Waterway Books

A selection of waterways related books for your interest, information and entertainment. Where possible we have included book reviews, and have a special feature on a particularly popular author each season.

If you have a favourite waterways book or author, please let us know by writing to the editor.

featured authors

Abigail Joy Tobler

Abigail Joy ToblerAbigail Joy Tobler’s love of waterways has, sadly, never found her on a canal boat. She has, however, paddled dug-out canoes on rivers in Mexico and Brazil. In England she has enjoyed many hours walking the Thames towpath near Henley whilst dog-sitting for friends over many years. She enjoyed watching the many passing canal boats navigating the locks, and always felt especially blessed when catching glimpses of a kingfisher.
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Steve Haywood

steve haywood, authorSteve Haywood wrote his first canal book against the strong advice of his agent. She didn't think there was enough interest in canals to make it worthwhile. Harper Collins had just published his first novel as part of their renowned Crime  Club imprint. She thought he should stop messing around and write another.

Steve disagreed and in 2001 his first canal book was released to an indifferent audience. "It flopped," Steve said. "It's a great book but it needed promoting. Instead they gave it the rubbish title of 'Fruit Flies like a Banana'..."
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Keith Harris – author

Keith Harris, authorI was 30 years old when I first set eyes on a proper canal and now over 40 years on I’m still a devoted ditch crawler. I bought my first narrowboat from Stoke on Trent in 1986. Then in 1998 I got the chance to buy a fine replica Dutch Barge, Saul Trader, and begin to plan a series of voyages from Gloucester, across the English Channel to France, Holland and Belgium. My books are the stories behind our voyages, and whether you’re an established enthusiast, a boater or an armchair follower I hope you will find some pleasure and enjoyment from my ramblings.
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John Skull, author

John Skull and his wife Biene lived on their narrowboat ‘Speakeasy’ for two years. During this time John kept an illustrated journal which he has published and is now available on Amazon. John has had an adventurous life, from a childhood in Belfast, to a long naval career and a continuing thirst for travel. ‘Narrowboating…It’ll be fun, they said’ is John’s second book.
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Stephanie Horton, author

stephanie hortonStephanie Horton says, “I wrote Narrow Boat Engine Maintenance and Repair to help boat owners keep their engines operational and moving. This single reference tool combines RCR’s practical advice with our engineers’ specialist knowledge, who through years of experience have unrivalled skills and repair techniques. Hopefully readers will agree the content and photos simplify things and help them keep their boats in a good condition.”
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Ian Douglas Storyteller and Author

Ian DouglasIan Douglas has been a storyteller for about 24 years, working all over the British Isles at festivals and events, and in schools, colleges and universities.

He was inspired to start storytelling after attending the ‘bit craic’ storytelling nights in Newcastle upon Tyne with friend Gary Cordingley - who just happens to be the illustrator of Ian's book "Folk Tales from the Canal Side".
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Heather Wastie

Heather WastieHeather Wastie’s links with canals began when she was a child, when her family bought a small cruiser and then an old working boat called Laurel, which her father converted (although he retained the traditional back cabin).
Heather is a writer, poet, singer/songwriter, keyboard and accordion player.  She has published 8 collections of poetry, two of which relate to the canals. Heather performs her poems, working in conjunction with Alarum Theatre Company.
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Bill Savage

Bill Savage Canal is kingBill Savage describes himself as a canal junkie. His book ‘Canal is King’ is about a canal journey-with-a-difference. From idyllic tranquility to urban grunge. Travelling with Bill is a bit weird, often hilarious, always eventful, inevitably informative, chatting with quirky characters along the way.
Photographer as well as author – we have to thank Bill for providing our frontispiece for this edition of CanalsOnline Magazine!
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Carolyn Clark

Carolyn Clark

Carolyn Clark, in her latest book ‘The East End Canal Tales’ interweaves memories from over 50 people with historical accounts to tell the intriguing, humorous, moving and sometimes surprising stories of life and work on the Hackney and Tower Hamlets reach of the Regents and the Hertford Union Canals. Over 130 photographs and images, many never published before, bring the stories to life.
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Irfan Shah

Irfan Shah

“In Rodley, the barges huddle, moored tight against the towpath alongside small wooden huts and deck chairs and sleeping pets.”
So begins the short story, ‘The Cyclist in the Canal’, a few pages that tell of an imagined encounter between two couples and a less than considerate cyclist on the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
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featured books

east end canal tales

The East End Canal Tales by Carolyn Clark

Narrow boat engine by Stephanie Horton

Narrow Boat Engine Maintenance and Repair by Stephanie Horton

the wrong way round , waterway book by Rob Pearson

The Wrong Way Round, by Rob Pearson

Inland Waterways Manual

Inland Waterways Manual by Emrhys Barrell