www.markpiggott.com

This is the website of author and journalist Mark Liam Piggott

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I'm the author of three novels, "Kidology," “Out of Office” and “Fire Horses," and one collection of shorter fiction, "Militant Factions." I've also had around 20 short stories published in anthologies, magazines and elsewhere.

I've had dozens of major features in the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Independent, Mail, Express, Telegraph, Observer, Spectator and many more. I've also appeared on TV and been a guest on BBC radio and lectured in creative writing and journalism.

In 2016 I received generous awards from both the Authors' Foundation and Royal Literary Fund. I'm truly grateful to both of these fantastic organisations.

 

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My new Huff Post blog: Kidology: the pre-cretinous era

Posted on March 30, 2017 at 12:50 PM


Delighted to announce the first in what I hope will be a long-running series of blogs, "Kidology", is now on Huffington Post. Like it, share it, do whatever you want with it - it's all yours now...

Kidology and Militant Factions available now!

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 8:10 PM


Delighted to announce that my latest novel, "Kidology", and my first collection of short stories, "Militant Factions," are available NOW from Amazon, in paperback or Kindle. Find out more about Kidology - a dark comedy about a lecturer who turns to crime - HERE and more about Militant Factions - which also includes some of my creative non-fiction and novel extracts - HERE.

To buy any of my books, visit my Amazon website here.

 

How it feels to... give up drinking: in today's Sunday Times Magazine

Posted on January 29, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Between 9th November 2015 and 9th November 2016 I didn't touch a drop of alcohol. Not even vodka on my cornflakes. I did it for a number of reasons - health, charity, just to make sure I could - and actually really enjoyed it. Except for a few times when I didn't so much.

Anyway, I'm delighted to announce that my feature about the experience is in today's Sunday Times Magazine. Here's the standfirst:

"For those nearing the end of dry January, what is it like to go teetotal for a year? It was his ever more debilitating hangovers that convinced the author Mark Piggott, 50, to give it a try"

Here's a link to the article, though unless you're a subscriber you might have to get a hard copy.

By the way although the year is up, you can still donate to my Children in Need page here:

I'll match all donations up to the first £1,000.

Finally, if you are thinking of taking a year off, there's a fantastic support group on Facebook called One Year No Beer:

Right, I'm off to get my copy of the paper. And for a pint. Well, I did turn 50 yesterday. It'd be rude not to...

Hear me being interviewed by Eddie Mair on Radio 4...

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 2:05 PM


Just been interviewed by Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM about why I'm coming round to the idea of Brexit. Or rather, having "lost" (I voted remain), why I now think it's probably time to stop whinging and get on with it (as I wrote in a Spectator piece shortly after the referendum). Hopefully I managed to get a few progressive ideas across along with all the waffle...

Judge for yourself here - my bit's near the end. Listen to the whole show though - it's got some really interesting stuff on heroin in Vancouver, brothels in Newquay and much, much more...

 

What a bloody year that was...

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Well, I made it. Didn't touch a drop of booze between 9th November 2015 and 9th November 2016. What a bloody year. Bowie, Brexit, now Trump. Enough to drive you to drink. Many thanks to all who are sponsoring me for Children in Need. You can keep sponsoring me till November 2017 and I will MATCH all donations up to the first £1,000. That's the #PiggottPledge. (Type that into Twitter to see my relentlessly depressing updates from Day One).

Here's a link to my Just Giving page.

By the way - I might have a can of Stella in my hand, but I haven't had a drink yet. School run, work, yada yada. To prove it I posted a video on the excellent One Year No Beer Facebook page. Time to show booze who's boss. (Who am I kidding? Stella, forgive me...)

Cheers all!

My year without alcohol special offer: I'll match donations up to 1,000!!!

Posted on October 18, 2016 at 9:30 AM

As my BILLIONS of regular followers will no doubt already be aware, on 9th November 2015 I commenced My Year Without Alcohol, vowing not to touch a drop of booze for one calendar year (which included 29th February - natch). Not that I'm counting the nanoseconds, but there are now just 21 days left.

