Sunday, 20 January 2013

Annette Keen (author)

Eastbourne author Annette Keen is a familiar face to me as she runs the jazz nights at the Underground Theatre. There's always a high standard of music and I'm particularly looking forward to the February evening, Buster Plays Buster, a live jazz performance accompanying short silent movies.

I didn't know about Annette's writing until recently when I spotted a book signing to celebrate the publication of her first novel. Apparently she began self-publishing stories aged only eight but was discouraged by the labour-intensive process of writing out pages by hand and stapling them together! Some years later, with the acquisition of a word processor, her talent came to the fore again. Annette successfully experimented with the craft of short-story writing and around fifteen of her works have been published. She has also adapted more than a dozen novels for the Penguin English reading scheme, one of which was a finalist in the Language Learners Literature Award. More recently, her song lyrics have been set to music by jazz singer Sue Richardson. Three on the songs on Sue's album Fanfare were penned by Annette.

However, her greatest pride must be for her debut novel, The Generation Club, which was published in October 2012 by Sunbird Publishing. Annette describes its genre as 'Gran-lit' but I think this does the book a disservice as I am sure it has much wider appeal! Winner of the 2008 Yeovil Literary Prize, the novel is a well-observed look at the lives of six people, all of whom are first-call carers for elderly relations. From the cover art, I was expecting a 'fluffier' read, but The Generation Club does go to dark places. It is a real page-turner that left me quite irritable when I needed to put it down to do other things. I felt included in the lives of the 'the girls' and, although I hope not to end up in the same situation, I enjoyed seeing into their world and have missed them in the few days since I finished reading. I have no hesitation in recommending The Generation Club as a good cosy read for these cold winter evenings!

The Generation Club is available in paperback (£7.99), as an eBook and as a Kindle edition (£3.49 - click cover below to purchase).

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Annette Keen / Women's fiction / Books from England

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