Alan Beard's site: Stories & Information
NEWS: My first collection 'Taking Doreen out of the Sky' now available on Kindle
What some have said about it:
Short cuts full of heart and beauty The Independent
Mimetic prose, heartfelt compassion, razor-sharp observation. A conduit through which the real world passes on its way to the page, Alan Beard is a superb short story writer and here he is at the top of his game Nicholas Royle
Alan Beard is the real thing - a writer with true talent and staying power and a dedication to the short story form. This marvellous new collection deserves a wide audience. David Almond
...incisive, haunting stories ...a writer who does amazing things with the fewest possible words. The Times
...incisive, haunting stories ...a writer who does amazing things with the fewest possible words.
It's rare to find characters like these realistically portrayed in a humane and intelligent way, and it's not easy giving a voice to the inarticulate. Alan Beard succeeds. The Independent
Beard is a true master of the form. He is a brilliant story teller, capable of wrenching beauty from the unlikeliest of circumstances... This is an excellent collection; an observational masterpiece. The Short Review
Beard is able to change direction in a single sentence, leading the reader towards the unexpected...a great read that explores all the easily miss-able details of being human. Beyond Magazine
Beard is able to change direction in a single sentence, leading the reader towards the unexpected...a great read that explores all the easily miss-able details of being human.
There are gems here... whole worlds change while outside someone is simply having a chat or lighting a fag. The Guardian
I had a previous collection published by Picador in 1999 called 'Taking Doreen out of the Sky'. Picador pulped it (without telling me!) but you can still get second hand copies from amazon. 2013 update: it is now also available on kindle. You're probably thinking that if it was pulped it must be crap and it's true not many were sold, but as well as good reviews, the title story won the Tom-Gallon award for best short story and all but two were published in well known literary magazines, anthologies and/or broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
The Times Literary Supplement said of this collection:
'Beard's stories avoid cartoon terrors and verbal trickery, and instead rely for their effects on honest observation and sharp declarative sentences.. he achieves a startling poignancy'.
The Times said: 'Rich in detail and implication.. this is a truly fine collection.'
Time Out called it 'Superb..as absorbing and insightful as Sillitoe and Barstow.. wonderfully authentic.'
The Sunday Times said it was 'Luminous and [has] a terse immediacy.'
I am a member of Tindal Street Fiction Group (TSFG) in Birmingham (UK), and I'm grateful for its existence as I have met many fine writers and friends through the group. Indeed TSFG were the initial publishers of my first collection, and its (critical) success was instrumental in setting up the Tindal Street Press , a separate organisation that has published many wonderful novels and collections of stories including three that made the Booker longlist (in 2008 fellow TSFG member Gaynor Arnold did so), also Orange listed, Costa and Betty Trask prizewinners etc. In 2003 TSFG celebrated 20 years of existence and I was privileged to edit a collection of stories to mark this occasion. Called 'Going the Distance' it is, of course, available from amazon.
I am 57, work as a librarian at Birmingham City University (UK) and am married with two beautiful and smart teenage daughters (update - they're now 20 and 22!)- just to give you a slightly fuller picture of me. Left is an actual picture of me (Sept 2010).
When I first started writing seriously (although I've had the bug since I was 9) I looked like this. See below (in 1973).
That's what a life trying to write does to you. It took me another twelve years to get my first story published in a national magazine (great day that in May 1985 when I got an acceptance from Alan Ross at London Magazine). It took another twelve years (1997) to get out my first collection The second one, 'You Don't Have to Say' - see above - came out in 2010.
There have been some reviews. More (reviews) to come I hope..
I'm hoping the third collection will be quicker, but I am a very slow writer. I have had a number of 'flash' fictions published (under 1000 words) which I may try and bring together in a collection (if anyone will publish them!), but I still need to add to those.