‘One of the best comic writers we’ve got, the only natural heir to Flann O’Brien’ – Jonathan Coe, The Observer; ‘One of my favourite writers’ – D. J. Taylor, The Guardian. John has published seven novels and one story collection, and he won the Dylan Thomas Award for short stories in 1988. Since 1993, and with the appearance of Radio Activity: A Cumbrian Tale in Five Emissions, he has been writing comic extravaganzas. First published by Sunk Island, Radio Activity was a ‘book of the year’ in The Spectator and Independent, and was reissued as a Flambard Modern Classic in 2004. Flambard have also published John Dory (2001), Jazz Etc (2003), Murphy’s Favourite Channels (2004) and A Gentleman’s Relish (2006). Jazz Etc was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2003, and Murphy’s Favourite Channels was a ‘novel of the week’ in the Daily Telegraph.
In 1984, John founded the distinguished fiction magazine Panurge which he and David Almond edited until 1996. Panurge also published the late Julia Darling’s first collection of stories, Bloodlines (1995), which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. John regularly teaches fiction writing for the Arvon Foundation and at Madingley College, Cambridge. He lives in rural north Cumbria with his wife Annie and daughter Ione.