A Great Yorkshire Writer

It’s 30 years since the life of Andrea Dunbar was cut tragically short. I have written a feature for the Yorkshire Post reflecting on her plays and legacy.

The article is paywalled, but you can register for one free view a month by clicking the link below…

Andrea Dunbar ‘deserves her place on Bradford’s Literary Wall of Fame’ after plays on working-class life during Thatcher era

New Author Page at Bookshop.Org

I have set up a new author page on Bookshop.org that contains links to all of my books that are currently in print (including anthologies etc) and a few books lists to whet the appetite such as Bitter Northern Classics, Best Music Books, and 3:AM, Offbeat & Brutalist Writers.

Bookshop is a new online store for independent bookshops in the UK that allows readers to order directly through them and for booksellers to keep a healthy percentage of the sale. Please support your local bookshop by searching for them on the website, then selecting your lockdown/xmas books through the search engine. You can read more about it here.

Happy reading, comrades!

Portico Prize in The New Review

Anita Sethi has interviewed six shortlisted writers (including myself) for this year’s Portico Prize for the Observer New Review… with portrait photographs by Richard Saker (this one was taken in Mytholmroyd on a cold, blustery December afternoon)

‘Do writers in the north have to work harder to get published? Is there a northern aesthetic? We talk to the six authors shortlisted for the Portico prize – AKA the “Booker of the north”‘

Channelling the Spirit of the North

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile has made it onto this year’s Portico Prize for Literature shortlist, an award for writing that “best evokes the spirit of the North”. Other shortlisted titles include Saltwater by Jessica Andrews, Ironopolis by Glen James Brown, The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson, The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney, and Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place by Benjamin Myers.

Here’s what the Bookseller had to say about it:

The shortlist of six was revealed on Monday (9th December). Six books were whittled down from a longlist selected by the Portico Prize’s newly formed Society of Readers and Writers. They were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by journalist and broadcaster Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads.

Savidge said: “This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North. These books celebrate the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North…”

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile on Tour: Reviews

Lisa Holdsworth’s stage adaptation of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (with Freedom Studios) is touring across Yorkshire in June. It has received a series of extraordinary reviews in the press this week. These are just a few…

Vibrant and unsentimental, a shining example of site-specific work ★★★★ The Observer

A celebration of fierce, resilient women ” ★★★★ The Guardian

Poignant and resonant… a relevant and emotive caution against the one-size-fits-all approach of the privileged theatre industry” ★★★★ The Stage

The real deal” ★★★★ The Times

“A funny, desperately sad tale of a young woman whose blazing talent made her a once-in-a-generation dramatist” ★★★★ Mail on Sunday

“Compelling and totally believable… it honours Dunbar’s legacy in a manner of which she surely would have approved” ★★★★ Yorkshire Post

“Powerful and convincing” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“A deeply human celebration of a young, female, regional, working-class voice who was important not in spite of, but because of, the life she led and the place she came from” ★★★★ Broadway World

“This brutally honest and beautifully written work, performed by a cast who really get it, would have had Andrea raising a glass to them in The Beacon” ★★★★ North West End

Lively, engaging and packs one hell of a punch” British Theatre Guide

A really impressive feat of acting and staging” The Culture Vulture 

“The truth does hurt, but thank goodness Dunbar chose to tell it”  The Independent 

Andrea Dunbar’s life story to be staged in Bradford pub

I’m pleased to announce that my novel Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is being adapted for the stage by Lisa Holdsworth and Freedom Studios in 2019. Chris Wiegand wrote a feature about the new play in today’s Guardian, “A new drama is to revisit the life and early death of Andrea Dunbar, the playwright who became a sensation with Rita, Sue and Bob Too, a dark comedy inspired by the Yorkshire housing estate where she lived. The play, written by Lisa Holdsworth, will be staged in a pub in Dunbar’s native Bradford in May next year. It is adapted from Adelle Stripe’s strikingly atmospheric novel about Dunbar, which captures Dunbar’s experience of poverty and abuse, her quick wit and her flair as a playwright. Holdsworth says her adaptation doesn’t give a voice to the men who mistreated Dunbar but instead focuses on ‘women’s relationships and how they quietly get on with things and get things done…'”

Visit Freedom Studios‘ website for tickets and further information

The Short, Reckless Life of Andrea Dunbar: Black Teeth Reviewed in The Spectator

There’s a fantastic review of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Andy Miller in this week’s Spectator:

“Stripe’s novel mixes fiction and biography in a manner that brings to mind the work of the late Gordon Burn. It fizzes like two Disprin in a pint of cider. The author’s voice and Dunbar’s mingle to create not just a portrait of an artist — funny, mischievous, reckless and truthful — but also divisions of class, geography and opportunity which continue to shape this country. You can read it in an afternoon and should; there are too few British novels as effervescent or as relevant as this.”

Gordon Burn Prize

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile has been shortlisted for the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize.

In the spirit of the Gordon Burn Prize, the shortlist is far-reaching, eclectic and provocative. It includes two debuts, four works of fiction and two of non-fiction, with a third of the list published by two small presses as the resurgence of the independent publisher in the UK continues.

“The Gordon Burn Prize shortlist continues to showcase some of the most interesting contemporary writing in its wide-ranging selection of titles. Six titles were selected by judges Petina Gappah, Allan Jenkins, Ian Sansom and Cosey Fanni Tutti to go forward:

  • Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe (Wrecking Ball Press)
  • Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta Books)
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books)
  • The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
  • This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan (Faber & Faber)
  • This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions)

The winner will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12 October 2017.