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Night Train

Sean O'Brien and Birtley Aris

Night Train is a collaboration between artist Birtley Aris and poet Sean O’Brien. The book is presented as a poet-artist’s sketch-come-notebook, in which the text as well as the artwork is hand drawn. This is a world of steam-trains, platforms and railway landscapes glimpsed by night, with a buried tale of love and madness. It is an intensely romantic English world in the tradition of Eric Ravilious and John Piper.


It’s the year’s best-looking poetry book, with O’Brien’s handwritten poems and Aris’s sketches given equal billing. This is English noir: part romance, part detective story, and above all a paean to a landscape of railway sidings and overgrown sleepers, a world of “coal-smoke, oil-sweat, gusty corridors/ That thunder onto viaducts/ Flung across gulfs of industrial fog”. Aris shares O’Brien’s fascination for England’s post-industrial dream and fills the book with scenes of desolate grandeur.

— Paul Batchelor, The Times, November 28, 2009

See below for sample pages.

To buy this book:

Limited edition Hardback

Night Train costs £18.99 and was published in July 2009.
ISBN: 978-1-906601-09-6

  • Buy it at any good bookshop.
  • Add to your shopping cart:
  • (No longer in stock at Inpress)

Paperback edition

Night Train costs £9.99 and was published in July 2009.
ISBN: 978-1-906601-08-9

  • From any good bookshop.
  • Add to your shopping cart:
  • Buy from INPRESS using your card or PayPal.

Railway Hotel

Use the arrows to turn these sample pages:

Previous page Railway Hotel Railway Hotel Railway Hotel Next page

Sean O’Brien grew up in Hull and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and 2007 recipient of the Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award. His six individual poetry collections have all won awards, most recently The Drowned Book, which won both the 2007 Forward and T S Eliot Prizes.

Acclaim for Sean O’Brien:
. . . the bard of urban Britain.’ — The Times
‘. . . a terrific language technician.’ — The Guardian
His work is elegiac and satirical, interested in history, politics and the imagination.’ — Independent on Sunday
‘A poet of unabashed political engagement, wit and humour.’ — The Guardian

Birtley Aris was born in Sunderland and now lives in Northumberland. From 1946 a designer/craftsman in stained glass in Newcastle and London. Returning to the North East in 1962, he has exhibited locally and nationally. Much of his work is based on poetry. Collaborations with contemporary poet Linda France include Storyville 1992 and Wild 2004. He had a retrospective exhibition at the DLI Museum and Art Gallery in Durham in 2007.

Website design by Cornwell Internet Partnered with Inpress Supported by Arts Council England

Web site design by Cornwell Internet. Page last updated on 26th September 2012.