First Reviews

Words coverThe first reviews are in: David Crystal, defined by The Guardian newspaper as ‘the foremost writer and lecturer on the English language’, has said some lovely things about the novel, not all of which I can quote here. In many ways it doesn’t really matter what happens now – the knowledge that someone of Prof. Crystal’s standing enjoyed and understood that the book is about how “characters struggle to communicate in a world steeped in images of language” makes it a success.

But this is not really the point. Reviews are a terrible business – I write them myself for Orbis poetry magazine – and I know how difficult it is to balance them. I often wonder how much we should trust them. It depends on who they’re from, of course, and whether we place any value on that particular reviewer’s comments.

Prof. Crystal likes this latest novel, and for me that’s wonderful: but what do you think? How do we find folk to review our work, what do they get in return, and do we trust them? Do they really sway readers to choose one book over another? Put another way, if someone gets in touch to say that they’ll review my book, should I let them?

Tricky times…


A Novel Release

Words coverI’m delighted to announce that my latest novel, The Words We Use are Black and White, will be published on November 15th.

It’ll be available to buy in all good bookshops, and is already available for pre-order on Amazon, here, in both Kindle and paperback formats. If you don’t want to give Amazon your money then contact me using the form below and we can arrange a direct sale of the paperback edition for the same price, with free P&P. I can also arrange other digital editions, such as those for Nook, Kobo, etc.


‘On essaie de trouver les couleurs qu’on a rêvé.’ – Jacques Brel


I’m happy to be able to confirm the following upcoming readings:

November 23rd, Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead, Anglesey, North Wales. 6.30pm

December 2nd, Bolton Library, Bolton – with Helen Mort, as part of the autumn Live Literature series of readings. 7.00pm

December 5th, Bangor Library, Bangor, North Wales – with Nessa O’Mahony, 7.00pm

Friday, February 20th, 2015, Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, Ireland – with Nessa O’Mahony and Nerys Williams

More to follow – All welcome, at any or all of these. Free admission and I’m sure there’ll be a glass of something as well. Hope to see you there.

As to what I’ll be reading…there’ll be a short story or two, no doubt, and maybe something else. Stay tuned…