Michael Stewart was born in Salford in 1971. He is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield, and editor of the celebrated series of Grist anthologies. He lives with his partner and son in Bradford.
His debut novel King Crow (Bluemoose, 2011) won The Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker’ Prize, and was the only debut selected as a ‘recommended read’ for World Book Night 2012. Subsequent publications have included short, themed poetry collection Couples (Valley Press, 2013) and a second novel, Café Assassin (Bluemoose, 2015). His first collection of short stories, Mr Jolly, was published by Valley Press in February 2016, and was longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017.
His latest novel is Ill Will, imagining what Heathcliff did during his three-year disappearance from Wuthering Heights.
Longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017
Mr Jolly is the first collection of short stories by Michael Stewart, and contains some of the award-winning novelist’s most extraordinary writing to date. Each tale offers a unique, utterly compelling insight into the human condition, framed by a mind-bendingly original concept that no other writer working today could – or indeed would – have concocted.
Readers will meet a conformity-obsessed league of bald men, breaking into homes for an extended debate about the nature of freedom; discuss the nomenclature of the marshmallow with a man whose interest in them goes beyond the norm; and meet God, in perhaps the most frustratingly accurate depiction of the divine being in modern literature.
Last phone calls, alien abductions, murders and more are grounded in stories of struggling parents, baffled lovers and lost children (some of whom may live permanently on the number 606 bus). However long you live, and however much you read, you’ll never find another book quite like this.
Paperback out of stock, reprint forthcoming in 2019.
Couples is the latest poetry publication from award-winning writer Michael Stewart; a blackly comic sequence of poems that explore the nature of co-dependency – of two people who want to be together, but at the same time cannot help but push each other away.
The layout of the book is itself a commentary on the phenomenon – the poems are placed in their own 'couples', twelve pairs that face each other across the page. Sometimes they exchange a glance, sometimes they stand side-by-side, staring out into the abyss; only when the book is closed, and they are in darkness, do they truly come together.
“Bleak but wonderful ... familiar, and of course funny.”
— Alan Bennett
“Dark, funny and twisted, but surprisingly tender.”
— A.L. Kennedy
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