I won't pretend this last year's been easy. Among other things, we moved house (again), I had a hernia (not recommended), both of our beloved cats died (RIP Katie and Marula), and we went camping in France, where the rivers all run claret - and I had to drink Diet Coke. It's enough to drive a man to drink.

I decided to have a "dry" year for a number of reasons: for a newspaper article (more details soon), for my health, my wallet, and to prove I could do it after 35 years of fairly remorseless imbibing. I do feel much better - rested, healthy, and I've finally completed two books I'd been arsing around with for way too long.

However, I also took the #PiggottPledge for Children in Need, hoping a few of you might sponsor my "dryathlon" (not to be confused with the admirable though frankly wimpish Dry September on behalf of Cancer Research UK). And, well... donations thus far have been - shall we say - "disappointing."

Therefore I'm making a generous, neigh, rash offer: because I've saved about £1,000 on booze, I'll match all donations to Children in Need till the total reaches £1,000. That would make £2,000 in total. If the total goes higher, I won't be able to match it but you'll have my undying affection. Or something.

You don't have to donate ONE PENNY till the year's up (FFS hurry up 9th November...) Just make a pledge on my Facebook page and who knows, it might even encourage others to do likewise. This offer remains open till 9th November 2017. So what you waiting for, peeps - blood?

Oh. Right. Well - at least it's alcohol-free. For now, anyway.

 

No excuses - thanks to the Royal Literary Fund

Posted on September 18, 2016 at 8:15 AM


It's so easy to make excuses for not writing. No time, no money, bills to pay, I must eat, etc. However I have found I am now completely out of excuses, thanks to an incredibly generous grant courtesy of the Royal Literary Fund which will enable me to complete two novels I've been working on for some time: All the Brutes (working title) and Emptiness. So, thanks a bunch RLF. Thanks to you, I'm going to have to write something good.

No excuses left.

Damn.

 

Cybercrime and Cyberpunishment: my latest Huff Post

Posted on September 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM


"The digital age brings new freedoms, new convenience, but also new irritations - and new forms of crime. The world of justice struggles to keep up with the myriad ways cyber criminals use the internet, social media and smartphones to steal our money, privacy and time.

New crimes mean new punishments. Sticking some autistic nerd in a prison cell is both archaic and counterproductive: he (always he...) will only make himself a Wifi connection out of soap and boot polish and escape down the information superhighway. What’s needed are cyber-punishments that fit the cyber-crimes. It’s not so much a case of what would Raskalnikov have done (worked out some sort of phishing scam to snare Alyona, I imagine, though not necessarily her sister) - it’s the punishment he’d receive. Would we sentence him to the UK version of Siberia (i.e., Suffolk) or be more... restorative in our justice..?"

Read the rest of my latest Huff Post here

 

My latest Spectator blog: Freedom is our best weapon against Isis

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:20 AM


"Of all the guff churned out about Isis, the refrain that we are engaged in a ‘clash of civilisations’ and ‘battle of ideas’ is uniquely moronic. Isis doesn’t want civilisation. As for a battle of ideas – what ideas? Isis doesn’t have any, unless you count an apocalyptic fight to the death in Dabiq or Rome. We are reliably informed that Isis includes some very intelligent people who spend years planning terror attacks. Yet it took the, ahem, ‘conflicted’ Mohamed Bouhlel – that brave warrior who defecated on his own daughter’s bed – months to plan his terror attack, which consisted solely of getting in a lorry and putting his foot down. Has any moment more succinctly captured the utter hatred of these brainwashed idiots than the moment Bouhlel’s truck accelerated into the crowd?"

Read the latest of my latest Spectator column here.

 

Authors' Award Foundation: ain't no stoppin' us now

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 3:55 AM

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To my amazement, I returned home from France (which was lovely - don't let a few idiots put you off) to discover I'm the recipient of a generous award from the Authors' Foundation 2016.

