Some of the best news the literary world could have heard today: my friend and old colleague Matt Hill has only gone and got himself a book deal.
Now there are times when a friend can come up to you and go: “Lookie here. I dun me a story,” and you read it and nod sagely and try to find the least unpleasant words you can to gently give them the news that what you have in front of you isn’t very good, and then resolve to be somewhere, anywhere else when they next approach, paper-in-hand.
Matthew is not one of those people I’ve ever had to do that to.
If you’re a regular reader of his blog, you’ll know he’s got a wonderful way with words and a unique voice. A few years ago I offered to proof an early draft of his book. I had to give up because I was enjoying it to much.
At risk of sounding way too sycophantic, he’s one of the most original writers I’ve come across in a long time. Sure, there’s traces of Ian M. Banks, a bit of Douglas Adams, and even a touch of Pratchett. But to compare him to these implies he’s perhaps imitating them. He’s not. The few chapters I saw were part of a very early version and he’s told me the whole thing has changed a lot, but even so, what I read was wonderfully unique and gloriously daft, yet also compelling.
At risk of having bigged Matthew up too much, I can’t wait to finally read his book. And I’d be saying that even if I didn’t know him, and we hadn’t spent evenings down the pub discussing Murray Walker.