Friday, 22 May 2015

B-B-B-BOOK DEAL!!!



I am very pleased to announce that I have just signed a book deal with Little, Brown, who will be publishing my first graphic novel, 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)' in February 2017 (which may seem a long way off but I still have a lot to do and I have to deliver the finished book by the end of April 2016).  

Here's how I described the book in the cover letter I sent out to publishers earlier this year:

‘Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)’ is my health-themed autobiography, in which I chronicle 25 years of chronic, mostly very embarrassing health problems and milk them for laughs.  From scrotal surgery to sciatica, from itchy rashes to irritable bowel syndrome, from anxiety to agoraphobia, this is the story of my struggle to get taken seriously by a succession of indifferent, occasionally downright rude doctors, and a rough guide to coping (badly) with chronic illness.  

This book is something I've been thinking about doing for years but I finally started work on it last year, after hearing about the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Prize.  Although I didn't win that competition, I did get short-listed and had to give a short reading at the British Library last May.  The positive response I got from that reading really boosted my confidence (I am very aware that a book about my history of embarrassing health problems could have been a disaster) and encouraged me to continue with the book.  Earlier this year, I started sending what I have done so far around to publishers, and here I am with a book deal.  I have known about this for a few weeks but it has only just sunk in this week, now that contracts have been exchanged, and I am very happy about it!

As I said, a book about my health problems could have been a disaster, and I'm sure that the subject matter will be a turn-off for some people no matter how good I manage to make it, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction I've had so far.  Although I do want to make some serious points along the way, my emphasis throughout will be on humour.  I would not be doing this if I didn't think I could make it funny (and I doubt anyone would want to read it if it wasn't funny).  

I will be posting updates on my progress here and on Tumblr in the coming months.        

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Crouch End Comic Art Festival


This coming Saturday (8th November) I will be heading to north-London for the first time in years to attend the very first Crouch End Comic Art Festival at the Earl Haig Hall (in Crouch End, of course). I don't have anything new out at the moment, because I am still busy working on my graphic novel, 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)', which won't be finished for some time, but I will have copies of most of my old comics with me and will be sketching and moaning about my bad back all day. Other exhibitors include Paul Rainey, Martin Eden, Francesca Cassavetti, Gary Northfield, and CECAF organiser Sean Azzopardi.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Time Traveller's Comic Collection





This was my entry for this year's Comica / Observer Graphic Short Story Prize.  It didn't win but I really like it.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

45-Year-Old Fat Man Fails To Win Prestigious Literary Award


Well, last night was the presentation of the 2014 Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Award and I didn't win (although I did get some Myriad graphic novels as a runner-up prize, which was nice).  Other than that, though, it was a great evening.  All of the shortlisted entries were very good and the incredibly talented Jade Sarson was a deserving winner.  I was very nervous before I went up on stage to do my reading but it ended up going really well and I was very pleased with the response I got.  I really wasn't sure how well a book about my history of embarrassing health problems would go down but reaching the shortlist in this competition, getting a lot of laughs during my reading, and having a lot of people come up to me after the reading to tell me how funny it was has really boosted my confidence in this project. I will definitely be completing it. Thank you to Myriad and the judges for shortlisting me (and for the graphic novels), I really appreciate it.

I should probably get on with the rest of the book now.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Judgement Day


This evening, the winner of the 2014 Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Award will be announced at the British Library.  My in-progress graphic novel, 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)', is one of six shortlisted entries, so I will be there, nervously awaiting the result.  In case I wasn't already nervous enough, at some point in the evening, I have to go up on stage, talk to the judges (and/or Paul Gravett) about my work and do a three-page reading. If you would like to come along and witness this spectacle, tickets are available here, although I believe tickets are also available on the door.

I should probably go and iron a shirt now.   

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Shortlisted!



I am over the frigging moon to announce that my in-progress, autobiographical graphic novel, 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)', has made the shortlist for this year's Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Competition. The winner will be announced at an event at the British Library on May 23rd.  I will be there to show off a few pages and talk about my work with the judges before the winner is announced and receives a prize of £1,000,000 in cash and a kiss on the lips from TV's Susanna Reid (at least this is what I understood the prize to be when I entered but now I'm starting to hear rumours that the first prize is just a publishing deal).  

I am the only man on the shortlist and my graphic novel is mostly about my testicles - images like the one above are not censored in the actual work - so this could be a very awkward evening.  If you would like to come along and watch a 45-year-old, overweight, socially awkward man make a fool of himself talking about his testicles in front of a room full of people, tickets are available from here.  I have yet to decide whether or not I will be wearing trousers and underpants on the evening. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL COMPETITION


I am very pleased to announce that my in-progress graphic novel, 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)', has made the longlist for this year's Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Competition. 'Sack, Crack & Back (& Brain)' is an autobiographical GN, all about the (mostly very embarrassing) health problems I have experienced over the last 25 years  This might not sound like the most entertaining story ever told but, believe it or not, it's a comedy.  This is a story I've been wanting to tell for years.  In fact, I first started thinking about doing a comic about my health in the late-1990s, but life never presented me with an ending, my health problems dragged on and on and the story spiraled out of control in my head.  In recent years, though, I've managed to get things into perspective and what was originally conceived as a 20- to 40-page comic has became a graphic novel.  The title has changed many times and may very well change again.  The ending may change, too, depending what happens while I am working on the book. The important thing is that I have begun working on it. There will probably come a point where I have to take a step back, go through all the reference materials I have collected over the years and try to construct a timeline, so that I don't get lost or bogged down in too much detail during the middle section of the book, but this first section, which I've been carrying around in my head for the last 16 years, is almost writing itself.  Once it's finished and (hopefully) published, I may never be able to show my face in public again, but this is a story I just have to tell and I'm very glad that I've finally stopped dithering and started work on it.

The shortlist for the First Graphic Novel Competition is announced on May 1st.