Author(s): Paul Ewen
Francis Plug is a troubled and often drunk misfit who causes chaos and confusion wherever he goes - and where he most likes to go is to real author events, collecting signatures from the likes of Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Eleanor Catton. As he adds to this collection of signed Booker first editions, Francis - a wannabe author himself - is also helpfully writing a self-help manual. Devised with the novice writer in mind, it is full of sage wisdom and useful tidbits to help ease freshly published novelists into the demands and rigors of author events, readings and general life in the public eye. If you're provided with a hands-free mic, clipped to your lapel, don't forget to turn it off when you visit the toilet, or if you need to vomit before your event. Likewise, it's always good to be wary of the germs of fans - and considering the use of elbow-length dishwashing gloves at book signings, and a large, easy-wipe kitchen apron. And so too, cultivating a photographic 'look' for the many publicity shots you will be subjected to is also a good idea - Francis's personal choice being that of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. With advice like this, and Francis' warm and deranged personality, Francis Plug: How to Be a Public Author will prove essential reading for anyone with an interest in the literary world. The Man Booker Prize becomes a springboard to explore what it means to be an author - and a human being - in the twenty-first century. This novel is certain to be one of the main talking points when the Man Booker Prize is discussed this year, as well as one that will endure long after the controversies have died down. It is an exceptional piece of writing - a novel that readers will love and return to, time and time again.
This is a must-read for all writers, booksellers, publishers and readers; for anyone that has ever attended an author event. Very funny, this is a clever novel about a wannabe author who attends author events to spout his opinions and generally makes a nuisance of himself. Francis is despicable but oddly appealing in his audacity. Each chapter starts with an image of a title page signed and inscribed to Francis Plug. Paul Ewan actually did attend each of the literary events to have the books inscribed to Francis and struck up conversations with the authors. The conversations are documented but where reality ends and fiction begins is up to the reader to decide. While this is laugh-out-loud funny, it also shows up the celebrity circuit for what it is. - Stella
Francis Plug is the fictional alter ego of New Zealand ex-pat Paul Ewen. Until he wins the Booker Prize for the book he is writing, the alcoholic Plug works as a gardener for a wealthy banker, and attends author events with Booker Prize-winning authors to get some pointers on how celebrity authors behave and to get them to inscribe their books to him. Ewen attended all the actual events, which are hilariously and astutely reported, and the actual inscriptions to Plug are displayed in the book (an almost complete set of living Booker winners, up to and including Eleanor Catton) along with the conversations between ‘FP’ and the authors. Frequently Plug’s idiotic and disruptive drink-fuelled behaviour at the events veers off into fiction but it is not always clear just a what point this departure is made. As he ploughs his nose deeper into the berm of his extra-literary life, the puerile Plug becomes a surprisingly sympathetic character, a sort of pathetic everyman, sharpening the satire of literary success which makes this book so compelling as well as actually making me laugh quite frequently. - Thomas
>> Francis Plug crashes the 2014 Man Booker short list.
>> Interview with Paul Ewen
>> Do you remember the actual-celebrity-nabbing fictional character Norman Gunston?
* Interview to be placed in broadsheet newspaper * Review coverage across tabloid and broadsheet newspapers * Review coverage in literary and weekly magazines * National radio interviews in Australia and New Zealand * Wide online review coverage * Invitation to be sought to 2015 writers festivals * Featured in Text newsletters and website
Runner-up for McKitterick Prize 2015. Long-listed for Gordon Burn Prize 2015.
Paul Ewen is a New Zealand writer based in south London. In NZ his work has been published in Landfall and Sport, and in the UK his stories have appeared in the British Council's New Writing anthology (edited by Ali Smith and Toby Litt), and also in the Times Higher Education Supplement and Tank magazine. He has written for Dazed & Confused, and is a regular contributor to Hamish Hamilton's online magazine Five Dials. His first book, London Pub Reviews, was called 'a cross between Blade Runner and Coronation Street' (Waterstones) and 'a work of comic genius' (Dan Rhodes). Francis Plug-long-time companion of Paul's, if only in a parallel universe-is a key figure in the British literary scene, regularly found in the company of today's highest profile authors. Based in Tufnell Park, London, he also works as a residential gardener (with very competitive rates). According to Francis, How to Be a Public Author, his first book, was written with the assistance of his amanuensis, Paul Ewen.