Reviews & Testimonials

Here are some examples of what people have said about An Otley Run:

“Williams conveys a sense of flawed humanity in a narrative of questionable behaviour. Lifted everywhere by the comedy of carnival, of colour and of the giving over of anxiety to unrehearsed mayhem, Joe Williams is at his very best when being funny. And he is….very.”

Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times

“I read An Otley Run from start to finish in one sitting, nodding in recognition all the way through. Packed full of believable characters, familiar settings and painful fancy dress, this filmic and strangely beautiful verse novella will bring nostalgia to any pub-crawler, not least those who have experienced the joys of the Otley Run.”

Maria Ferguson, Saboteur Award-winning poet

“Joe Williams’ pub odyssey, An Otley Run, bawdy, vulgar and witty as f**k, took me straight back to my gargantuan drinking days in Headingley, as a younger man. Working on so many different levels, I found this picaresque verse-novel both brilliant and intoxicating.”

James Nash, poet and writer

“A charming read…intelligent and touching.”

Confluence Magazine


Here’s what reviewers said about Joe’s first book, Killing the Piano:

“Williams masterfully navigates between subtle wit and nostalgia; both of which are warm and cosy, but with a vulnerability which never tries to hide. These poems exist in all of us. He provides the perfect ingredients for them to spring to life, without ever having to spell it out. Wonderfully crafted, and a joy to read from start to finish. Bravo!”

Matt Abbott

“Joe Williams’ poems walk a tightrope strung between the quotidian and the absurd, from watching snooker on the telly to Virgil turning up at an open mic night. Stripped of all excess, they stand exposed in the page’s spotlight, coolly staring down the white space in which so much of their impact resides. It’s a deft balancing act.”

Oz Hardwick

“Joe Williams’s work is surreal in the sense that it deliberately blurs the boundary between fantasy and reality, in such a way that sane people might appear mad, and mad people might appear sane.”

William Thirsk-Gaskill