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June 2016.  My book, The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle has won second prize in the 'Words for the Wounded Independant Book Award'.  See below for a review of the book by one of the organisers of the prize, author, Margaret Graham...

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.

alisonclink

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.

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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 my 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.’

www.alisonclink.co.uk

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The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle is one of 20 September 2015 Books of the month on the Lovereading website.

Lovereading view...

September 2015 Book of the Month.

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

A message from the Author...

I am a writer, so after family and friends, writing is the most important thing in my life. In the summer of 2007 I realised I was in an extraordinary place in my life when my brother rang to tell me he’d been diagnosed with cancer. I decided to document what was happening to me – and to him – and began writing a diary when I was on the train coming back from London to the West Country after first visiting him in St.Georges Hospital in Tooting. My son had given me a leather bound notebook for my birthday and I happened to have it in my handbag. So I just started writing down what I’d done that day and my thoughts surrounding the events connected to my brother’s illness.

Adrian was dying and I was his next of kin. As the weeks passed, I did everything I could to help him. He was an inspiring person and I loved him. But his life had gone downhill and he needed me. Despite the differences in our lifestyles – me a country wife with four children and a pet dog, - Adrian a confirmed bachelor and city dweller with no dependants – we came together for the last weeks of his life. I didn’t always make good decisions when trying to help him, but I did my best. At times he wasn’t the easiest person to deal with but I could understand why.

Writing about something traumatic in one’s life is a good way to deal with what’s going on. Not only did I write my way through those sometimes dark and difficult days but I also managed to make sense of what had happened when I looked back on my journals in the years that followed. They say writing is cathartic, which is a cliché but true, but what I did also gave me a sense of detail that I’d never have retained had I not kept my notebook – which actually turned into five notebooks as I scribbled my way through that strange summer of 2007.

Later I added sections about our early lives together as children. I enjoyed revisiting memories of growing up together in south London in the fifties and sixties and lots of those memories defined the relationship Adrian and I as siblings had always enjoyed.

~ Alison Click



My fifteen minute play - Ackroyd's Christmas Stocking is now published by Lazy Bee Scripts.  www.lazybeescripts.co.uk
The play has four characters, 2 male, 2 female.  It is a Christmas comedy - 'contains some strong language and sprouts'
Synopsis
  -  Helen and Chris are rather dubious about daughter Charlotte's new boyfriend, shaven-headed Ackroyd, currently on police bail. Helen does her best to include him in the family's Christmas celebrations with surprising consequences for them all.
   
                                             You can read this play on line - and buy it for performance.


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  My next new short story,  'Worry Guts', will be published soon by Woman's Weekly.  Date to follow.


         ...     and my memoir, The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle, is available from Troubador publishers.

                                             Please contact them direct to buy a copy of this book.
                                                                   It is also for sale from this website.
 

                                   The ebook version of my memoir is reviewed in the Bookseller! (26th June edition).  

                                                 Reviews in Nursing Standard magazine and Lovereading website.

Below are some endorsements written by fellow authors.
beautifully written and heartbreakingly moving.Katie Fforde

“A poignant, moving and ultimately life-affirming exploration of love and loss, this is a fitting tribute to a much-loved brother by a talented writer". Steve Voake.

‘Without ever descending into sentiment or self-pity, Alison Clink shares her experience of the last weeks of her brother’s life. Beautifully observed and profoundly moving.’ Peter Lovesey

‘A moving and brutally frank memoir about caring for someone who is facing death. Along with the practical difficulties – sorting out money, finding one’s way through labyrinthine state support, dealing with humiliating physical side-effects and juggling the needs of family and work, Alison gives a clear and heart-breaking account of helping her brother through his final days. Essential reading for anyone supporting a loved one through terminal illness.’ Debby Holt

Deeply moving, unflinchingly honest and leavened with wry humour, Clink’s memoir celebrates our ability to go loving against the odds.
Maria McCann

A moving, thoughtful, evocative exploration of love between siblings, and what happens when it’s tested by illness and grief.” Emma Darwin

Alison Clink has written a haunting, beautiful memoir. At its core is the death of her brother from lung cancer seven years ago. She palpably evokes the milieu of their London childhood and takes us through all the twists and turns of a sibling relationship as the years pass. "The Man Who Didn’t Go to Newcastle" documents a terminal illness but it restores a life. Elegantly written with great tact and without shying away from hard truths, it is not so much memoir of mourning as a love poem. Jonathan Wilson

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My other short story due for publication is Egg On My Face, which will be in the Sunday Express - S Magazine.  Date to follow...


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