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Andrew Cowan
Andrew Cowan
Fellow at University of East Anglia, 2002-04

Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at Beanfield Comprehensive and the University of East Anglia. He lives in Norwich with the writer Lynne Bryan and their daughter Rose. Before his first novel Pig was published in 1994 he worked as a postman, oral historian, offset litho printer, cleaner in a cake factory and school librarian.

Pig won a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for five other literary prizes. It was recently reissued in Sceptre paperback.

His second novel Common Ground received a Scottish Arts Council Bursary and was published by Michael Joseph/Penguin in 1996.

Crustaceans (2000) received an Eastern Arts Board Bursary and is available in Sceptre paperback.

Between 2002 and 2004, Andrew was an RLF Fellow at UEA, during which time he wrote his fourth novel What I Know which was a recent recipient of an Arts Council Writers' Award and is published by Sceptre. He is currently employed as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at UEA.

'This is a wholly satisfying book, quietly beautiful and inescapably ominous' - David Buckley, Observer

'The detail is immaculately recorded; the effect is heartbreaking' - Louisa Young, Sunday Times

'It has all the elements we look for in a good story: a heart-wrenching understanding of little tragedies and a nose for the least expected hiding places of love' - Maureen Freely, Options

'. . . a coming-of-age story as strange and surprising, in its way, as The Catcher in the Rye' - James Saynor, New York Times Book Review

'In sentence upon sentence of finely honed prose... Cowan meticulously creates a richly texured, thickly detailed portrait of a sensitive young man trying to salvage something of value from the fragments of a shattered world . . . a sterling example of novelistic realism' - Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times

Common Ground
‘Cowan has the rare ability to write an ambitious novel in a tone which is both intimate and engaging . . . He creates a fictional world at once bleak and tender, a beautifully exact portrait of a 1990s inner city’ - Helen Dunmore, Times

‘The book is at once grim and optimistic, with a curious sweetness of tone that suggests a writer who actually likes the human race’ - Christopher Hart, Daily Telegraph

‘Cowan’s gifts of humane shrewdness and downbeat wit are often tellingly on display in Common Ground. Its dialogue leaps into the ear with authenticity’ - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

‘... the humour is black, well-timed and thoroughly engaging’ - AL Kennedy, Scotsman

‘A fine and acutely perceived novel’ - Susie Boyt, Independent

‘This spare yet beautiful novel is an intense meditation on isolation and the fragility of love . . . The emotional fluency of Cowan’s writing is compelling’ - Jeremy Worman, Observer

‘a haunting and heartbreaking meditation on the permeating power and permanence of loss’ - Trevor Lewis, Sunday Times

‘As powerful as it is understated . . . [Cowan] is clearly a skilled and serious writer, and Crustaceans is an impressive demonstration of his understated mastery of the craft’ - Christopher Tayler, Sunday Telegraph

‘Subtly written and superbly crafted . . . Cowan has excelled himself with this brilliant and poignant book’ - Lucy McDonald, Sunday Express

‘Crustaceans is a bleakly beautiful novel . . . riveting . . . Cowan conveys the experience of loss with an extraordinary, aching precision’ - Alan Mahar, Literary Review