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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Ex-Evening Mail man’s novel set on island based on Walney up for awards

A CHARACTER who claims to be a god after washing up on the shores of an island based on Walney is the focus of a new novel.

Former Evening Mail journalist Chris Hill has had his first novel, Song of the Sea God, published.

Mr Hill, who was born on Walney and attended Barrow Grammar School, is looking forward to the publication of the book, a literary novel set on a small island off the coast of England, based on Walney, where a strange figure washes up on the tide and tries to convince the local people he is a god.

Mr Hill told the Evening Mail that he picked the island for his setting because of his knowledge of the area.

He said: “In terms of Walney, I wanted somewhere fixed in my mind to set the story. I grew up there, I know it geographically and I know where everything is.”

Song of the Sea God is not the first time Walney has influenced the work of an author, with Thomas the Tank Engine writer the Reverend Wilbert Awdry using the island as an inspiration for the book’s Isle of Sodor. And although the setting is a key part of his book, Mr Hill was quick to stress his novel is a work of fiction and characters are not based on real Walneyites.

He said: “The island is not called Walney in the book. And it is important that people do not think I am writing about the people of Walney.

“It is not supposed to be some sort of criticism of Walney or Barrow. The story is a story and the characters in the book service that story.”

Mr Hill has previously had some success as a short story writer, including winning one of Britain’s biggest story awards, The Bridport Prize. His novel has already been shortlisted for two national awards including the Daily Telegraph Novel of the Year prize.

The book took two years for Mr Hill to complete. He said work has already started on his next piece and he did not rule out using further parts of Furness in his future work.

He said: “I have written another one since this. It is a much lighter, family story. As a writer, you want to try different things.”

LINDAL author, artist and historian Sarah Holmes, launches her new book chronicling the fascinating history of Conishead Priory, tomorrow.

The Paradise of Furness, The Story of Conishead Priory and its People, is the first detailed account of the Priory, founded as a hospital more than 800 years ago.

The author will be signing books at the launch in St Mary's Church, Ulverston, at 7.30pm tomorrow. All are welcome.

Have your say

This book, The Song of the Sea God sounds an interesting read. But it must be said it bears similarities to a book I myself wrote, some years ago. At the time I was using the pen-name Ivor Moore, and the book was called A Dawn of the Moomins. This was set in the Barrow Docks.

Posted by John Wyndham on 25 October 2012 at 21:13

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