Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Claire Jones serialises her novel on www.thehungrypoet.co.uk

My Open University colleague, Claire Jones, one of the most gifted creative writers in our year, is currently posting chapters of her novel, Davy and Me, on her website, The Hungry Poet (see the right-hand sidebar on this page).  I lament the passing of the applicability of the website’s name.  Should she change it to The Hungry Poet and Novelist?  Of course not.

The novel has started with a first person narrative by an apparently teenage girl called Sam.  The setting is inner-city Birmingham around the time of the Handworth riots.  There is a difference in social background between Sam and Davy, which is coming across very nicely and which I am hoping to see developed much further as the book progresses.   Davy’s house sounds remarkably similar to the house in which I grew up.

If you like recently-retrospective fiction written in a contemporary style, then I strongly recommend this serialisation to you.  So far, it is as good as The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe.

This is Claire’s alternative to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which finished at the end of November and in which I gather real life unfortunately overtook her, as it so often does.

We interrupt this posting to bring you a text message from the author herself:  Did you think the pirate bit was crap?  This is a reference to an item on a pirate radio station that the characters listen to.  It includes a speaker with a strong West Indian accent.  This is very accurately transcribed.  The pirate radio episode is believable, expertly-conveyed, and is completely in keeping with my own recollections of how things like this unfold.  I can hardly wait for the next instalment.

If you do begin to read it, please bear in mind that writers thrive on feedback.  Unless you are a nutter or one of those unfortunate people for whom culture is a closed book, you will struggle to find anything wrong with what Claire has written so far, but even negative feedback, as long as well-reasoned, is better than nothing at all.  I would like to see Davy and Me gain enough Internet readers so that each new episode is read and commented-on promptly.


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