Date of release: Monday, March 6, 2017
Paul Stanbridge, whose first novel Forbidden Line has been described as "a lavish comic masterpiece", is joining the University of Greenwich as Writer in Residence.
The position will give him a chance to draft his second novel and share insights with Creative Writing students.
"I was never taught creative writing so I never knew how awful your first draft is," he says. "My message to students is: 'Get over it and keep working'."
Paul plans to write a blog so students can see the process and obstacles which writers have to overcome. "We don't know where we are going when we start a new book. I don't have any plot or defined characters, just an idea. It starts in a void and coalesces."
Forbidden Line is "fat, uncompromising and gloriously eccentric. Which is as it should be – since it's a retelling of Don Quixote combined with a recreation of the Peasant's Revolt," says publisher Galley Beggar Press.
Paul adds: "My Don thinks the only thing that is real is the here and now. He keeps trying to destroy history, only it turns out he has been caught up in the unfolding Peasant's Revolt all along."
Creative Writing programme leader Dr Alex Pheby, whose novel Playthings was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize last year, says: "Paul is already proving himself indispensable around campus – teaching, advising students, and writing wherever he can find the desk space."
Paul is the university's second Writer in Residence, following Paul Ewen, author of the celebrated Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author.
Dr Pheby adds: "Paul Ewen's residency was enormously successful and enjoyable for everyone, with Paul addressing the students, performing at the Greenwich Book Festival and most importantly, writing the first draft of his new Francis Plug novel, set here in Greenwich.
"Writers in residence are vital to the university's research culture in Creative Writing, and we're very privileged to have such brilliant writers contributing to our academic community."
Sam Jordison, at Galley Beggar Press, says: "Paul is a brilliant talent, bursting with ideas and intelligence and creative spark. He's an unusually gifted writer and a remarkable high achiever. He will be a tremendous asset for students, working on their own edits and redrafts."
Greenwich currently has a community of around a hundred students on the Creative Writing BA degree programmes (either single honours or combined with English Literature), with many more on related drama, digital media and communication courses.
Greenwich currently has a community of around a hundred students on Creative Writing BA degree programmes (either single honours or combined with English Literature), with many more on related drama, digital media and communication courses. Creative Writing is taught in the Department of Literature, Language & Theatre, part of the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities.
For more information about creative writing at Greenwich: http://www.gre.ac.uk/features/creative-writing-the-story-unfolds
For more about the degree programmes: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/faculty/ach/study/llt/programmes
What the critics say about Forbidden Line:
"What grips at once is Stanbridge's beautiful, stately, eccentric and richly rewarding prose. He never lets up, never falters…breathtaking, magisterial, uniquely demented and hilarious - a lavish comic masterpiece."
Literary critic David Collard.
"Everyone needs to sit up and take notice of this, which is Don Quixote on acid. It leaves the doughy train of contemporary realist fiction following way behind."
Giles Foden, author of 'The Last King of Scotland' and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
"Forbidden Line really shouldn't work, but it does so with a kind joy and comic panache that few writers possess. It's an achievement to be admired, relished, and loved."
Neil Griffiths, founder of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses.
Picture: Paul Stanbridge.