Today it’s World Book Day in the UK and what better way to celebrate than by picking up a good book by a Birmingham based author? Here are three contemporary authors which i think are well worth checking out…
Writer, poet, lecturer and born in Handsworth, he is well worth seeing speak live as reading some of his work. Having published (and performed) a slew of poetry, he has also released several novels aimed at young people. He also did a blinder of a talk at the University of Birmingham’s annual Baggs Memorial Lecture on the topic of happiness and was in BBC TV show Peaky Blinders. If you’ve never heard, seen or read anything by this man you’re really missing out. http://benjaminzephaniah.com/
I read Katharine’s first novel Park Life a couple of years ago and adored it. It follows the lives of two people who live in the same block of flats, with South Birmingham being almost a supporting character – and those in the know will be able to spot references to Kings Heath / Moseley, which just added to the book for me. Katharine has since released a second book which I’m looking forward to reading soon. http://www.katharinedsouza.co.uk/
Ex-agony uncle (no really, check out his website) and author of a stack of bestsellers, Mike Gayle in a Brummie born and bred. He’s also set a few of his books in Brum, namely Turning Thirty and its sequel Turning Forty, which is also set in South Birmingham. But his other books are set in London, Manchester and there’s even a non-fiction book, The To Do List. His books are light-hearted (except maybe My Legendary Girlfriend, that one’s a bit darker) and often confusingly called chick lit. If you’re looking for a beach read, then you can’t go wrong with some of Mike’s novels. http://www.mikegayle.co.uk/
Some other authors with links to Birmingham worth checking out are: W. H Auden (you know the Stop all the Clocks / Funeral Blue poem from Four Weddings), R J Ellory, Catherine O’Flynn (her first novel What Was Lost is set in a shopping mall which may or may not be Merry Hill), Lee Child, J. R. R. Tolkien, Arthur Conan Doyle (spend some time working in Brum) and Malala Yousafzai.
So, what are you reading this World Book Day?