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About The Venus Papers

The Venus Papers
by Lydia Towsey
Published by Burning Eye Books
Developed with the support of Arts Council England.
Producer/Bookings: ‘renaissance one’: inspiring literature – writers, events and tours /
+44 (0) 20 7272 8386

VP Cover 2015 Burning Eye

What if Venus, the Roman Goddess of love and beauty, were to wash up in the 21st century? What would she do next?

‘The Venus Papers’ is the debut, full length poetry collection of Leicester based poet and performer, Lydia Towsey. Published by Burning Eye Books (September 2015) the title sequence takes as it’s starting point Botticelli’s 15th Century painting, ‘Birth of Venus’ where Venus is depicted arriving on a shell at a Cypriot beach. Transported to the 21st century UK; Lydia explores how Venus would respond to what she would find and what she might do next..

In the sequence’s connecting poems, Venus’s progression from innocence to experience is mirrored across numerous arrivals, departures, journeys and landscapes; from a dancing mother to a psychopathic Barbie, murderous mozzarella and a road trip across the Spanish Badlands. By viewing Venus as everywoman, outsider, traveller and immigrant Lydia explores how women in particular are viewed and affected by cultural, political pressures in contemporary Britain and beyond.

Following a premier book launch and linked exhibition of paintings (September 29th, 2015, Attenborough Arts Centre) Lydia is currently touring The Venus Papers  stage show. The performance combines poetry, music and film with myth, art and contemporary issues – from international migration to shopping in Primark.

Directed by Rachel Mars and Nick Field, with movement direction by Louise Katerega, set by Louise Katerega; visual art by Scott Bridgwood and curation by Melanie Abrahams. Music is composed and performed by David Dhonau and Ola Szmidt. The tour is produced by Renaissance One.

A series of films supporting the tour are filmed and produced by Keith Allott.


Lydia Towsey is a poet exploring her Hungarian, Welsh/British heritage and her experience of growing up in the multicultural city of Leicester. She draws on her experience as an artist’s life model to challenge the idea of the ‘passive nude’ and discuss the way we look at ourselves, the world and each other. Lydia has an MA in Creative Writing, has won a Decibel commission and been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize. She has spoken at the House of Lords, performed at The Royal Albert Hall and London’s 100 Club and presented at Plymouth University’s Zombie Symposium.

‘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, Poet and Playwright

‘Eloquent, witty, rhythmically tight…these poems are wry yet also compassionate, curious…there’s an impressive control here, with rarely a wasted word.’ David Belbin, Novelist, on The Venus Papers

‘She manages to locate the story in a contemporary setting and it speaks to a modern audience. I applaud the achievement.’ Mahandra Solanki, poet, on The Venus Papers

What the audience say:

‘Mesmerising – truly mesmerising. I couldn’t break my concentration, not wanting to miss a word. Beautiful and moving whilst being thought provoking. A privilege to have experienced.’

‘Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It was beautiful, inspiring. Funny in places, devastatingly heart breaking in others. Truly something to be part of and I was honoured to watch it.’

‘I found the performance at once alluring, compelling and disturbing, impossible to ignore!’

‘Brilliant, funny, feminist, poignant. A pleasure to watch.’
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