Ian Shadwell, ‘Slush-Pile’ in Bookseller and Publisher magazine

Paula Grunseit reviews 'Slush-Pile' in Bookseller and Publisher magazine

Michael Ardenne is a desperate man. A former Booker Prize-winner, he took the literary world by storm with his debut novel Ephesus, which in his words was ‘a deeply moving meditation on the power of love, the fragility of the soul and the nature of fate’. But for the past 14 years he hasn’t written a thing worth publishing.

His life is a series of unfinished projects, he is in terrible debt, he drinks too much and has developed a Lolita-like obsession with his neighbour’s teenage daughter. Michael is being supported by his wife Tanya, who is threatening to divorce him unless he gets a job and starts behaving ‘like a normal person’. ‘I am not a normal person. I’m a writer,’ he responds.

Paid to read through his publisher’s slush pile, Michael discovers a brilliant thriller—a fictionalised diary of a serial killer—which he decides to plagiarise. Blood Moon becomes a bestseller and that’s when things really start to unravel. I loved this hilarious take on the publishing industry, the dilemmas of the writer’s life, and the little digs at everything from the perils and distractions of the internet; writers’ festivals; PR and advertising; and the genre versus literary fiction debate.

This is the first novel from writer, musician and painter Ian Shadwell. It will appeal to writers, aspiring writers, publishing insiders and readers who enjoy satire.

Paula Grunseit

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