Meeting writers on the page since 1996


Pen Factor Special – winner Johnny Gaunt

“There was the saw-toothed ‘kronk’ of the dawn raven, throaty enough to splinter dreams, send them skittering like silverfish. Chrissy-boy stirred, but his eyes stayed shut. Parched, he was. And the heat inside the shed on these hot mornings, it did something to the air. Wrung it out. Turned his mouth rank, tongue dry as a sunbaked frog. He groaned. The fall away of dreams and the return of this, his real world, often brought about a vague radge within him: a stony weight in the stomach, and briefly he lay between both states colourless, empty, unwritten space before his first clear thought. ‘Sadie’. Always the same thought.”

Extract from ‘Offcumden– included in the showcase

“Before winning TLC Pen Factor, I often considered my own ideas and creative expressions to be somehow unworthy, undeserving of an audience. I’m not alone in this, I know, but it does seem to be more prevalent in those with a working-class upbringing. It probably explains the sense of catharsis I feel, using this most symbolic of working-class backdrops — the council estate — as the primary setting for Offcumden.” From the Introduction