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Guy Mankowski: An Honest Deceit

I follow the story of a man whose beloved young daughter is tragically killed on a school trip. When the story given about her death simply doesn’t add up, this man goes digging for answers and soon he, and his family, are on a rollercoaster ride to expose the truth.

When I first began the novel it was a simple study of grief; a look at how the family unit can handle a crisis. But since 2011 more and more stories about cover-ups came out, starting with the Jimmy Savile scandal. This led on to more and more stories about whistle-blowers being hounded for speaking out against powerful institutions.

Working with high profile banking, NHS and FIFA whistleblowers to research the novel, I saw first-hand the effects that whistleblowing has in an age where the truth is put behind quick profits. The insecurities of the modern world was a subject I had explored in my previous book, How I Left The National Grid. But, having learnt about the plight of whistleblowers, with this novel I saw what outsider status they can suddenly be cast into simply for telling the truth. I put my thoughts on the subject into An Honest Deceit. The real-life experiences I learnt of instilled in me an anger towards institutions that have covered their own back rather than followed through on their stated ethics when they were challenged. An Honest Deceit is about the anger felt by ordinary people trying to live honest lives in such situations. It’s about how such people can end up caught in webs of pain and deceit, if their accounts happen to not convenience powerful organisations. Although it was the hardest book I’ve yet written, it is without a doubt the one I feel most passionately about.

Guy Mankowski’s first novel, The Intimates, was published by Legend Press in 2011. His second, Letters from Yelena, was researched in the world of Russian ballet, and was adapted for the stage for a one-off performance at Dance City, Newcastle. An excerpt from it was used in GCSE training material by Osiris. His third novel was set in Manchester’s post-punk scene and written as part of a creative writing PhD at Northumbria University. An Honest Deceit was published in 2016. Guy lives in Newcastle.

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