Books

The Letters of Ivor Punch by Colin McIntyre

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In October 2014 Colin’s debut novel won the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. It was a great achievement and nothing less than he deserved. Colin generously mentioned the Original Writers Group in the Acknowledgements, thanking us for being a safe platform to hone his early drafts.

The book has gone on to win much praise:

A truly original and enthralling novel. Ivor Punch is a magnificent creation and his story is mischievous, sad, funny and truthful (Stephen Kelman, BOOKER-SHORTLISTED author of PIGEON ENGLISH)

Tragedy and superstition hang over the characters like a mist, and the sea laps against every page… Beguiling tales built on secrets and sadness, each of them with a keen sense of place (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Witty, shocking, curious and wry, it is a multi-faceted novel that delights at every turn… A thing of genius and wonder. (WE LOVE THIS BOOK)

MacIntyre is a storyteller with a unique imagination and has created a genuinely heartfelt novel with some standout elements of dark comedy (THE LIST)

As a songwriter, Colin MacIntyre seems always to have been a natural storyteller. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he turned his abilities to the longer form of the novel. It is fitting that the man best known as Mull Historical Society has crafted a story to which he has put his own name, yet it is a novel which owes so much to his roots on the island of Mull. Such powerful storytelling resonated strongly with readers at the Book Festival, making Colin a runaway winner in voting for the First Book Award (Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival)

He writes with a clarity of style (THE SCOTSMAN)

We meet a pioneering female writer, two fatherless boys, a man who fell from the sky and, of course, the prolific letter writer Ivor Punch (THE BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH)

The Punch family history is both fascinating and sad. The book is interesting, funny, has a famous cameo and keeps you reading, and it’s only when you reach the end of the final chapter that the Punch family history falls into place… The characters are original, well-written, and it’s one of those books you want to re-read after you’ve finished it (Judith Griffin New Books)

The Definitive Account of the Great Train Robbery by Nicholas Russell-Pavier

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£2.6 million stolen in 46 minutes, prison sentences totalling 378 years, 23 criminals, countless victims.

In the early hours of Thursday, 8 August 1963 at Sears Crossing near Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, £2.6 million (£45 million today) in unmarked £5, £1 and 10 shilling notes was stolen from the Glasgow to London mail train in a violent and daring raid which took forty-six minutes. Quickly dubbed ‘the Crime of the Century’, it has captured the imagination of the public and the world’s media for fifty years, taking its place in British folklore. Ronnie Biggs, Bruce Reynolds and Buster Edwards became household names and their accounts have fed the myths and legends of ‘The Great Train Robbery’.

But what really happened? This definitive account dismantles the myths and strips away the sensational headlines to reveal a flawed, darker and more complex story. The crime, the police investigation, the trial, two escapes from high-security prisons, and an establishment under siege are all laid bare in astonishing detail for an epic tale of crime and punishment.

Fifty years later, here is the story set out in full for the first time — a true-life crime thriller, and also a vivid slice of British social history.

‘Truth Games’ and ‘Love, Revenge & Buttered Scones’ by ​Bobbie Darbyshire

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Truth Games (2009) is a serious comedy about sex in 70s London. After the hippies and before the yuppies, between the advent of the Pill and the onset of AIDS, between the ‘summer of love’ and the ‘winter of discontent’, the newest game in town was sex. Click here to purchase

​Love, Revenge & Buttered Scones (2010) is a page-turning comedy of errors that plays with truth and illusion. An innocent meeting of a reading group sparks a series of bizarre events. Three troubled people, driven by loneliness, vanity and revenge, hurl themselves on Inverness public library to find that nothing is as they expect. Click here to purchase

“Fantastic story telling, with wonderful characters who you soon feel you’ve known for ever. Set in the 1970s between the advent of the pill and the onset of aids, Truth Games explores the complex relationships between a group of friends in the long hot summers of 75 and 76 and the winter in between. Cleverly observed, the book has laugh out loud moments interspersed by episodes that challenge you to examine your own behaviour when dealing with close friends and those not so close. For those who remember the 70s Bobbie Darbyshire conjurs up lots of memories, from the clothes we wore, to the things we ate and the parties we threw. For those who don’t remember the 70s don’t be put off. There’s as much here that’s as relelvant today as it was back then. The nature of friendship and fidelity between friends as well as between partners. Page turning stuff. Thoroughly deserves a 5 star rating!” Posted on Waterstones Website

Border Crosser by ​John Rico

Congratulations to Johnny on the publication of his book ‘Border Crosser’.

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“A timeless story of confounded youth and its eternal struggle for meaning, this book may well signal the birth of a titanic new voice. . . . [Rico’s] precise, evocative prose balances pathos and humour with an almost destructive compulsion for honesty and so much frustrated wit that, even at his most naked and sensitive, he holds nothing sacred.” Publishers Weekly