Cathi Unsworth is a novelist, writer and editor who lives and works in London. She began her career on the legendary music weekly Sounds at the age of 19 and has worked as a writer and editor for many other music, film and arts magazines since, including Bizarre, Melody Maker, Mojo, Uncut, Volume and Deadline.
Her first novel THE NOT KNOWING was published in 2005, followed the next year with the award-winning short story compendium LONDON NOIR, which she edited, and in 2007 with the punk noir novel THE SINGER. Her third novel, BAD PENNY BLUES, inspired by the unsolved 'Jack the Stripper' murders of 1959-65 was published in 2010 to great critical acclaim. Her 2012 book WEIRDO, a tale of teenage trauma and female transgression set on the Norfolk coast was shortlisted in many 'best of the year' lists including the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and named Book of the Year 2012 by Loud and Quiet Magazine and crimesquad.com
Her latest work Without The Moon set in London during the long, dark days of the Blitz while out on the streets, something nasty is stirring may well be her best yet.
As well as working on her books Cathi has appeared on TV and radio including reviewing for BBC2's The Culture Show. She regularly takes part in live events, has given screen talks at The Barbican in London and performed spoken word gigs organised by Tight Lip and The Sohemian Society.
All of Cathi's books are published by and available from Serpent's Tail.
Photo: Julian Ibbitson - wwwibitsonphotography.co8
New Book! - Without The Moon
In the music halls, pubs and cafes, soldiers mix with petty crooks, stage magicians with lonely widows, scandal-hungry reporters with good-time girls – and DCI Edward Greenaway keeps a careful eye on everyone.
Out on the streets, something nasty is stirring. Women are being murdered, their bodies left mutilated to taunt the police. And in the shadows, Greenaway’s old adversaries in organised crime are active again, lured by rich pickings on the black market. As he follows a bloody trail through backstreets and boudoirs, Greenaway must use all his skill – and everything he knows about the city’s underworld – to stop the slaughter.
WITHOUT THE MOON IS PUBLISHED ON 9 JULY 2015 BY SERPENT’S TAIL
IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY by Arthur La Bern
Born into the Islington streets run by Darby Sabini and his gang, Arthur was a Fleet Street crime reporter and war correspondent who flew with the Fleet Air Arm in the Pacific during WWII. Many of his novels were adapted for the screen, including GOODBYE PICCADILLY, FAREWELL LEICESTER SQUARE, which became Alfred Hitchcock's equally notorious FRENZY – which Arthur hated. He lived high on the hog and then fell from that distance, sleeping rough on Brighton beach towards the end of his days. Every experience filtered through to his hauntingly evocative descriptions of wide boys, working girls, hardbitten hacks and the coppers that chase them down, capturing vistas of a lost London and bringing them vividly back to life.
IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY will be published on May 25. It is currently exclusively available from the LONDON BOOKS website, price £11.99. You can order a copy and to find out more about other LONDON BOOKS titles, please HERE
LONDON BOOKS NIGHT @ THE SOHEMIAN SOCIETY, WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2015
7.30pm £4 on the door
LONDON BOOKS: IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY AND MAY DAY
Introduced by Cathi Unsworth and Brian Denny
Both books have been recently republished by the excellent London Books, a publishing house dedicated to making available once again classic works about the Capital by great writers.
It Always Rains On Sunday by Arthur La Bern
Set over a single day in 1939, It Always Rains On Sunday captures the East End of London shortly before the start of the Second World War. The book is centred around the residents of Coronet Grove, its focus the Sandigate family. People go about their lives, heading to the local church and pub, while those looking for excitement are drawn to the bright lights of Whitechapel. Rose – a former barmaid in The Two Compasses – is married to George Sandigate, twenty years her senior, the thrill of her time with villain Tommy Swann firmly in the past. Church bells ring as small-time crooks plot in the pub, a newspaper headline telling Rose that Swann has escaped from Dartmoor.
It Always Rains On Sunday is the atmospheric debut novel of Arthur La Bern and features a large, colourful cast of characters. Dreams and reality clash as arguments rage, gangsters lurk, madness simmers, violence is threatened. Sex and death hang heavy in the air. Described as a predecessor to Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, the film adaptation was a great success and It Always Rains On Sunday remains a classic of British cinema. The book and its author were likewise lauded, and La Bern would go on to write a series of largely London-based, working-class gems.
