How to be a Public Author

The cover of 'How to be a Public Author' by Francis Plug.


In the most controversial year in the history of the Man Booker Prize comes a book certain to add fuel to the fire. How To Be A Public Author will take the debate to another level. It will get everyone talking – and laughing – even more about Britain’s biggest annual book bonanza.

Francis Plug is a troubled and often drunk misfit who causes chaos and confusion wherever he goes – and where he most likes to go is to real author events, collecting signatures from the likes of Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Eleanor Catton.

As he adds to this collection of signed Booker first editions, Francis – a wannabe author himself – is also helpfully writing a self-help manual. This is devised with the novice writer in mind, and full of sage wisdom and useful tidbits to help ease freshly published novelists into the demands and rigors of author events, readings, and general life in the public eye.

So, "If you're provided with a hands-free mic, clipped to your lapel, don't forget to turn it off when you visit the toilet, or if you need to vomit before your event." Likewise, it's always good to be wary of the germs of fans – and "considering the use of elbow-length dishwashing gloves at book signings, and a large, easy-wipe kitchen apron." And so too, cultivating a photographic 'look' for the many publicity shots you will be subjected to is also a good idea – Francis's personal choice being that of Macaulay McCulkin in Home Alone.

With advice like this, and Francis' warm and deranged personality, How to be a Public Author will prove ESSENTIAL reading for anyone with an interest in the literary world.

How to be a Public Author is a brilliant slapstick comedy, blurring fact and fantasy to astonishing effect, and it is also a surprising and touching meditation on loneliness and finding a place in the world. The Man Booker Prize becomes a springboard to explore what it means to be an author – and a human being – in the twenty-first century.

This novel is certain to be one of the main talking points when the Man Booker Prize is discussed this year, as well as one that will endure long after the controversies have died down. It is an exceptional piece of writing – a novel that readers will love and return to, time and time again.

Praise for Francis Plug

"One thinks of Goethe: one thinks of Shelley: one things 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 exactlw here he is. They say there are no statues to critics. But the fourth plinth awaits Francis. Perhaps he can be chained to it. (Hilary Mantel)
"Inspired. A brilliant, deranged new comic creation... The funniest book I've read in years." (The Sunday Times)
"Francis Plug rampages across the literary scene like an alcoholic Mr Pooter... it's one of the funniest books I've ever read." (The Times) 
"Priceless, exhilarating, this wonderful book... is surely a parable for our times." (The Guardian) 
"So funny you find yourself giggling long after you've passed the joke. ... Pure - and purely pleasurable - silliness." (The Times Literary Supplement) 
"It is becoming a cliche to say 'Paul Ewen is a comic genius and Francis Plug is one of the funniest books in years' - but it's no less true." (The New Statesman)
"A book of invigorating originality. ... Francis Plug himself is a creation of twisted genius." (The Sunday Express) 
"Paul Ewen brilliantly sends up the whole literary circus." (Open Book, BBC Radio 4)
"Wickedly comic... one of the funniest books of the year." (Front Row, BBC Radio 4) 
"I howled with laughter." (Town & Country) 
"Affable and acute... as sharp as a good gin and tonic." (The New Zealand Listener) 
"In his debut novel Paul Ewen has created... an alarmingly hilarious anti-hero, and one that has us hooting at his adventures from the start. ... Outrageously good." (The New Daily, Australia) 
"Fact and fiction combine in happy communion in these pages... and perhaps, as Francis believes, it's just a matter of time before there's an inflatable Salman Rushdie figure drawing in the crowds with its bellowing arms flapping in a come-hither way." (The Sydney Morning Herald) 

"Both a very funny novel and a brilliant work of conceptual art. ... Trust me on this: everyone is going to be talking about this book." (The Transmitter Magazine) 

I love it to distraction -- Dan Rhodes

It's very, very funny -- Simon Crump

This might just be a modern comic masterpiece -- Ben Myers

Funny, clever, and quite unlike any book I've read … Impressive. -- Steve Finbow

Totally deranged and very, very funny -- James Miller


*I'm afraid we can't extend the free P&P to addresses outside the UK. But don't let that stop you! Go ahead and buy it - and we'll drop you an email to arrange the extra postage cost. Or email us first. Up to you! 

September 2014