Word Monkey

Christopher Fowler


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Transworld Publishers Ltd
27 June 2024
ISBN: 9781804992586
464 pages

From the publisher

A remarkable memoir from the acclaimed author of the Bryant & May series and the award-winning Paperboy in which he contemplates how he became a writer and what it's meant to him while weaving into the narrative his candid, moving (and surprisingly funny) account of having to confront his own mortality in what he knew would be the final chapter in his story.

'A delight . . . a glorious, witty and life-affirming ragbag of autobiography, cultural commentary and hard-won wisdom.' ANDREW TAYLOR, author of The Shadows of London

'Perceptive, wise and illuminating . . . an unmissable farewell.' Barry Forshaw, FINANCIAL TIMES

'The most hilarious, life-affirming book you’ll read this year.' SAGA magazine

'Wit and wisdom that make every page turn . . . what a fine talent the world has lost.' STARBURST

This is the memoir Christopher Fowler always wanted to write about 'writing'.

It's the story of how a young bookworm growing up in a house where there was nothing to read but knitting pamphlets and motorcycle manuals became a writer - a 'word monkey' - and pursued a sort of career in popular fiction. And it's a book full of brilliant insights into the pleasures and pitfalls of his profession, dos and don'ts for would-be writers, and astute observations on favourite (and not-so-favourite) novelists.

But woven into this hugely entertaining and inspiring reflection on a literary life is an altogether darker thread. In Spring 2020, just as the world went into lockdown, Chris was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And yet there is nothing of the misery memoir about Word Monkey. Past and present intermingle as, in prose as light as air, he relates with wry humour and remarkable honesty what he knows will be the final chapter in his story.

Deeply moving, insightful and surprisingly funny, this is Christopher Fowler's life-affirming account of coming to terms with his own mortality.

'A remarkable book by a remarkable writer: amazingly entertaining and informative and also, for obvious reasons, one of the most moving.' SIMON MASON, author of the DI Wilkins Mysteries

'Wonderful . . . there is no bitterness here, but a hearty celebration of how art defines a life, with dark humour on the right occasions and the deliberate aim to leave a positive message . . . his enthusiasm is infectious and sobering when you are aware that he was dying as he wrote these pages.' Maxim Jacubowski, CRIME TIME