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Andrew Michael Hurley: Devil’s Day

When I was writing Devil’s Day I became interested in the experience of living in a remote community and scoured the Ordnance Survey maps of Lancashire trying to find a suitable setting for the story. Eventually, I found the Langden Valley in the Forest of Bowland, which winds through several seldom-trodden miles of heather and bracken to the lonely moors above Bleasdale. There are no farms in the valley, but I began to think about what it would be like to live and work the land there. How would it feel to be in a constant battle with the elements? What kind of folklore might have emerged in such a place? How important would it be for those who lived there to stick together? Working collectively and not beholden to anyone else, might they feel as though there was more purpose and structure to their lives? This last thought I started to explore through the novel’s narrator, John Pentecost.

John grows up on the family farm but moves away at the first opportunity to train as a teacher and has been living in Suffolk for the last decade or so. He has recently married and his wife, Kat, is pregnant with their first child. When John’s grandfather (known by everyone in the Endlands as ‘the Gaffer’) dies suddenly, John returns with Kat to the farm for the funeral. This coincides with the annual ‘Gathering’, where the other two families – the Dyers and the Beasleys – pitch in to help bring the Pentecosts’ sheep down off the moors for the winter. Being back in the valley, John feels a growing sense of allegiance to the place and tries to persuade Kat to stay and raise their child there. But when he finds out that the Gaffer was involved in a violent incident earlier in the year he is forced to decide whether to expose the truth or to prove his loyalty and close ranks with the other farmers.

Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire. His first novel, The Lonely, won the Costa Best First Novel Award and Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in 2016, and is in development as a feature film. Devil’s Day is his second novel.

Events

King Cross Library,
151 Haugh Shaw Rd, Halifax, HX1 3BG
Wednesday 13 March, 2pm
(Joint event with Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi)

York St. John University,
De Grey Lecture Theatre, York St. John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO31 7EX
Friday 22 March, 6pm – 7.30pm
(Joint event with John Challis and Jude Brown)

Newcastle City Library,
33 New Bridge Street W, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX
Monday 1 April, 3pm

Liverpool Central Library,
William Brown St, Liverpool, L3 8EW
Wednesday 10 April, 6pm

Berwick Library,
Walkergate, Berwick Upon Tweed, TD15 1DB
Wednesday 8 May, 6pm

Spennymoor Library,
24 Cheapside, Spennymoor, DL16 6DJ
Thursday 9 May, 11am

Beverley Library,
Champney Rd, Beverley, HU17 8HE
Saturday 11 May, 12pm

Pontefract Library,
28-32 Market Pl, Pontefract, WF8 1BD
Monday 13 May, 7.30pm
(Joint event with Amy Arnold)

Hull Central Library,
Albion St, Hull, HU1 3TF
Wednesday 15 May, 6.30pm

Otley Library,
Nelson St, Otley LS21 3AB
Thursday 16 May, 5.45pm

Whitley Bay Library,
York Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear NE26 1AB
Thursday 23 May, 2.30pm

Derwent Valley Bridge Community Library,
3 Pickering Rd, Scarborough, YO13 9JE
Thursday 13 June, 7pm

Ambleside Library,
Kelsick Road, Ambleside, LA22 0BZ
Thursday 27 June, 7pm

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