John Murray

John Murray

‘one of my favourite writers’

DJ Taylor, The Guardian

‘one of the best comic writers that we’ve got, the only natural heir to Flann O’Brien’

Jonathan Coe, The Observer

‘John Murray has a mind like a laser beam and is able to focus on dross and on cutting it out’

Tony Walker, Fiction Surgery Student

About me, John Murray

I’ve published eight novels and a book of stories over an approximately 25 year period. My first novel Samarkand came out with Aidan Ellis in 1985, and my most recent one was The Legend of Liz and Joe (Flambard 2009). Radio Activity came out with Sunk Island in 1993 and was reissued as a Flambard Classic in 2004. It was a Book of the Year in the Independent and Spectator, and was hailed as a neglected classic on Radio 4’s Saturday Review in November 2007. Jazz Etc was longlisted for the Booker in 2003. I won the Dylan Thomas Award for short stories in 1988 (a previous winner was Rose Tremain).

I’ve been teaching Fiction for 25 years. I taught at Madingley Hall, Cambridge University from 1995 to 2007 and for the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Barton and Lumb Bank from 1989 to 2007. The point here is they kept asking me back year after year to devise and lead courses, which is I suppose a testimonial to something. I was also a lecturer in Creative Writing at the Carlisle College of Art and Design, now the University of Cumbria, from 1994 to 1997. I devised the Cumbrian Fiction Surgery scheme which took place in 2002 and 2005, and selected and mentored Penrith writer Clare Sambrook whose first book Hide & Seek was Canongate’s lead title in 2005, and sold in 12 languages before publication. I also worked with Coniston writer Gareth Thompson whose children’s books came out with Random House. I was founder-editor of Panurge fiction magazine and edited it with David Almond from 1984 to 1996. We specialised in promoting unknown or barely known talent, including early stories by Patrick McCabe, Richard Zimler and the late, great Julia Darling. Finally I was inaugural Royal Literary Fellow at Lancaster University 2007-2010.