May Day by John Sommerfield
The country is in turmoil – the people are angry at the excesses and corruption of the ruling class; workers are told to increase production for less pay; bosses meet to discuss ways of increasing their profit margins; unions mobilise the masses; a march takes place; police clash with demonstrators and a man is killed on the streets of London. This could well be a snapshot of Britain in the 21st Century, but it is also an outline of some of the events driving May Day, a novel first published in 1936.
Taking place over a three-day period leading up to and including the worker’s holiday of May 1st, sometime during the 1930s, on one levelMay Day is a political novel, but more than that it is a book about people. The political is made very personal as an unusually large number of characters fill the pages, some returning again and again, others glimpsed only once, but each appearance moves the book forward as individual stories link and build layers, ultimately creating a unique sort of narrative. There is no main character in May Day, no single voice dominating the book, and this unusual and highly-experimental approach could easily have failed, yet author John Sommerfield pulls it off. May Day is a fluent and exciting read.
WEIRDO MAKES THOMAS COOK'S
TOP 20 BRILLIANT HOLIDAY READS
You can find out Cathi's scariest holiday and check all the top reads HERE
ZARBI, WEIRDO'S FRENCH SISTER
UNLEASHED AT PARIS POLAR,
22 NOVEMBER 2014
To order a copy of ZARBI or find out more in French, please go HERE
Cathi in London Fictions on
Lynne Reid Banks' The L-Shaped Room
18 April 2013.
Cathi chose The L-Shaped Room, discovered while researching her 2010 novel Bad Penny Blues. The book, and Bryan Forbes subsequent movie adaptation, vividly evoke the lost bedsitter land of West London in post-War, pre-swinging London.
From Child of the Jago to Brick Lane, London has always inspired novelists, seeking to present a sense of the city, whether real or imagined. Here, writers and historians take you through some of the captivating novels, past and present which depict London from East End boys to West End girls, bed-sit land to docklands, immigrants to emigrants, encompassing all of the diversity of human life.
The full list of contributors are:
Andrew Whitehead on George Gissing's The Nether World
Andrew Lane on Athur Conan Doyle's The Sign of FourNadia Valman on Israel Zangwill's Children of the Ghetto
Angela V. John on Henry W. Nevinson's Neighbours of Ours
Sarah Wise on Arthur Morrison's A Child of the Jago
Anne Witchard on Thomas Burke's Limehouse Nights
Heather Reyes on Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway
Zoë Fairbairns on Pamela Hansford Johnson's This Bed Thy Centre
Rachel Lichtenstein on Simon Blumenfeld's Jew Boy
John King on John Sommerfield's May Day
John Lucas on Patrick Hamilston's Hangover Square
Susan Alice Fischer on Betty Miller's Farewell Leicester Square
Jane Miller on Elizabeth Bowen's The Heat of the Day
Andy Croft on Jack Lindsay's Rising Tide
Bill Schwarz on Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners
Jerry White on Colin MacInnes's Absolute Beginners
Cathi Unsworth on Lynne Reid Banks's The L-Shaped Room
Ken Worpole on Alexander Baron's The Lowlife
Susie Thomas on Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia
Gregory Woods on Neil Bartlett's Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall
Lisa Gee on Zadie Smith's White Teeth
Valentine Cunningham on Chris Petit's The Hard Shoulder
Courttia Newland on Iain Banks's Dead Air
Sanchita Islam on Monica Ali's Brick Lane
Jon Day on John Lanchester's Capital
Philippa Thomas on Zadie Smith's NW
For more information, please go HERE
To order from Amazon, please go HERE
Fiction Uncovered FM podcast now available
Tapeworm release: Cathi & Pete Woodhead present Johnny Remember Me
The story spun out of research for Bad Penny Blues, in particular the life and times of Joe Meek and the Number One hit single Johnny Remember Me that he created for television star John Leyton. A song that is so evocative of ghosts and curses that it lent itself perfectly to the creation of a little urban myth.
With fabulosa original sleeve art by the legendary Sav X, Johnny Remember Me is a limited edition release of 250, priced at £3.50 plus £2 P&P. Full details from the Tapeworm website, linked below.
For more information on the story, please go HERE
To buy the cassette, please go HERE
Cathi Unsworth Reading - 2009 (Photo: Nick Tucker)