I have two passions: reading and music. I’ve spent as much time browsing book shops as I have record stores and more time in libraries than I have going to gigs (something I do a lot). I grew up in a house without a great many books. Visits to libraries were my lifeblood. The ones that meant the most to me were, in order: West Kirby Library, Colne Library, Burnley Library, Radford and Lenton Library, Nottingham City Library, Sherwood Library and Bromley House Library, which I’ve belonged to for 25 years. Oh, and a special mention to West Bridgford Library, where I had my first book launch, for The Foggiest, in 1990, a great space that has the best collection of graphic novels in the county. This passion for libraries is not unusual amongst creative writers, just take a read through the blogs we commissioned to investigate the best way to build our new central library.
One Nottingham library that I hadn’t visited until recently is Basford Library, even though, with Sherwood and the City libraries closed awaiting redevelopment, it’s my nearest one. Basford’s a gem: a beautiful Carnegie library on the edge of a lovely small park. The library backs onto a big duck pond with walkways which attracts swans and other aquatic birds. When I went for a meeting there on the day I’m writing this, the entrance to the park was awash with crocuses, with the library as their backdrop.
The current library consultation with Basford earmarked for closure, sent me there one Saturday lunchtime and I keep going back. I’ve filled in the consultation document urging them to keep Basford, at least, open, and signed up with the Save our Libraries campaign. I’ve also registered for the two public consultation events – there’s one online on March 1st, the other at the council house on March 29th.
I have a new novel coming out from Shoestring Press. For various reasons, it’s my first in more than six years. It’s great to be back with a story I’m very proud of, featuring characters who I know many readers have missed. As soon as I walked into Basford Library, I knew I wanted to launch Death in the Family there, in the lovely open space of the children’s area. This is emphatically not a children’s story, but a mystery dealing with race, politics and long-buried secrets, some of the scenes taking place in Basford and nearby. A standalone novel, it’s also part of my Bone and Cane sequence about a Nottingham Labour MP (though she may be about to lose her seat in the 2001 General Election) and her erstwhile boyfriend, a reformed drug dealer called Nick Cane, who’s suspected of murder. An Investigative journalist tries to get to the bottom of the connection between the two. I’m delighted that, when I suggested it, Nottingham City Libraries – who are preparing to relaunch in person events this spring – jumped into action and quickly agreed the date: Saturday, April 2nd at 2-3pm (doors and light refreshments at 1.45). My friend Graham Caveney (whose new On Agoraphobia is published later that month) will be doing a short interview. There’ll also be a reading and an audience Q and A. And it’s free. Please come.
There is plenty of parking near Basford Library, a beautiful Carnegie building a short journey from the city centre with excellent public transport links. 68 and 69 buses from the Victoria Centre stop right outside. Trams go every seven minutes to and from David Lane (a two minute walk) or Basford (four minute walk).
No booking is necessary for this even