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Foreword
by John Evans

Foreword
ISBN 978 1 904177 234

When I was about eight or nine at Dowlais Junior Mixed, near Merthyr Tydfil, south Wale my teacher, Mr Lewis, asked me to read a story I had written to the class. I’ll never forget how quiet my classmates became, how enthralled they were by my story. A great feeling for a writer and storyteller - probably the best. When I took the story home to show my mother, she criticised it, told me that two boats sinking on a lake close together was too much of a coincidence in a story. Thank you for that, mam. She was my first critic, and all writers need critical feedback. Thank you Mr Lewis and my classmates too, for they were instrumental to my first realisation that I could be a writer.
Later, when I became a reporter on the local weekly newspaper, people who knew me occasionally used to approach me and comment on what I had written in a feature article. The conventional wisdom (voiced by our features editor) that today’s newspaper became tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping was completely overturned. I began to understand that my thoughts and feelings could have an effect on people. I was not just doing a job, which I enjoyed, but people read and reflected days later on what I had written. This, I think, was the next stage in making me a writer. For no one in my family or social group had dared to think that they might do something as outlandish.
And here I am again, like that little boy I was, presenting you my readers with a collection of stories. I hope you will enjoy them - and like Oliver come back and ask for more. For my intention is to grow a readership for my work, though I still write short stories because I love this form of writing, which is unforgiving and so demanding in so many ways - but very rewarding.
Some stories raise serious issues, but I have spiced the collection with humorous stories like ‘Going to the dogs with Oscar’ and ‘Hammer it to pieces’ that are light-hearted, if satirical. There is humour too in some of them, such as ‘The Lobster’ and ’Bad Dog’, if you look for it hard enough. ’Bread and Circuses’ is a coming of age story about a boy’s sudden awareness of cruelty. There are lots of humorous moments in that story too.
The locations of the stories are also varied, some are set in south Wales, some on Tyneside and some in the land between. All, I hope, are set in that land of the imagination, the ‘other lands’ of one of my stories. So if you like the short story as an art form and like a sometimes demanding read, I hope you will enjoy these stories and come back for more.

 

 

John Evans

 

John Evans has been writing short stories since the age of eight. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, youth worker, in adult educational guidance, museums and art galleries promotion and as a basic skills tutor.He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Northumbria and is working on a memoir of his early life in south Wales.