Lakenham Infants’ School

Some way from Norfolk


Welcome to this website. My novel, Stepping into the Sun, was published by Matador in August 2021, and it is available from Amazon and elsewhere as a physical book and as an e-book. There is an email address to which comments - good, bad and indifferent - can be directed:

I promise to include the bad and indifferent as well as the good here, space permitting, of course! There are now eight reviews on the relevant page, which can also be found on the Amazon page and at Goodreads.

As to the kind of Dickensian backstory that Salinger’s Holden Caulfield dismissively refused to reveal, I was born in Grimsby, my mother's home town, but grew up in Norfolk. Initially in a village with the archetypally English name of Saxlingham Nethergate, and then Norwich. The city, as the adage has it, of a pub for every day of the year, a church for every week, and a brothel for every month. Although I may have imagined the last one. And a modern version in any event would probably be prize-winning authors for January to December, given the alumni of the UEA's school of creative writing. 

Following school I went into journalism in King's Lynn, with the idea of becoming a sports writer, but somehow that never took off, although I covered football very occasionally and even speedway, despite being clueless as to its finer points. It was very noisy. That I certainly understood. 

Later I worked in the East Midlands, when it still had a shoe industry, with unions with great acronymic initials, such as Nubso, which became Nuflat. I sometimes covered drag racing at the Santa Pod strip, which I found to be even noisier than speedway. And then I moved on to editing some local papers in the Bedford area.  

Finally I settled down on the night news desk of the Financial Times, which might appear to be the polar opposite of sports journalism, except that football particularly seems nowadays as much about money as the game itself. Truthfully it always was to an extent, but the extent has grown, and become more unsportingly obvious, as was illustrated by the recent attempt (which may well be repeated) by spectacularly debt-ridden clubs to set up a self-appointed European Super League on the laughable pretext of boosting the coffers of the likes of Grimsby Town.  

Stepping into the Sun, my first and quite possibly going to be my only novel, was written in the mid- to late-1980s, which is why it is set then, although I heavily rewrote it a year or two back. One of its themes is the significance of European culture, and its loss, but I stoically resisted the temptation, post the Brexit referendum, to add emphasis to that aspect. 

I retired from the FT after working through two Argentine peso crises, for fear of a third erupting, and decamped to Euroland. No currencies problems there at all… 

That this novel has seen the light of day is due to a host of people, and apologies to anyone inadvertently omitted. My sincere thanks go to my brother David; to Hannah Dakin, Jack Wedgbury, Fern Bushnell and Jonathan White at Matador, the publishers; to Carol Hemmingson of Norwich Typing and CV Services; to Dr Liselotte Schöffler for translation; to Ivana Fostier for photography. I owe this deservedly praised website to the expertise of Callum King and his team at Tactile Solutions, based in Taverham, Norfolk (