A STUNNING STORY SPANNING CENTURIES: THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY BY GREGORY NORMINTON IS PUBLISHED TODAY

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Gregory Norminton’s THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY, a novel deeply rooted in place, is published today by Fourth Estate in hardback, ebook and audiobook. Gregory read an extract from the dazzling novel at a packed launch at Daunt Books’ in Holland Park last night. The paperback will follow in September 2018.

In December, Robert Macfarlane selected THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY as his book of the year for Resurgence magazine, calling it ‘a powerful meditation on the damages – and the good – we have wrought, and will wreak, on the living world.’ George Monbiot also commented on its importance in addressing environmental issues, saying, ‘it's brilliant. The best treatment of climate change in fiction I've come across. A powerful, essential novel.’

This weekend The Guardian’s M. John Harrison praised the novel for being ‘satisfyingly Alan Garnereseque…. …. reminiscent of Will Self’s THE BOOK OF DAVE or Russell Hoban’s RIDDLEY WALKER’, and in the TLS Jay Griffiths describes it as ‘profound and powerful, its prose moving to poetry. Gregory Norminton writes in language scraped down to its bleached bones – but how exquisitely he makes those bones sing.’

Set on one Roman road in three time periods over three thousand years, THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY is a breathtakingly original novel that challenges our dearly held assumptions about civilisation.

An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must betray his brother to save his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two people – one traumatised by war, another by divorce – clash over the use and meaning of a landscape. In the distant future, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a broken world. Their stories are linked by one ancient road, the ‘Devil’s Highway’ in the heart of England: the site of human struggles that resemble one another more than they differ.

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In March, Gregory will be speaking alongside Rachel Lichtenstein about place in writing at a special event hosted by The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Visit Gregory’s website here.

Follow Gregory on Twitter here.

Gregory Norminton is a novelist, actor, playwright, and environmental activist, born in 1976. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School. He has published five novels including SERIOUS THINGS and THE SHIP FOOLS, and two short story collections. Several short stories and dramatisations have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His most recent collection, THE GHOST WHO BLED was released by Comma Press last year.

Praise for THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY

‘Satisfyingly Alan Garnereseque…. …. reminiscent of Will Self’s THE BOOK OF DAVE or Russell Hoban’s RIDDLEY WALKER’ – M. John Harrison, The Guardian

 ‘It's brilliant. The best treatment of climate change in fiction I've come across. A powerful, essential novel.’ – George Monbiot

'A big, ambitious, beautifully written book that examines, with immense sympathy and generosity, one of the greatest of all themes, place, and our complex, fraught relationship with it.' – Neel Mukherjee

‘Norminton's novel is intriguing, a cautionary examination of man's capacity for violence and the effect on the world around him.’ – SciFi Now Magazine

‘It’s a brilliant deep-time meditation on how landscapes hold – and conceal – meanings. The novel’s stories are set across three points in time, but always in the same place (a Roman road – the highway of the title – crossing southern England). It’s a powerful meditation on the damages – and the good – we have wrought, and will wreak, on the living world.’ – Robert Macfarlane, Resurgence & Ecologist, Books of the Year

 ‘THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY is held together by place, by the persistence and frailty of the natural world, and by the havoc wreaked on it by its human inhabitants. Spanning three civilisations and their conflictual relationship with the world in which they live, the novel is also a deeply human examination of the cruelties people inflict on one another, through war and need, and of the eventual possibility of love, the only defence against the destructive force of fire.’ – Charles Lambert author of Two Dark Tales

‘This is a work of staggering imagination, of unflinching acuity, powerful, poetic and profound. Telling the story of climate breakdown through language breakdown, it magnifies the meaning of loss, portraying a devastated culture without history or literature, whose language is down to its bleached bones and yet – how those bones sing.’ – Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey

‘Impressively binds three compelling tales of different times, to one piece of land, with sinews of poetry, history and a viscerally energetic imagination’ – Laline Paull, author of The Bees

‘A striking and dazzlingly poetic meditation on the resonance of place, conflict and kinship. . . . Norminton's skilfully-wrought novel is a memorable and thought-provoking read’ – Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

THE GHOST WHO BLED published today by Comma Press

THE GHOST WHO BLED, Gregory Norminton's collection of ‘sublime’ short stories, is published out now in the UK, published by Comma Press. 'Witty, intelligent, crunchily written, Norminton’s collection is pure reading pleasure.”  says Neel Mukherjee, the Booker-shortlisted author of The Lives of Others.

Spanning centuries and continents, the stories in this collection amount to a tour de force of literary worldbuilding. From deeply insecure time travellers to medieval mystics and futuristic body modification cults, Norminton’s characters find themselves torn between conflicting impulses – temptation and fortitude, hubris and shame, longing and regret. By turns sad, strange and darkly comic, THE GHOST WHO BLED reveals a master storyteller of incredible range.

Listen to Gregory chatting about the book on BBC Radio Sheffield here.

Gregory’s new novel THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY will be published by 4th Estate in Spring 2018.

Visit Gregory’s website here.

