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Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley

Talk of the Town

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Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2010.

The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott. Click here to find out more.

A coming of age novel where a young boy is searching for his friend who has gone missing. The story is written in a Cumbrian dialect which once mastered adds great atmosphere to a wonderful novel.


Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley

1986, the last day of the summer holidays, and Christopher Hearsey is wondering why his best mate Arthur has suddenly disappeared, and whether lippy Gill Ross a few doors down might know anything about it. The border city of Carlisle is buzzing with rumors following an act of terrible violence, and in order to begin his search Chris must face down his own dread, not only of the consequences of his own actions, but of local big man Booby Grove, and his psychotic sidekick Carl 'the black' Hole. Populated by a menacing and hilarious cast of characters, and moving from the dark aggrieved streets of the city to the agricultural hinterland of the Solway Firth, this is the story of a boy desperate to get out of town, out of a bad situation, even out of his own skin. 'A fierce cry of talent, raw as a confession and tender as a poem. Polley's language is mercurial, his humor quick and surprising' - Chris Cleave. 'A perfectly pitched quest for lost innocence' - John Burnside, Guardian . 'This is a disconcerting debut novel about how meaning is constructed from murmur, gossip and half-truth...Capturing the chaotic rhythms of these young lives in vivid yet unsentimental prose, Polley hits the perfect pitch' - Anita Sethi, Independent .

About the Author

Jacob Polley

Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle in 1975. In 2002 he won the Arts Council of England/BBC Radio 4 'First Verse' Award, and an Eric Gregory Award. His first collection, The Brink, was shortlisted for the 2004 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th May 2010


Jacob Polley

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Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan


272 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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