning on the half-hour, with “From Pigeons to Pumas: Writing with Birds and Animals” at 10.30, led by Rebecca Smith (Jane Austen Writers’ Club; Shadow Cat Summer; The Ash Museum) and Victoria L Humphreys (Not the Work of an Ordinary Boy). Other workshops include “Freeing the Creative”, “Illustrate Your Dreams” (on the ideal book cover), “How Pets Make Writers Come Out To Play” with powerhouse children’s writer Ali Sparkes, and “Can ‘Young’ Adult Fiction be Too ‘Adult’? Alan Gillott, operations director for Stairwell, will round off the workshops with a how-to sessions on publishing, self-publishing, distribution, and what THEMA and BIC codes are! An unmissable day for those who want to write and even have a manuscript but need some advice. Free!

The Friday evening event will be livestreamed, recorded and uploaded to Stairwell Books’ YouTube channel for folks who live far away, have access issues, or cannot attend in person. But, do try: an indie book festival of fresh, new authors, launched by a brilliant night out, part of the fab Play On Words festival, with all Stairwell Books events free. You can take an inside peek of all of Stairwell’s non-poetry books online, using our Look Inside! feature, on the Stairwell Books website.

You can find out more about organisations that have helped our authors, or deal with themes in some of our books here: