With the release of his new novel ‘HOWUL’ David Shannon may be about to emerge as a major literary talent in his own right
The name David Shannon might not be immediately familiar to you, but that of his wife – Bernardine Evaristo OBE – certainly will be. Bernardine made history in 2019 when she became both the first black woman and first black British author to win the coveted Booker Prize, for her novel Girl, Woman, Other. Being in such esteemed literary company has clearly had a profound effect on her husband of 12 years, as David has just released a novel of his own: HOWUL: A Life’s Journey.
Writing is nothing new to David, who started out as a showbiz journalist for national newspapers and magazines before becoming an actor and building the successful murder mystery events company, Murder Mystery Games.
David’s first foray into fiction-writing came in the early noughties, with a quaint crime novel which, unfortunately, did not chime with literary agents or readers’ tastes for more visceral fayre. That may have been it for David the author, until he met Bernardine in 2006. She inspired him to try his hand at another novel, and was the one who suggested he pursued his idea for a post-apocalyptic story set in North Wales.
Taking place in an unspecified future, when an apparent catastrophe has brought down civilisation and regressed society to pre-technological status, it focuses on the eponymous Howul. He is intelligent and inquisitive, seeing things differently in a barbaric time where books are treated as dangerous and mental non-conformity can easily cost you your life.
HOWUL is impossible to pigeon-hole, but displays a keen sense of satirical humour and incisive commentary on present-day concerns.
“Thematically, it examines how ordinary people deal with especially hard times, how they interact, and how they cope when those in charge of society control through deceit, force and social division, but all told with a good dollop of dark humour,” says David.
It has taken him more than 12 years of “writing and rewriting, rejecting and taking advice” to bring his book to fruition, securing representation through leading London literary agency A M Heath.
More importantly to David, this achievement came through his own literary merits.
He adds: “I’ve never felt in competition with Bernardine, and I have nothing but gratitude for the excellent advice she offered, but I wanted to make sure that my writing could stand on its own two feet.”
‘HOWUL: A Life’s Journey’ by David Shannon (Elsewhen Press) is available now through Amazon, priced £10 in paperback and £2.99 as an eBook.