Paul Ewen, the author currently garlanded for his novel ‘Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author’, is joining the University of Greenwich as Writer in Residence.
Paul will be writing a new novel as part of his residency, which he says will be centred in Greenwich and the university itself. However, he won’t say at this point whether it will be narrated by his alter ego Francis Plug.
“The novel will be born on campus. It’s a very exciting prospect, and I’m really looking forward to cracking on with it. I’ve long had close links with Greenwich and am genuinely honoured to be offered the position.”
Paul is the university’s first Writer in Residence and students studying the BA in Creative Writing, or one of the Joint Honours options, will hope to join his seminars.
Dr Alex Pheby, novelist and Creative Writing programme leader in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities, says: “It’s going to be great having a ‘wild writer’ around: students will be able to see what a real writer does.
“Paul’s latest book is a comic novel that deals with the literary world, using his dysfunctional and fictional alter-ego Francis Plug to gently satirise Booker Prize-winning writers, writing and publishing. Perhaps he’ll end up doing a similar thing in Greenwich with academic creative writers and writing.”
Alex says he is not anxious about the possibility of being lampooned: “Francis Plug takes the brunt of the satire so hopefully it wouldn’t be too painful.”
Sam Jordison, Ewen’s publisher at Galley Beggar Press, thinks this is the perfect next step for Paul: “Francis Plug is being named one of 2014’s top reads. A campus should provide rich material for Paul’s comic take on the world.”
The Guardian, the New Statesman, the Irish Times, the Big Issue, the New Zealand Listener, and the New Daily in Australia have all named the Plug novel as one of their ‘best books of the year’. Booker Prize winners who featured in the book have also praised it, including Hilary Mantel, who wrote:
‘One thinks of Goethe: one thinks of Shelley: one thinks of Plug. He is a force of nature, he is sage, bard and prophet: he is in addition a random menace, and at all times you need to know exactly where he is. They say there are no statues to critics. But the fourth plinth awaits Francis. Perhaps he can be chained to it.’