The award will help me complete two novels about which I have high hopes and enable me to think about plots and characters rather than how to pay the bills (for a while). Although of course many of the characters of my books also have to worry about bills, so I won't forget my roots...

Truly grateful to the Society of Authors - and I would advise all struggling authors to apply to the Foundation. If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone...

My latest Spectator column: Why the generation gap is a myth

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM


"When asked to fill in my nationality – and when the option’s available – I always specify ‘English’. Partly because I don’t have an ounce of Scottish or Welsh blood, but mostly because the very name ‘United Kingdom’ has lost all meaning. We are disunited. Brexit v Remain, North v South, Corbyn v Everyone. And – we are informed by those in the know – Old v Young..."

Read the rest of my latest Spectator column here.

My latest Spectator column: The era of political labels has ended

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 3:50 AM


"I loathe labels but used to be described – indeed described myself – as a socialist. Perhaps as a result of having been conceived at a conference of sex-pest Gerry Healy’s Socialist Labour League (SLL) in Morecambe, then christened (or rather, named – my family are atheist) Mark after Marx, I never had much doubt about which side I hung.

"My father’s family were working class, Methodist, union-organising, tenant association-running, pro-Suffragette, anti-bomb. Many of my happiest childhood memories were being taken on marches against nukes, apartheid and vivisection. Even now my father struggles with the concept that not all Conservatives are fundamentally evil. My mother’s family were more extreme: my nan was an Irish Republican, and even now my mum’s father remains a Stalinist..."

Read my latest Spectator blog here.

 

Read my piece in The Spectator: Brexit regrets? Yes - I wish I'd voted leave

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 10:30 AM

"I woke up on 24 June with a sense of impending doom. It was no doubt linked to the fact that after voting the day before, I had undergone an operation and so was waking up in a hospital bed. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was also waking up to the news that Britain had voted to leave the EU.

It soon became clear that I wasn’t the only Briton who’d been badly bruised by the events of that historic day. On the airwaves and social media, angry Remainers were voicing their shock at what had just happened. More surprisingly, repentant sinners were beginning to beg for forgiveness: they’d voted Leave, not realising their votes counted, and wanted to change their minds. I now share their pain – as well as bravely bearing my own – because I wish I’d voted Leave..."

Well it only took 'em 188 years - The Spectator finally published one of my blogs.

Read it here.

 


Brexit: Keep Calm, Carry on Being Friends and Think of the Planet

Posted on June 27, 2016 at 11:40 AM

"Last Thursday 23rd June I entered hospital for surgery. The operation was minor but I reacted badly to the anaesthetic and as the night wore on entered a state of semi-delirium. By 11 pm I was straddling a toilet, gown flapping, oxygen tubes up my nose, tubes in my arm, listening to David Dimbleby make reassuring noises about the UK remaining and passing these on to two lovely Romanian nurses attempting without luck or enthusiasm to insert a catheter..."

Read the rest of my post-Brexit Huff Post here.

 


Note to Dave and Jezza: Don't Trust the Public With the Vote, They're Cretins

Posted on June 14, 2016 at 8:00 AM

"It’s far too early to tell if the latest opinion polls suggesting the people of Britain and that little bit of Ireland will vote Brexit next week. Political pundits often insist you can’t infer anything from opinion polls, but in this case I think you can: the public are cretins..."

Read the rest of my latest Huffington Post here.

 


What's the point of the London Book Fair?

Posted on April 13, 2016 at 11:50 AM

"All this week (12-14 April) publishers and agents will rub shoulders and egos at the London Book Fair. This annual PR stunt will probably only make the headlines if some teenage wunderkind gets a six-figure advance for some nonsense, possibly involving a zebra with Munchausen's who decides to get a job. Except of course he or she (almost certainly a she - publishers do like good-looking chicks) won't receive anything like six figures - and after vanishing without trace will be replaced by the big thing, possibly in a Burka..."

