The Hen Race goes to Malvern Library Book Fairs

Hen Race Press logo

I am delighted that I and a box of The Hen Race books, will be participating in two Book Fairs held at Malvern Library, during November 2014.

The first Book Fair is tomorrow Saturday 15th November from 10am to 1pm and is organised by Aspect Design.

The second Book Fair is Saturday 22nd November from 2pm to 4pm and is organised by Jill Peer.

If you’re in Malvern please pop in to see us. Each of the fairs is an opportunity to meet local authors and browse their new titles.


‘The Hen Race’ book launch


  After the previously mentioned last minute, unexpected, venue swop (see previous post ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’) ‘The Hen Race’ book launch turned into a most enjoyable and uplifting event. We were surrounded by family and friends and our substituted venue worked very well indeed. I think we’ll be giving more business to Benedicto’s in  Sidbury, Worcester.


We had wonderfully, expressive ‘guest’ readings from Polly Robinson and Heather Wastie, plus a couple from yours truly.  After each reading the multi talented Heather Wastie played and sang a song mentioned in the book. The songs wereChic, Chic, Chic, Chicken’,Run, Rabbit Run’, ‘Heart and Soul’,The Runaway Train’, and ‘We’ll Meet Again’. The audience choir participated heartily, singing all the songs with gusto. It was interesting to observe how many of the audience seemed to know all the lyrics, even though the songs dated from the Twenties, Thirties, Forties and Fifties. They must have learned them from their grandparents!!   P1030541

Above is the wonderful gift I received from Mark and Ann Billen at the launch. It will be treasured forever.

To my great joy a good many books were sold on the night and orders taken for more. My thanks to all purchasers. I hope you enjoy reading the book. Should readers of this post wish to buy a copy, please go to the ‘Buy the Hen Race book’ page on this website and follow the PayPal link. If you live in the North East of England you can also buy ‘The Hen Race’ from ‘Cogito Books’ in Hexham, or ‘Forum Books’ in Corbridge.


Keep calm and carry on

Imagine the scene. It’s 14.40 on launch day, 5 minutes before we are due to leave the house to go to Bindle’s Restaurant, Worcester, to set up for a 16.00 start. The phone rings and Bindles manager says ‘due to a burst pipe flooding the cellar, they are closing Bindles with immediate effect’. A truly heart stopping moment for me as I know we have people coming from all over the county. I take a deep breath, grit my teeth and say ‘I cannot possibly cancel the event at this late hour’.

The manager then says we can use the room above Benedicto’s Restaurant over the road. I have never seen this venue and have no idea if it will meet our needs, but as I am between a rock and a hard place I have to agree to this last minute alternative.

The room at Benedicto’s was half the size of the original venue, but was charming with exposed beams and Italian murals painted on the walls. The staff of Benedicto’s were warm and welcoming and slowly I started to breath again whilst wondering if we could fit everyone in, if they could find where we had suddenly relocated to.

Polly, Martin, Carole, Heather, Geoff, Alex, Fiona, Joe, Tana and I pulled together and the new launch venue was set up. Bindles had put a directional notice in their door and a member of their staff was allocated, for a while, to point people to the new venue. Hopefully we managed to ‘net’ everyone but I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost a few of our lovely friends who saw Bindles was closed and not surprisingly presumed that the event was no longer happening.

A very big thank you to the team at Benedicto’s who did everything possible to help us. The launch was a huge success, see the next post for launch news.

It’s Available! Read This!


Young Tom York is growing up in a railway community in rural East Yorkshire during the 1950s. In many ways its an idyllic childhood as Tom learns about hens, trains, ballroom dancing and the folly of climbing onto the pig sty roof. Money is tight but he never feels deprived and there’s always something left over to share with friends and neighbours. Gradually, however, Tom discovers that both of his parents are coping with scars from their experiences in the Second World War.

With its echoes of Call The Midwife, this evocative tale is set at a time when mangles, tin baths and Ewbanks where in regular use and when strong communities worked together to achieve the near miraculous. Based on a true story, The Hen Race is a celebration of survival, of modest heroism and the extraordinary courage of ordinary people.


For UK customers only, you can purchase the book via PayPal by clicking on the button:

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For non UK customers please e-mail us and we will come back to you with current costs. Our e-mail address is

Where to buy ‘The Hen Race’ in the North East

While on a recent visit to the North East of England, I took the opportunity to pop into a couple of excellent independent bookshops. I am pleased that you can now buy your copy of The Hen Race in Hexham and Corbridge.


Cogito Books, St. Mary’s Chare, Hexham


Forum Books, Corbridge

Hopefully more independent bookshops will follow. If anybody reading this owns an independent bookshop and would like to stock The Hen Race  (ISBN 978-0-9930309-0-1) please contact us on

‘The Hen Race’ front cover and our first customer.

We are thrilled with the front cover of Alan Durham’s book ‘The Hen Race’. The illustration is by Sara Hayward MA (RCA) and the graphics by Martin Driscoll. The cover depicts Tom, Phil and Connie York waving at the steam engine ‘The Mallard’ as she hurtles past them

On 3 June 1938 ‘The Mallard’ achieved a speed of 126 mph with a 240 ton train, this speed record for steam propulsion has never been beaten.


Author Alan Durham enjoys tea and cakes with  his first customer Maria Chippendale.