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July 8, 2016 / peoplesbookprize


In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Will Scott to talk about his non-fiction book

Pavel is a Geordie


The son of a woodcutter and middle child of five, Pavel had to overcome several challenging obstacles before finally proving his worth in life as a man and footballer on the domestic and international stage. This isn’t a typical footballer’s tale of rags to riches; it covers life as a soldier in an Eastern Bloc state under Communist rule where he nearly shot his general and of stories involving the Mafia, guns, drugs and corruption. Life as a young professional at Newcastle was not without difficulty. Kevin Keegan tried to replace him with several others; never entirely convinced by the keeper he inherited from Ossie Ardiles. Kenny Dalglish was even less convinced, and the pair clashed violently before n FA Cup semi-final when the Scot went back on his word. His national side fell to a Golden Goal at Euro 96, and he clashed with Dutch superstars Edgar Davids and Dennis Bergkamp at Euro 2000. He was also involved in a fierce exchange with Belgium boss Robert Waseige and referee Anders Frisk as the Czech Republic were eliminated from World Cup in controversial circumstances in 2001. This is a unique and heart-warming account of one of football’s good guys: full of comedy, tragedy and heartache that will make the reader laugh and cry in equal measures.

When did you start writing?

The first seeds of my writing career were sown, in 2001, as a journalist at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, in the Directorate General Employment and Social Affairs. A return home to the UK saw several years of employment in the newspaper industry for the local and national press. I started writing television and film scripts in my spare time and had some great feedback. BBC Writersroom kept one of my scripts for the best part of six months. It got to stage 5 of 6 of the commissioning process. I continued submitting scripts for a couple of years, but unfortunately, there was no commission forthcoming. With no breakthrough in that side of the industry, I thought I’d turn my attention to penning my first novel, when two years ago, I was approached to write Pavel is a Geordie.

As an Author, what influences you the most?

Music was probably the catalyst for becoming a writer and journalist. Political or punk bands, who tried to convey a social message, were a significant influence. The Smiths were quite an important band, and Morrissey crafted some exceptionally intelligent, idiosyncratic and influential lyrics. The Smiths’ frontman used to name drop individual writers as influences. Investigating or discovering these literary greats had a profound effect on me as a wannabe writer. It was like a Pandora’s Box. It opened up a new world to me.

Where did the idea for this book originate?

The idea came from the footballer’s agent. He was impressed with what he’d seen of my work in sports journalism and asked whether I’d be interested in writing an autobiography.

The People’s Book Prize nominees are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?

It is incredibly flattering and humbling for readers to lavish praise on something I’ve written. The fact they’ve taken the time and effort to go out of their way to vote has had an overwhelming effect on me. You just try your best and hopefully bring your work to life. The reward has your readers being able to connect and empathise with your story.

We like to think there’s a voice for everyone in Publishing – what is your opinion?

Without a doubt. Firstly, without a publisher, you don’t have a voice so writers have a lot to thank them for. Secondly, it gives you a personal boost when they show faith in your work and want to put it out in the public domain. A publisher gives writers a platform to express their opinions, debate and hold people, governments or institutions to account.

Mojo Risin’ publishes a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?

It’s quite comforting as you get a lot of empathy from other authors. They understand your frustrations because they have been through a similar process of trying to get work published.

What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?

There isn’t one but several. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist was a significant influence as were the novels of Tom Sharpe. I’m a big fan of Irvine Welsh and just finished reading his latest work, The Blade Artist. But then I love all of Shakespeare’s plays and Charles Dickens, who was and still is unrivalled in the art of storytelling. Oscar Wilde is another favourite of mine. I’ve moved on to Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism A Guide to Our Future.

What can we expect from you in the future? What are you writing at the moment?

I’ve just finished writing my first novel, Scoop; The Truth Only Gets in the Way of a Good Story. It is a bit of a satire on journalism and is due for a July release. At the moment I’m ghost writing a footballer’s autobiography.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Nothing other than I’m flattered and humbled to be in the final of such a prestigious awards ceremony with so many other talented writers. It feels a little surreal, to be honest. Obviously, I owe a great deal to Mojo Risin’ my publishers because without them I wouldn’t be in the running for the award.


Find Will at:

Twitter: @willscottwriter

home pageThe People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.

You Be the Judge: The People’s Book Prize – “The home for new and undiscovered works.”

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