Nicole Flattery and Richard Milward at Blackwell’s

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Writer Nicole Flattery.
Writer Nicole Flattery.

LITERATURE LIVE! Nicole Flattery and Richard Milward in conversation at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester 7 March 2023 Tickets from £3.00 — Book now

Blackwell’s bookshop and the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing welcome Nicole Flattery and Richard Milward to read from and talk to author Luke Brown about their new novels as part of the Literature Live series.

Sally Rooney says, ‘I truly love Nicole Flattery’s writing’, and called Show Them a Good Time, ‘A masterclass… Bold, irreverent and agonisingly funny’.

Dublin-based Nicole Flattery‘s work has appeared in The White Review, The Stinging Fly and the London Review of Books, and she follows up her 2019 short story collection Show Them a Good Time (which Jon McGregor said: ‘Demands repeated reading’) with the novel Nothing Special, also published by Bloomsbury. Sally Rooney says, ‘I truly love Nicole Flattery’s writing’, and called Show Them a Good Time, ‘A masterclass… Bold, irreverent and agonisingly funny’.

Described as ‘a wildly original debut novel’ and ‘a whip-smart coming-of-age story’, the publisher blurb for Nothing Special reads: ‘New York City, 1966. Seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a run-down apartment with her alcoholic mother and her mother’s sometimes-boyfriend, Mikey. She is turned off by the petty girls at her high school, and the sleazy men she typically meets. When she drops out, she is presented with a job offer that will remake her world entirely: she is hired as a typist for the artist Andy Warhol. Warhol is composing an unconventional novel by recording the conversations and experiences of his many famous and alluring friends. Tasked with transcribing these tapes alongside several other girls, Mae quickly befriends Shelley and the two of them embark on a surreal adventure at the fringes of the countercultural movement. Going to parties together, exploring their womanhood and sexuality, this should be the most enlivening experience of Mae’s life. But as she grows increasingly obsessed with the tapes and numb to her own reality, Mae must grapple with the thin line between art and voyeurism and determine how she can remain her own person as the tide of the sixties sweeps over her.’

Nicole will be joined by Middlesbrough-born Richard Milward, whose cult debut Apples was published in 2007, when he was just 22, and shortlisted for The South Bank Show/Times Breakthrough Award 2008. Ten Storey Love Song followed in 2009 (and was chosen as one of Waterstones New Voices 2009) then, in 2012, Kimberly’s Capital Punishment, picked as a Book of the Week by Time Out. Both Apples and Ten Storey Love Song were adapted for the stage, winning awards at the Edinburgh Fringe, and Irvine Welsh has described him as ‘a major talent’.

His new book, Man-Eating Typewriter, is said to be ‘wild, transgressive, erotic and resolutely uncompromising’ and is a homage to the avant-garde counterculture of the 20th century. The blurb from White Rabbit Books calls it ‘a hallucinogenic cocktail of A Clockwork Orange, Pale Fire and Jean Genet’s jailbird fantasies’ and goes on to say: ‘Told in Polari, it is the story of an anarchist named Raymond Novak and his plan to commit a “fantabulosa crime” in 276 days that will revolt the world. A surrealistic odyssey that stretches from occupied Paris to the cruise-liner SS Unmentionable to lawless Tangier before settling in Swinging London, the book casts Novak as an agitator and freedom fighter – but, as his memoirs become more and more threatening, his publishers find themselves far more involved in his violent personality cult than they ever intended.’

Tickets are £3 or free when pre-ordering a copy of either book, which the authors will be signing copies of after the talk.

LITERATURE LIVE! Nicole Flattery and Richard Milward in conversation at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester 7 March 2023 Tickets from £3.00 Book now

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