‘Charlie Hill is a real writer.’ Jim Crace.
Charlie Hill is a critically acclaimed writer of novels, short stories and essays. His first published writing a piece attacking the critical thinking of civil servants appeared in the Observer while he was working as a civil servant. He went on to review books for the Times Literary Supplement, the Independent on Sunday and the New Statesman amongst others, but found this work unsatisfying. His first novel The Space Between Things, a love story set against the backdrop of the 1990s road protest movement and the wars in the Balkans was a subversion of the traditional bildungsroman. His second, Books, was a plot-driven and unashamedly commercial farce that questioned the value of such writing.
These two novels attracted glowing praise from The Observer, The Times, The Financial Times and the Morning Star and were covered sympathetically by the London Review of Books and the Guardian.
An essentially plotless novella, Stuff, was released in 2016; Walking Backwards, a pamphlet of formally inventive stories came out in 2017.
Stuff was described by Nicholas Royle, in his introduction to Best British Short Stories 2017, as: ‘an engrossing piece that…were the author French and his readers all French, might well have been regarded as a worthy late edition to the school of existentialist literature.’
Charlie’s short stories have otherwise appeared in a number of magazines and journals in print and online including: Ambit, Stand, Litro, The Lonely Crowd, Riptide, Confingo, The View From Here, Spelk, Neon, Storgy, Streetcake and East of the Web. Some are traditional narratives, others more playful. His published short fiction includes two one word short stories, one of which can be read here. It has also featured in a number of anthologies. In 2015, the Ikon Gallery republished one of his pieces as part of its Summer exhibition.
In 2011 Charlie set up the PowWow Festival of Writing with fellow novelist Andy Killeen. The festival brought guests such as Kit de Waal, Alison Moore, Alex Wheatle and the screenwriter Andrew Davies to the back garden of a pub in South Birmingham. It ran for six years. In keeping with Charlie’s idiosyncratic approach to the craft of writing, the last event included appearances by both the bestselling Joanne Harris and the provocative avant-gardist Stewart Home.
Charlie also writes the odd poem. His poetry has appeared in the print publications Prole and Under the Radar and the webzines Ink, Sweat and Tears, Empty State and I Am Not a Silent Poet.
It would be a stretch to say that Charlie is in demand as a speaker, but he does get about the place. In 2016 he read at LiteraTurm in Frankfurt and the Birmingham Literary Festival; he has previously performed in Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford and Stratford-on-Avon and at both the London Short Story Festival and In Yer Ear. Charlie talks about his writing here, here and here. He has also been interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book.
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