Read the rest of my sad, embittered rant at the Huff Post.

(You'd be bitter too if your whole livelihood depended on people you've never met, who don't know anything, who weren't even born when you were working in warehouses, squatting and fucking, have never lived and know nothing and may well never know anything about life, love and literature... But hey - mustn't grumble!)

Long live Pakistan...

Posted on March 27, 2016 at 6:55 PM

For every race. Against every religion.

Long live Belgium...

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 7:50 AM

...and fuck the medievalists

 

R.I.P. Barry Hines - creator of Kes and so much more

Posted on March 20, 2016 at 9:30 AM

When I was a child I couldn't relate to many books. Then I read The Blinder by Barry Hines and it just felt so real: washing your face in a sink filled with dishes, cold Yorkshire mornings, the comp and football. That book was the first to put in my head the idea I might try and write.

About 10 years ago when doing my MA at Manchester University I had to do a project and decided on "the life and works of Barry Hines." Having read all his novels - I also loved The Heart of It, and of course films such as Looks and Smiles and the harrowing Threads - I wrote and asked for an interview. To my amazement Barry invited me to his house in Sheffield for tea.

We chatted about books - his, those of other people - his work with Ken Loach, class and Yorkshire, and Barry offered me a couple of tips for my own writing - principally: the best way to represent a character's thoughts is through his actions. I never forgot it.

I was informed of Barry's illness soon after we met (by his brother Richard, now also a successful writer) and found it cruel that such a bright, intelligent man should be stricken by such a horrible disease. I'll always remember what a lovely man he was and what a fine writer. If you want to see what I mean, try A Kestrel for a Knave - and its flawless ending.

R.I.P. Barry Hines.

What is an acceptable social media following and why does it matter?

Posted on February 25, 2016 at 9:25 AM

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Yesterday someone turned down my suggestion of a column because I "don't have a sufficient social media following." Funny, that. Here's me thinking it was more important to have written two decent books (actually five, but my publisher is dragging his heels), to have had short stories and creative non-fiction published and once even praised by the New Yorker, to write dozens of major features for everyone from the Sunday Times to the Guardian, get invited to speak on the BBC, to research for TV documentaries, to lecture, achieve an MA. But apparently it's more important to be followed by a load of strangers you've never met, who've never read a word you write and never will. What a weird fucking world...

Books still available from Amazon, by the way. Just saying.


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Books


 


Out of Office

“He possesses a way with metaphor and analogy which, when utilised sparingly and with a lightness of touch, rivals Martin Amis.”

- “Outside Left” magazine, issue 22

 “Mark Piggott is a talented and exciting writer; his novel is original, powerful and fast-moving, and takes the reader, all unprepared, into places he would probably have avoided had he been warned. But from page one it is too late; he is being hurtled along and he cannot get off.”

- Paula McMaster, “Bookgroup.info”

 “This is a book that really makes you think about contemporary Britain and the difficult issues of race and class with which it is still grappling. It's also a book that resists easy answers and skewers political correctness.”

- Andrew Blackman, author, “On the Holloway Road”

 “A great British voice – pithy and powerful"

– Bill Coles, author, “Dave Cameron’s Schooldays”

Fire Horses

“Reading Fire Horses is like riding pillion on a motorbike driven by a poet”

– Jonathan Trigell, author, “Boy A”

“As a debut novel it shines, both in the quality of the writing and the insights into mankind and modern history”

– Mike French, “View from Here”

“Passionate, powerful, poetic – a fine debut from an original talent”

- John King, author, "The Football Factory"

“Piggott’s debut novel is a plausible evocation of seamy ‘80s life viewed through the prism of complicated male friendship. Piggott’s eye for social detail is acute, and his love for his characters shines through.”

– John O’Connell, “Time Out”

 “The words themselves, from start to finish, are written with a flair and lyrical fluency that make this book difficult to put down and overall a deservedly worthwhile read.”

– “Frank Mask” literary blog