Chris Paling is the author of nine novels, the most recent of which, “Nimrod’s Shadow”, was published by Portobello Books and featured in the first “Fiction Uncovered” promotion.
His first stage play, “The Final Test”, toured UK theatres in Summer 2015 and has now been published by Josef Weinberger.
He has written a number of short stories for magazines, newspapers and Radio 4 and was long-listed for the inaugural “Sunday Times” short story award.
He has contributed to most of the major national newspapers and is a longstanding radio producer, regularly making radio documentaries for Radio 4 through Pier Productions in Brighton where he is Development Editor.
His latest book, his first non-fiction publication, “Reading Allowed”, was published in February 2017 by Constable and Robinson.
READING ALLOWED – Buy it here
Chris works as a librarian in a small-town library in the south of England. This is the story of the library, its staff, and the fascinating group of people who use the library on a regular basis.
We’ll meet characters like the street-sleepers Brewer, Wolf and Spencer, who are always the first through the doors. The Mad Hatter, an elderly man who scurries around manically, searching for books. Sons of Anarchy Alan, a young Down’s Syndrome man addicted to the American TV drama series. Startled Stewart, a gay man with a spray-on tan who pops in most days for a nice chat, sharking for good-looking foreign language students. And Trish, who is relentlessly cheerful and always dressed in pink – she has never married, but the marital status of everybody she meets is of huge interest to her.
Some of the characters’ stories are tragic, some are amusing, some are genuinely surreal, but together they will paint a bigger picture of the world we live in today, and of a library’s hugely important place within it. Yes, of course, people come in to borrow books, but the library is also the equivalent of the village pump. It’s one of the few places left where anyone, regardless of age or income or background, can wander in and find somebody to listen to their concerns, to share the time of day.
Reading Allowed will provide us with a fascinating portrait of a place that we all value and cherish, but which few of us truly know very much about …
Publication date: 2 February 2017