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Mr Jolly

by Michael Stewart

'He looked around at the people spilling in and out of bars. Not one of them knew who he was.'

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.

Praise for Michael Stewart's previous books:

“A unique, yet authentic Northern voice.”
— David Peace

“Bleak but wonderful ... familiar, and of course funny.”
— Alan Bennett

“Dark, funny and twisted, but surprisingly tender.”
— A.L. Kennedy


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.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-02-25

ISBN: 9781908853608

Catalogue Number: VP0072

Number of Pages: 160

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover photograph by CGP Grey

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