Celebrating local talent
It might be an international event, but in true Leeds Living style, we’re celebrating several local authors. Shining a light on the talent that lives in and around the City is part of our M.O., and lucky for us there’s enough of it to keep us busy!
Dr Roxy Robinson
It’s safe to say Festival consultant Dr Roxy Robinson knows a thing or two about music festivals. She’s acted as a marketing consultant on Beacons Festival, founded the arts programme at award-winning Kendal Calling Festival, and run Raisetheroof, her own metropolitan festival at Leeds West Indian Community Centre.
In December she published her first book Music Festivals and the Politics of Participation, a study of modern festival culture. In the book she explores key events in festival history, and examines the evolution of the indie music festival scene.
She currently has an idea for a second book, but plans on taking some time off first: “I have an idea for book number two, but I’m taking a little break from writing for the next year or two. After that I would love to pursue an idea, looking at youth culture in contemporary Iran, with a focus on festivals and events.”
Music Festivals and the Politics of Participation is available to buy from Routledge, and Roxy can provide a 50% off code if requested by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copywriter Simon Griffin had grown tired of the blatant disregard regularly shown to the apostrophe. Working as a copywriter in London and Leeds, he had repeatedly encountered the problem and decided to address it in a tongue-and-cheek manner.
Initially written as a self-promotional piece, his book Fucking Apostrophes has attracted the attention of Griffin’s fellow punctuation pedants. He partly blames social media for the poor adherence to punctuation: “Suddenly we’re restricted to 140 characters and first thing to go are the apostrophes!”
Designed by Manchester’s Music Agency, the guide has an old school grammar book to it, which lends it its charm. Peppered throughout with amusing examples of correct apostrophe use (“That is nobody’s business,” said Mr Berlusconi in a statement to the press), it’s the perfect gift for any apostrophe offenders.
You can buy an original second edition of Fucking Apostrophes for £12+p&p through the official website.
Ex-policeman Peter Churchill spent twenty years on covert police work, working in narcotics, national and international crime. Now settled in the north of Leeds, he finished his first book The Cut in 2001.
Drawing on experiences from his professional career, the book deals with a fictionalised major cocaine importation into the UK. He explains: “I was still working while my first book was written and as you might imagine, my work draws heavily on my own experiences as a cop.”
Written in third person from the viewpoint of a detective sergeant in the Leeds drug squad, The Cut tells the story of the rise of prominence of a Leeds criminal and his ambition to become a global dealer.
His second book The Twist is ready for proofreading, and he is a quarter of the way through his third book The Wrap. The Cut is available to download as an ebook on Amazon.
No two days are the same for freelance writer Richard Smyth. The author of four history books, a novel and a selection of short stories, he also writes for magazine articles, compiles crosswords, and helps to set the questions for BBC Mastermind.
From Wakefield originally, he studied in York, has lived in Leeds, and now has a house in Saltaire (“A fascinatingly cosmopolitan background, I know!” he jokes). He has been writing fiction since he was a child, and published his first book Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper in 2012.
He describes his 2013 book Bloody British History: Leeds as a Horrible Histories for grown-ups, and was inspired to work on it after writing a few pieces on local history for the Leeds tourism site. Drawn to the gorier events, his pieces caught the attention of The History Press: “At that point they were just starting up the Blood British History series. I think they liked the fact I had a tendency to dwell on the distasteful. Leeds is a city I know really well - and has a pretty spectacular history - so the project was a perfect fit for me.”
Richard’s books are available to buy on Amazon, and also on hive.co.uk, which gives a cut to local booksellers.
For the chance to win a copy of Bloody British History: Leeds and Fucking Apostrophes head over to our Twitter page and retweet our World Book Day competition tweet. Winner must be 18+ and a UK resident.