Words for the Wounded: Review of 2nd Place Winner

by Margaret Graham

Words for the Wounded Independent Author Book Award 2016

Words for the Wounded: review of 2nd Place winner.


The Man Who Didn’t Go To Newcastle by Alison Clink

(published by Matador)

‘Lovely pace and voice… It’s a really moving exploration of siblings across their lives and most importantly, mortality.’

Felicity Trew (Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency)

‘In June 2007 whilst out walking my dog, I opened a text from my brother saying: Am in St Georges – Rodney Smith Ward. Ring me. A.’ Alison’s brother Adrian had been admitted to St. George’s Hospital in Tooting with a cut hand and low blood pressure. Tests had led to more serious concerns and he was calling on Alison to be with him when the consultant brought results of a biopsy on his lung. Alison heeded his call and took the train up to London the next day, only to find that the results weren’t available. She then went back to Somerset, with no idea of what the next few months would hold for them both. Whilst juggling her home life – at a time when her four children still lived at home – with long-distance hospital visiting, Alison tried her best to cope and make plans when Adrian eventually told her that, following the results, he’d been given a year to live. She had no idea then that he wasn’t being entirely truthful…

Judge’s comments: In The Man Who Didn’t go to Newcastle Alison Clink charts her care of her terminally ill slightly older brother, Adrian, with a lovely pace and voice and creates a really moving exploration of siblings across their lives and most importantly, mortality. This is a situation which unearths not only memories of the past they have shared, but an awareness of their separate adult lives, especially as friends of his arrive to cheer him on. With each visitor it seems, another puzzle piece is put in place. Throughout this memoir Clink weaves the present and past together with a honesty which reveals the difficulties of caring for someone who is no more perfect than the rest of us. There is not only sadness but humour, and implicit tension but it was felt that the diary structure was a little constricting. A more complex play with point of view rather than the date and time of the diary might have made it stand-out more.

It is interesting to consider how Clink’s undoubted and empathetic writing skills would be translated into fiction. She already writes short stories so let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for an Alison Clink novel. Bravo. A worthy 2nd place.


About Alison Clink:

Alison Clink
is a writer and creative writing teacher living in Somerset.

Over fifty of her short stories have been published both in the UK and abroad. Several of her stories have been broadcast on Radio 4 and two short plays have been performed in Frome and Bristol.

Alison runs a drop-in creative writing group at Babington House near Mells, Somerset on Wednesday mornings 10am – 12. This is for members of Babington House, guests of the house and Alison's guests.

She also write critiques for aspiring writers, and gives talks to writing groups.

Her memoir, The Man Who Didn’t Go To Newcastle, is now published by Troubador and her first novel, Two Blackberry Lane is close to completion. You can find her on facebook and twitter.
Alison says:

‘I am delighted to be supporting the ‘words for the wounded’ charity.’


My memoir, The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle, is now available from Troubador Publishers.

You can buy this book online or order it from any bookshop.

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Price including postage is £12.99

To buy from the publisher's website please go to

Click here to listen to Clare Balding discussing The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle with the Rev Ruth Scott on her Radio 2 Sunday morning programme on 7th June.  The section about my book comes around 47 minutes into the programme.

Review from 'Lovereading', August 2015 :

A wonderfully eloquent, heartfelt and touching recollection of the author’s relationship with her brother, after he has been told he has inoperable cancer and a short time left to live. Alison Clink not only details the last months of her brother’s life, she also remembers their history together, it’s as though she has opened up a time capsule of memories to share and pay tribute to him. Thoughts and feelings are described so clearly, you feel you are witnessing them first hand; how the brain can exist in a foggy cloud of disbelief, fear and inadequacy at the onset of a terminal illness of a loved one. The honesty is striking, both in terms of emotions revealed and the empathy or lack of, from the people in the caring and medical profession. This book isn't just about heartache and suffering, it is very much a book about friendship and love and deserves to be highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson


The ebook version of my book is reviewed in the Bookseller (26th June 2015 edition)

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