The ten short stories gathered here all feature characters in search of something, a new reality, a space, perhaps, in which to rediscover themselves: from the call-centre worker imagining herself far away from the claustrophobic realities of her day job, to the woman coming to terms with an ex-lover who’s moved on all too quickly, to the man trying to outrun his mother’s death on Town Moor. The Book of Newcastle brings together some of the city’s most renowned literary talents, along with exciting new voices, proving that while Newcastle continues to feel the effects of its lost industrial past, it is also a city striving for a future that brims with promise.
Jessica Andrews writes fiction and poetry. She grew up in Sunderland and has spent time living in Santa Cruz, Paris, Donegal, Barcelona and London. She has been published by The Guardian, Stylist, The Independent, Elle, AnOther, Somesuch Stories, Caught by the River and Papaya Press, among others. She teaches Literature and Creative Writing classes and co-runs literary magazine, The Grapevine, which aims to give a platform to under-represented writers. Her debut novel, Saltwater, was published by Sceptre to much acclaim in 2019.
Julia Darling began her career as a full-time novelist, playwright and poet in 1987. She won the Northern Rock Foundation writers award in 2003, and was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. Her highly acclaimed novel, The Taxi Driver’s Daughter, was longlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize and was shortlisted for the Society of Author’s 2004 Encore Award. Her previous writing includes the novel Crocodile Soup longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and republished in 2015 by Mayfly, several collections of poetry and short stories, and numerous plays for stage, TV and radio. She was working on a new novel, A Cure for Dying, when she died in April 2005.
Crista Ermiya is a short story writer. Her debut collection The Weather in Kansas was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2015 and was chosen by New Writing North as a ‘Read Regional’ title. Her story ‘1977’ featured in Best British Short Stories 2016 (Salt, 2016). She is a freelance writer and editor, and is an editorial assistant for the academic journal Landscape Research. Originally from London, of Filipino and Turkish-Cypriot parentage, Crista lives in Newcastle with her husband and son.
The late Chrissie Glazebrook was a comic novelist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her novels include The Madolescents and Blue Spark Sisters.
J. A. Mensah is a writer based in the north east of England. She has written for theatre with a focus on human rights narratives and the testimonies of survivors. Her first novel, Castles from Cobwebs, won the inaugural NorthBound Book Award and will be published by Saraband.
Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, editor, translator, playwright, broadcaster and novelist. His poetry has won multiple awards, including the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize (three times), and the E. M. Forster Award. His second novel, Once Again Assembled Here, was published in 2016, as was Hammersmith, a chapbook of poetry and photographs. His ninth collection of poetry, Europa, was published in 2018, as well as his second collection of short stories from Comma Press, Quartier Perdu. Born in London, Sean O’Brien grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Angela Readman’s short stories have won the Costa Short Story Award, The Mslexia Story Prize, and The Anton Chekhov Award for Short Fiction. Her debut collection Don’t Try This at Home was published by And Other Stories in 2015. It won The Rubery Book Prize and was shortlisted in the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2015. She also writes poetry, and her collection The Book of Tides was published by Nine Arches in 2016. Something Like Breathing, her first novel, was published by And Other Stories in 2019.
Glynis Reed is a mother of two and lives on the North East coast. Glynis completed her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. In 2007, she was awarded the Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award. She has been published in various magazines and was mentored by the novelist, David Almond. Glynis is currently working on a novel.
Originally from the Midlands, Degna Stone is now based in Tyne and Wear. She is a co-founder and former Managing Editor of Butcher’s Dog poetry magazine, a Contributing Editor at The Rialto, and a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet selector. She received a Northern Writers Award in 2015, holds an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and is an associate artist with The Poetry Exchange. She is a fellow of The Complete Works III and received a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2019. Her latest pamphlet Handling Stolen Goods is available from Peepal Tree Press. ‘Ekow on Town Moor’ is her first published short story.
Recently retired senior lecturer in prose and scriptwriting at Newcastle University, Margaret Wilkinson’s radio dramas have been broadcast on the BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play; Saturday Drama; Writing the Century; and Woman’s Hour Serials. She has also written two novels, many short stories. several short and full-length stage plays and film scripts. For many years she has contributed regular columns to the writing magazine, Mslexia, reviewing recent collections of short stories and disseminating ideas about prose writing through exercises and techniques she has developed.