Award-winning crime writer, Penny Grubb, was there signing a copy of her latest novel The Jawbone Gang for another local award-winner, ValWood, whose historical sagas regularly hit the best-seller lists. Before long the shop was crowded, and unluckily for Mr Stuart, the crowd was awash with local writers: Linda Acaster (paranormal romance); Stuart Aken, prolific writer and prize-winner in several genres; Madeleine Macdonald, novelist and regular columnist in the Yorkshire Post; Avril Field-Taylor (more crime); Karen Wolfe (comic fantasy); SylviaEdwards, Sylvia Broady and I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.
This was not good news for an MP out shopping for a birthday present because writers are facing a lot of threats at the moment and have strong views on the importance of libraries and of valuing the creative industries, but to be fair to Graham Stuart he seemed happy to stay and talk on the various issues.
And he left with a copy of The Jawbone Gang which I feel showed perfect judgement in respect of birthday present selection. Although honesty compels me to note that from one or two things he let slip, I suspect our local MP’s friend would have chosen a book more directly concerned with the finer technical aspects of the internal combustion engine. Let’s hope they both become converts to local crime.
L-R: Liz Smith and Yvonne Needham, senior academics from Hull University; Stuart Aken, Penny Grubb, Linda Acaster, Madeleine Macdonald. Photo: Valerie Allison