by Paul Ewen - £11.00 Galley Beggar Press (2014)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781910296141 | ISBN 10: 1910296147
In the most controversial year in the history of the Man Booker Prize comes a book certain to add fuel to the fire. How to be a Public Author will take the debate to another level. It will get everyone talking and laughing even more about Britains biggest annual book bonanza.
Francis Plug is a troubled and often drunk misfit who causes chaos and confusion wherever he goes and where he most likes to go is to real author events, collecting signatures from the likes of Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Eleanor Catton.
As he adds to this collection of signed Booker first editions, Francis a wannabe author himself is also helpfully writing a self-help manual. This is devised with the novice writer in mind, and full of sage wisdom and useful tidbits to help ease freshly published novelists into the demands and rigors of author events, readings, and general life in the public eye.
So, "If you're provided with a hands-free mic, clipped to your lapel, don't forget to turn it off when you visit the toilet, or if you need to vomit before your event." Likewise, it's always good to be wary of the germs of fans and "considering the use of elbow-length dishwashing gloves at book signings, and a large, easy-wipe kitchen apron." And so too, cultivating a photographic 'look' for the many publicity shots you will be subjected to is also a good idea Francis's personal choice being that of Macaulay McCulkin in Home Alone.
With advice like this, and Francis' warm and deranged personality, How to be a Public Author will prove ESSENTIAL reading for anyone with an interest in the literary world.
How to be a Public Author is a brilliant slapstick comedy, blurring fact and fantasy to astonishing effect, and it is also a surprising and touching meditation on loneliness and finding a place in the world. The Man Booker Prize becomes a springboard to explore what it means to be an author and a human being in the twenty-first century.
This novel is certain to be one of the main talking points when the Man Booker Prize is discussed this year, as well as one that will endure long after the controversies have died down. It is an exceptional piece of writing a novel that readers will love and return to, time and time again.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2014)