On Saturday October 17th, the Yorkshire Post Magazine was devoted to celebrating contemporary fiction and the New Yorkshire novel. They published their list of the best Yorkshire novels written since the turn of the millennium. I was over-joyed to see To Catch a Rabbit in that list, among novels by stellar names such as Kate Atkinson, Caryl Phillips, Ross Raisin and the Booker-shortlisted Sunjeev Sahota. There were twelve books in total, including five by David Peace, (although the Red Riding Trilogy counted as one). One of the other chosen writers was my fellow crime novelist Alison Taft, and together with Kate Atkinson we were the only three women.
Yorkshire is more than one county, comprising North, South, West Yorkshire and the East Riding; it has cities and countryside, post-industrial towns and sweeping coastline. So what makes a Yorkshire novel? We might think of the bleak moors of Wuthering Heights or the edgelands of Ted Lewis’s Get Carter, a setting very close to Sean Denton’s stomping ground of Doncaster. Peace documents the industrial upheaval of the last part of the twentieth century in both the Red Riding Trilogy and his 1984, while Sunjeev Sahota writes about migrants in Sheffield in The Year of the Runaways. What is your Yorkshire like and where do you see it reflected in fiction? The Yorkshire Post is inviting readers to suggest their own contemporary Yorkshire favourites and you can find the email address, and read more about the New Yorkshire novels and their writers here.
Meanwhile Alison Taft and I are planning a typically Yorkshire celebration later this week, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. We’ve appeared on several panels together across the region, after meeting at a reading in a marquee at Temple Newsam, where the ambient ‘lighting’ forced us to perform by bicycle lamp. We are now firm friends after that bonding experience and it’s great to share this accolade with her .