Writing the North: James Clarke and Luke Brown

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Writing the North: James Clarke and Luke Brown
James Clarke. Photo: © Ingrid Turner Photography

Writing the North: James Clarke and Luke Brown, online, 27 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

Join authors James Clarke and Luke Brown at this very northern online book event, as they read from and chat about their Lancashire-inspired second novels. They’ll discuss the influence of the north on their writing and outlook on life, and whether the region receives the prominence it deserves in fiction published recently. Held in partnership with Manchester Libraries, also putting “local” authors into the limelight with a series of interviews and podcasts, sign up to this free live event and you might event win a copy of the books being showcased by adding your full address when you register – 10 winners will be selected at random on the day of the reading.

Manchester-based James Clarke’s second novel, Hollow In The Land, came out in April with independent publishing house Serpent’s Tail. His debut The Litten Path was written while studying at the Manchester Writing School, part of Manchester Metropolitan University, and went on to win the 2019 Betty Trask Prize. He grew up in Lancashire’s Rossendale Valley and this latest title refers to that “hollow” and is set there.

Described as “a compound eye view of a post-industrial community in East Lancashire … A journey through the rich, interconnected lives of the locals” “from its neglected high streets to the isolated wilderness of the surrounding moors, this Lancashire valley bursts with unforgettable characters, minor intrigues and all the rich strangeness of life in England today”, the novel is said to appeal to readers of Jon McGregor, Colin Barrett and Alice Munro. Indeed, Amy Liptrot is a fan and M John Harrison said in The Guardian that Hollow In The Land is “full of insight, empathy and wry laughter”.

Join authors James Clarke and Luke Brown at this very northern online book event, as they read from and chat about their Lancashire-inspired second novels

Joining James Clarke for this event is Luke Brown, who grew up in Fleetwood on the coast to the north of Blackpool. Part of his second novel, Theft – which also came out earlier this year, in February – is based in the down-at-heel fishing town, offering another, quite different snapshot of life in Lancashire. Set against a background of Brexit and protagonist Paul’s need to travel between a new existence down south in the capital and a long-forgotten northern upbringing, “torn between the town he thought he had escaped and the city that threatens to chew him up”, the book is described as: “Straddling the fissures within a man and his country, riven by envy, wealth, ownership, entitlement, and loss, Theft is an exhilarating howl of a novel.”

As well as teaching at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester, Luke Brown works as a book editor and writes regularly for the Financial Times and sometimes for the TLS, London Review of Books and New Statesman. His debut novel My Biggest Lie was published in 2014, and his fiction has appeared in The White Review. Theft is longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize, alongside the likes of Lemn Sissay and Deborah Orr (the winner will be announced on 15 October 2020 at Durham Book Festival). Published by Sheffield-based And Other Stories, Theft is described in more detail, and an excerpt is available to read, on their website.

Hollow In The Land James Clarke cover
Hollow In The Land James Clarke

 

Theft Luke Brown cover
Theft Luke Brown

Writing the North: James Clarke and Luke Brown, online

27 July 2020 6:30 pm
Free entry

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