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Kelvin M. Knight

 

"Never, never, quit... success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

Winston Churchill

Reader, Author, Reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AtmuncasterWhy I Write Book Reviews

An editor once asked, “In no more than five hundred words, tell me about your relationship with books and reading and why you write reviews?”

This got the cogs turning. Here is what they churned out.

I have a love hate relationship with books: some make me frustrated and angry, others make me want to laugh and sing; sometimes I am even moved to tears.

In my childhood, I devoured Enid Blyton, then superhero comics ruled until my teenage years when a distraught English teacher finally got through to me. Mrs Jackson sent me on a mission to read John Wyndham, John Steinbeck and John Buchan balancing this with humorous offerings from Douglas Adams, James Herriot, and P. G. Wodehouse. In the summer before my ‘O’ levels, I found my true love and forget how many times I savoured Pride and Prejudice. Needless to say, Macbeth paled in comparison.

In the following years, I feasted on my elder brother’s science fiction books (the Lord Tedric trilogy by E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith is so vivid even now) then my younger brother’s fantasy collections, where the Landover series enthralled me. In 2007, I was fortunate to meet Terry Brooks and his wife, Judith. I could not wish to meet a nicer couple.

As a twenty-something, I escaped into many epics by Raymond E. Feist, Eric Van Lustbader and James Clavell and got hooked on karate. Soon after my immersion in these virtual Orients, I met my wife, an ex-International Judo athlete, who steered my literary tastes toward Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter and Ellis Peters. During the summer of 2008, I was introduced to Inspector Morse’s creator. What a grand gentleman he is. What a pleasure. What an honour.

In my thirties, straining to maintain the work-life-family balance, I entered a literary wilderness. Numerous books were started and never finished, except offerings by Garry Kilworth, or Robert Asprin writing with his wife Lynn Abbey. These I clung to as I braved my fear of heights and flew backwards and forwards to America on company business.

Nevertheless, I made sure I read to my boys. Something rankled about Harry Potter, so we choose C. S. Lewis before graduating to Ursula Le Guin and Tolkein, finishing with, arguably, the godfather of fantasy, George MacDonald. After my eldest accidentally sliced his forearm open sliding down a slate quarry, whilst he convalesced in hospital, we revisited At the Back of the North Wind. I still have the tingle down my spine.

Once my chaps became content to read by themselves and yearly promotions were no longer the be all, I strove to broaden my tastes by visiting book fairs and conventions, where I listened to authors talking about their work. I never cease to be amazed by the attention they lavish on their offspring.

With this in mind (and at the turn of the big four zero) I began writing book reviews for various magazines, giving preference to first time authors. Some of the promising first timers I have enjoyed include (in no particular order - other than female/male): Audrey Niffenegger, Adam Marek, Juliet E. McKenna, Simon R. Green, Alice Seebold, Neil Gaiman, Kit Whitfield, Jon Canter, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen May, Emma Darwin, Tim Stretton, Lucie Whitehouse, Lawrence Pearce, Judith Allnatt and Andrew Crumey.

To peruse my book reviews, please click here.

What's New?

On May 4th 2013, I attend the innaugural Newcastle Writing Conference in The Great Hall, Nothumbria University. Stephen May's not a keynote speech is inspriational: “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable... write because you HAVE to.” And this quote got a resounding YES from the agents, editors and publishers present: “There is a secret to getting an agent. Write a good book, send it, wait. There are no secret passwords.”

Short story "Luke's Sketches" published by Cinnamon Press in the anthology "The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems" edited by Rowan B. Fortune.

Review of short story anthology "The Little Book of Northern Women" given thumbs up by the author J. Y. Saville.

Haiku "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Cathy Galvin and Louise Doughty for the Word Factory TV.

Article "Bagpuss" published by The Fine Line in the anthology "The I Word" edited by Kate Gould.

Short story "Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in December for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Be Prepared" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in August for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Luke's Sketches" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in May for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in February for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Review of "Life! Death! Prizes!" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Fun and Games" shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.

Review of "Dreamer's Cat" given thumbs up by the author Stephen Leather.

Review of "TAG" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Shadow Pains" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Lessons in Love" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Saint Christopher" published by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Aim High, Reach Higher" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Paper Dinosaur" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Shepherd Thy Flock" won Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau spring competition.

Short story "Blackbeck" came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.