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Andrew Hankinson: You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]

Winner of the 2016 Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

‘Both an experiment in empathy and a exploration of the limits of empathy – holding the reader hostage in the echo chamber of an angry and confused man’s head.’ Louis Theroux

Andrew Hankinson introduces You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]

Callous murderer, outlaw hero or victim of the system? The subject of this biography defies all such labels. 

Raoul Moat was the fugitive Geordie, a former doorman who became notorious one July week in 2010 when, after killing his ex-girlfriend’s new lover and shooting his ex-girlfriend in the stomach, then shooting and blinding a policeman, he disappeared into the woods of Northumberland, evading discovery for seven days, despite fighter jets, helicopters and TV tracker Ray Mears assisting police in looking for him. Eventually, cornered by the police, and after a six-hour standoff partially recorded by negotiators, Moat shot himself. 

Moat captured the public imagination; as he camped out in the countryside eating with his friends having barbecues and driving to McDonalds, he soon had an online following. As well as those who felt that Moat was a hero, there was also a more telling division in the country, between those who felt, as Prime Minister David Carmeron said he did, that Moat was a callous murderer end of story, and those who had a niggle of sympathy for him.

Drawing on extensive research – including a great deal of exclusive material – this book tells Moat’s story using Moat’s own words, and those of the state services which engaged with him. The result is an unprecedented examination of violent breakdown; an electrifying nonfiction narrative in the tradition of Hunter S. Thompson and Norman Mailer, or perhaps more accurately, given its terrain, Gordon Burn.

Andrew Hankinson was born and brought up in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he now lives again after spending time in London. He started his career as a staff writer at Arena, and since then has contributed to The GuardianWiredGQThe IndependentEsquire, Spectator and New Statesman. He has travelled widely, including trips to the Middle East, and he has reported from courts, disaster zones, freshly dug tunnels, ships, helicopters, fighter-jets, submarines and film sets. He has appeared on television and radio, including BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio 5, Newsnight and Daily Politics. In 2012 he won a Northern Writers’ Award and his book has been described by Jon Ronson as ‘brilliantly written’ and by the Spectator as ‘extraordinary’.


The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF
Tuesday 2 May, 6pm

Gateshead Central Library, Prince Consort Road,Gateshead, NE8 4LN
Thursday 11 May, 7pm

Marple Library, Memorial Park, Marple, Stockport, SK6 6BA
Tuesday 30 May, 6.30pm

Hebden Bridge Library, Cheetham Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8EP
Friday 2 June, 6pm

Advance booking is advisable and all events may be subject to change. See our individual event listings for further information.

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