he winner of the New Writer Magazine National Novella Competition
In Franks’ gripping psychological novella about memory and forgiveness, a man walks across the wild moorland in the north of England for a meeting with his estranged and ancient father. He is re-treading the ground the two of them strode together nearly forty years before, and trying to piece together the circumstances of his mother's death. Was she the victim of her own excesses, or did his father have a hand in it? Must he be thought of as a murderer? As he ponders these things England is in the grip of a drought and the ruins of the old Cumbrian village of Mardale, flooded before the war to create a reservoir for Manchester, are slowly inching back into view as the water subsides. Will fresh answers to his own pressing questions be delivered by this re-emergence of the past? In the same volume are The Tarnished Muse, a wicked satire on the theatre and the press, and The Night Everything Happened, a riotous comedy about a young man out of control in London.
210 x 148 mm
What reviewers said about Franks’ novel Boychester’s Bugle:
- Novelist Tom Sharpe
'A very funny blackish comedy about the introduction of new technology.'
- Alan Hollinghurst, The Observer
'Sharply satirical... a sting in every paragraph.'
- The Times Literary Supplement
'Alan Franks writes now in the style of Flann O’Brien, now in that of the young Kingsley Amis... a very odd, brave novel.'
- The Tablet
Alan Franks has been a long established feature writer for The Times and has interviewed many top figures in the world of music (Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sondheim, Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Andre Previn); theatre/film (Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Woody Allen, Mickey Rourke, Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller) and literature (Muriel Spark, James Baldwin, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Anthony Powell, Laurie Lee).
A collection of his Alan Franks’s Diary columns was published as a book, Real Life With Small Children Under Foot, which he read as a series on Radio 4. He has twice been nominated for a British Press Award.
Alan Franks’s previous novel, Boychester’s Bugle drew ecstatic reviews. The Times Literary Supplement called it 'splendidly funny.' For Alan Hollinghurst in The Observer, it resembled Keith Waterhouse, while The Tablet saw similarities with Flann O'Brien and early Kingsley Amis. The veteran farceur Tom Sharpe found it 'brilliantly comic.'
Going Over, a collection of short novels published in 2010 by Muswell Press opens with the winner of a national novella competition.
Franks is the author of many plays, including The Mother Tongue, which starred Prunella Scales and Gwen Taylor. ('English-Chekhov' wrote Sheridan Morley in The Spectator); The Edge of the Land, about the great floods of 1953, and Previous Convictions, a black domestic comedy about family duty and recession.
With the singer Patty Vetta he has released four albums of his songs, including The Wishfulness Waltz, which was recorded by Fairport Convention. He is currently collaborating as a lyricist with the saxophonist and composer Tim Whitehead who was current artist in residence in Tate Britain.
His poems have won several prizes, including the Wigtown Competition, Scotland’s largest. Unmade Roads, his most recent collection, includes his winning entries in the Plough and Petra Kenney competitions. He has been described, by the late John Rety, co-founder of Torriano Poetry, as 'a modern day Sydney Carter.'