Posted on 9th December 2014

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Whatever Happened to Billy Parks

In footballing parlance, there’s something more than a little ‘route one’ about Gareth R Roberts’ Whatever Happened to Billy Parks? and its efforts to emulate the success of David Peace’s bestseller The Damned United. The cover font and colour combination are pretty direct simulacra, and its game-of-two-halves structure (alternating chapters between the rise to prominence…

Posted on 12th September 2014

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The Language of Fiction

My first Fiction Uncovered column was about how I have found myself changing as a reader; this last one focuses more specifically on one of the ways of reading that I’ve become drawn to. For a while now, I’ve been taking more notice of the ways in which the tone and style of a piece of fiction can interact with, and add nuance to, its other aspects. To an extent, this is an artificial divide: books are, after all, made of words; you can’t really separate fiction from the way it’s written. In practice, however, it can be easy to take the language of fiction for granted – and to risk overlooking whole layers in the process.

Posted on 5th August 2014

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Mr Loverman

In 2014, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize worked with the Regional Literature Development Agencies to find reading groups across the UK to read the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winning titles. Mr Loverman by Bernadine Everisto was read by the Lye Down With a Good Book Reading Group from Lye and below are reviews from its reading…

Posted on 17th July 2014

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Anita Sethi on fiction and music

Pianos, violins, lutes, mandolins, string quartets, tin drums. Jazz, blues, reggae, rave, symphonies. Waltzes, ballet. Open the pages of fiction, and all manner of music might flood out – both as a theme as well as in lyrical and rhythmic cadences of the prose itself.

Posted on 24th June 2014

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Eight successful novels powerfully exploring failure

In her first piece as Guest Editor on the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize website this month, Anita Sethi explores the eight winning titles of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.

Posted on 19th June 2014

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Lolito

“Sometimes bleak, sometimes funny, and always relevant, Ben Brooks writes about the place where teenage angst, the Internet, relationships and modern family life intersect, and does so with wit, charm and one of the freshest new fiction voices in years.” Greg Eden, Online Content and Social Media Manager, Waterstones Synopsis: She’s online. ‘I booked a…

Posted on 19th June 2014

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Mr Loverman

Mr Loverman lives up to his name.  In Evaristo’s hands he is a funky, feisty, hugely adorable man   -she takes a difficult subject and imbues it with wit, passion and honesty. I loved it and I’d marry him… if only he would have me…” Julia Wharton, Jerwood Charitable Foundation Trustee Synopsis: Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four…

Posted on 19th June 2014

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Little Egypt

“It’s the gothic mess that first grabs you in Little Egypt. There are beautiful descriptions of a house going to ruin, of decades’ of detritus piling up, of lives falling apart, fragmenting and closing in. Next comes the gripping story, the tomb-shadows and the moments of shock, horror and shame. But what most lingers afterwards…

Posted on 19th June 2014

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The Dig

The Dig is astounding. It is one of the most powerful novels I have read in a very long time. Intense, raw, sometimes brutal, it is a perfect corrective to our notion of the rural idyll. It is a very short novel that feels vast and broad because of its mythic quality. I would never…

Posted on 19th June 2014

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Whatever Happened to Billy Parks?

Whatever Happened to Billy Parks? is a darkly comical, fantastically engaging and unabashedly sentimental portrait of a once great footballer that grapples with many modern-day preoccupations – alcohol addiction, the effects of fame and how we mythologise our sporting heroes – but never at the price of fine, page-turning storytelling.” Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The…

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