Follow Gregory on Twitter here.

Praise for THE GHOST WHO BLED:

'This is a sublime collection of short stories by a writer whose breath-taking flexibility of style gives life to an array of different voices... Unfailingly beautiful, deceptively simple and lyrically powerful' — Claire Looby, The Irish Times

'There is a yesteryear quality to much of Gregory Norminton’s writing, at least in these stories, several of which look backward in style to classics of the genre.' — Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books

'Witty, intelligent, crunchily written, Norminton’s collection is pure reading pleasure.” - Neel Mukherjee (Booker-shortlisted author of The Lives of Others)

'All the doors of the imagination are open to Gregory Norminton, the author of micro-fictions and exuberantly long novels; this collection roves magnificently from one side of the world to the other, bringing together people and their predicaments as only its author can. Read it and be transported, too.' — Michael Caines (The TLS)

‘Gregory Norminton’s tautly written, mordant short stories make the reader sit up and think. Startlingly original imagery and that rare thing, moral and political bite.’ – Maggie Gee

‘Norminton's beautifully written stories capture the range and complexity of life with wit and compassion, insight and pathos: hugely enjoyable, very much recommended.’ — James Miller (The Lost Boys, Sunshine State)

‘These wonderfully accomplished stories range over time and place, but what holds them together, other than the mastery of the language and the sheer gift of storytelling displayed, is their constant, complex humanity, and the sense that being human is only part of being something larger, what the narrator of the title story calls "the sufficient planet of home."' — Charles Lambert (The Children's Home)

‘Anything by Gregory Norminton is a pleasure to read.’ — Time Out

 

4th Estate acquires Gregory Norminton's THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY

Helen Garnons-Williams at 4th Estate has acquired THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY by acclaimed novelist Gregory Norminton, from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann. 4th Estate will publish in Spring 2018, and have acquired British Commonwealth rights excluding Canada.

Set on and around the Devil’s Highway – a Roman road that crosses north Surrey and Hampshire – it is a vivid and deftly constructed novel spanning three thousand years and charting the ways in which one place can become many places over time. An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must betray his brother to save his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two people – one traumatised by war, another by divorce – clash over the meaning of a landscape. Centuries in the future, with England now a burning desert, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a broken land.

Helen Garnons-Williams says, ‘I acquired Gregory’s first novel, THE SHIP OF FOOLS, for Sceptre 15 years ago, when I was struck by the breadth of his imagination and the freshness of his voice. In the intervening years my admiration for his writing has only grown. We are all thrilled to welcome him to 4th Estate and to be publishing this extraordinarily original, affecting and urgent new novel.’

Gregory Norminton says, ‘I am very excited to be joining 4th Estate, especially with a novel that, for all its scope, is my most personal yet. In THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY I have returned to the landscape of my youth – I have come home, so to speak, as I have come home, in another sense, to Helen Garnons-Williams, my first editor.’

‘It’s not just the pleasure of this particular author-publisher reunion that gladdens the heart,’ says Isobel Dixon. ‘I know that many will rejoice at Gregory Norminton’s return with this striking new novel. With all its brio and brilliance, its vision and fierceness, THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY maps an unforgettable journey for character and reader, changing the way you see the world.’

Praise for Gregory Norminton:

‘Norminton’s measured, elegant prose makes beauty and menace sing in perfect harmony … his scaling of the treacherous cliffs of the human heart will take your breath away.’  - Neel Mukherjee, Sunday Telegraph

‘Anything by Gregory Norminton is a pleasure to read.’  - Time Out

‘Norminton is a fine writer, his imagery is often striking, his turn of phrase can be wonderful.’  - John Mackenna, Irish Times

‘Whatever Gregory Norminton turns to next will be worth waiting for.’ - Alastair Mabbott, The Herald

Gregory Norminton trained as an actor, and is the author of four widely-praised novels. His short stories have been published in many journals and anthologies and Comma Press will publish his second collection The Ghost Who Bled in 2017. He teaches Creative Writing and English at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Blake Friedmann authors at the Wigtown Book Festival

The Wigtown Book Festival begins on 23rd September and it’s the perfect chance to catch four Blake Friedmann authors discussing their work. The festival takes place over ten days and welcomes over 100 writers to Wigtown, this year including Frank Gardner, Val McDermid and Phill Jupitus.

Pippa Goldschmidt will be taking part in two different events at the festival. On Sunday 27th September she will be running a creative writing workshop with a difference at her Dark Skies experience, free for under 25s. She will also be talking with Marek Kukula about I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE, an anthology she recently co-edited, and the legacy of Einstein’s achievement.

On Monday 28th September Helen Walmsley-Johnson will be talking about her manifesto for middle-age, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. Tickets are available here.

On Sunday 4th October, Gregory Norminton will be talking about French classic THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry as part of the Children’s Festival. Buy tickets here.

Janice Galloway will also be talking about her short story collection JELLYFISH, published by Freight Books, at the McNeillie tent – you can buy tickets here.

For more information about Wigtown Book Festival, you can visit their website.