Monday, 30 January 2012

Short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize !

Got a call today to notify me that I have made the short list and that I shall be required to attend the Award Ceremony on 5th March in London. Now what would be really nice is to get a call from an agent to say"I HAVE fallen in love with Sweeping up the Village". So many steps along this road of becomming a published novelist(but maybe, just maybe, I am one more step farther along than I was yesterday)

Bren Gosling

Monday, 16 January 2012

About - Sweeping up the Village- by Bren Gosling

At 14 in Kosovo his dreams of becoming a professional basket ball player were shattered by war.
Fast forward to 2002; Almir is 21, newly arrived in London and working as a Walthamstow street sweeper. One day his broom strikes a pair of discarded women’s sandals, triggering a series of crippling flashbacks which threaten his sanity. When he is moved onto a quieter beat – sweeping up Walthamstow’s village – Almir finds himself attracted to an older man with issues of his own.
In the weeks surrounding the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, Almir struggles to rebuild his life. Can he conceal the guilty secret tormenting him?
Sweeping up the Village is a compelling debut novel about lost identity, love and the need to belong. Short listed for the 2012 Harry Bowling Prize for new writers.

If you are an agent or publisher who would like to see more of this novel or the full manuscript email

Bren Gosling

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A taster...

Sweeping Up the Village
By Bren Gosling

In time of daffodils (who know the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,
remember how.


Kosovo, 24th September 2001.
Outside the compound it is dark. Even the blanket of snow covering the ground exudes only a neutered glow. The night smells of cold. Beyond the electrified perimeter fence, on the far side of a ring of birch trees, the city lights glimmer like dampened embers. From inside the compound, the occupant of Room 31 can see nothing of this. Room 31 forms part of an inner complex. It has no windows – for “security reasons”, they say. Yet the young man holds this vision of the night outside firmly within his imagination.
Ten long weeks have passed since he’s been brought to the centre – for his personal protection – and his stay is beginning to feel like an incarceration. He opens his eyes, stares through the half-light at the wall beside his bed, and then scans the room’s interior. Its spartan furnishing gives him a flimsy reassurance: a cast-iron radiator sitting in the middle of the wall facing the door; a wardrobe and small table and chair are snugged against the long wall opposite his bed. This place was once used as a prison by the old regime. An overzealous heating system, which he cannot control, pumps the room almost to the point of ignition. He lays on top of the bed, stripped down to his boxer shorts, but there is no respite from the suffocating heat. As the moment of his departure grows closer, he turns listlessly back and forth.
He looks at his watch: 1.45am. He sits up and reaches over to his jacket, slung over the back of the chair, and fumbles through one of the pockets, then switches on the bedside lamp and removes a cigarette from the blue and white packet. He lights it and inhales. Insomnia has dogged him, on and off, for months; ever since he’d made the decision to leave. The stillness of the hours bring an acute awareness that this is his final night here, his last in Kosovo. Soon he will leave for ever; there can be no turning back. This twilight time marks an ending, but also a beginning.
He takes another draw on his cigarette, savouring its familiar taste and recalling the ritualistic manner in which he has packed the few essentials for the journey ahead.

• one shirt
• one T-shirt
• one change of underwear
• one pair of socks
• the hand knitted sweater given to him by his aunt
• a small bag of toiletries
• one hand towel
All are folded neatly and packed into a green plastic holdall. Packed, unpacked and re-packed. Unpacked, then packed again.

He stands up, his body heavy with the burden of restless days and nights without sleep, then walks over to the table and sits down, banging his knee against the sharp edge of its top.
There is still something he needs to do.
He looks at the holdall on the floor and, like he is in a trance, gets up and moves towards it. He kneels down in front of the bag, as if in homage. He unzips the top and begins to unpack its contents, placing everything into a tidy pile.
Then, there it is: cupped in the palm of his hand, the badge severed from the sleeve of his battledress uniform. There is no hesitation in what he does next – he cuts and rips the fabric with a razor. The black two-headed eagle on its blood-red background is decapitated; its’ wings clipped. The letters U C K, embroidered large across the badge’s base, fall in torn fragments into his lap. He gathers up these remnants, carries them over to the desk and places them inside the waste-paper bin. He places them; he does not throw or cast them. He places the remnants of his badge as one might place a dead chick. Without further thought, he returns to the holdall and repacks it. Exhausted, he falls back onto the bed.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

This waiting game is horrible !

My manuscript is sitting out there somewhere in an agent's office,or on their laptop and I have no idea if it's been looked at yet;or, if it has been looked at how has it gone down? Etc, etc etc...I have let my child go off alone into the world and am waiting for their first call home. The characters,the novel plot are very much alive and in my head all of the time. I care about them/the story as though they are close family. At our City Writers reunion last Saturday ,one of my peers told me how he is still waiting on an agent to commit or not to his novel after almost four months from them recieving it! I should really begin something new as I've not written for over 3 weeks now.The other evenning I did critique a friend's poetry, which she wants to translate into English from the original Icelandic.That was interesting to do.

Oh well, la,la,la,la... Off to a Panto tonight and on Friday up to lovely Aldeburgh for a long weekend.

Bren Gosling

Saturday, 26 November 2011

This waiting game a doldrum time. I sent my manuscript off to two of the four agents who've expresed an interest in seeing it. After one week I heard from one of them to say that the subject of my novel is a worthy one on which to write but that the novel itself wasn't to her particular taste. Not alot to be gleaned from this !She did encourage me to continue to send it out. I haven't heard back from the other agent- who shall for the moment remain nameless,but I would be very excited if I would be offered representation with them.

Meantime...yesterday I got an email informing me that 'Sweeping up the Village' has made the long list for the 2012 Harry Bowling Prize for new writing.The shortlist will be announced in January.

I've done no writing since submitting my novel to agents and it feels odd, like something is missing from my life.I am going to start up again next week, with the reworking of some short stories.I have missed writing short fiction. I've been treating myself though -went to Gothenburg to stay with my friend Mikeal for loads of tango and been to the opera, theatre and cinema. Shortly off for a reunion lunch with the City writers crowd,to share and hear everyones news.

Bren Gosling

Friday, 21 October 2011


After two weeks of more or less round the clock close editing I have finished the redraft and just sent my manuscript off to be copy edited. Nail biting 2 weeks! Tomorrow I am going to Jordan for a weeks holiday. My completed novel comes in at 75 k words. I am knackered!

Bren Gosling

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sitting here distracted

...havent written for a while as no time because of work and, last weekend - TANGO!
Am sitting here distracted from the looming task of beginning again. I always feel this way after a break of a few days. It's like the feeling you get when you open an e mail from someone you know, aware there is something important within but you are not sure if it's good or bad.

I was thinking about the detail of my climactic scene following the skype session with my University of London source - I didnt feel it was quite right, factually, though am happy that the writing itself is strong. So I arranged a short follow up skype with the source last Friday and my hunch was correct - the geographical location for the scene needs to change - I now have it - also the detail of the action to make it more plausible in that place and time/historical context.

So now I am going to rewrite this climactic scene and then start again at the begiining of the novel and work in the more minor re writes. Up in Aldeburgh at the w/e and have today and tomorrow to write so ---- here we go!
But the new short novel " The Auschwitz Violin" BY Maria Angel Anglada I purchased two days ago on impulse whilst waiting for a friend to buy clothes in Walthmstow's Selbourne Walk shopping mall is vying for my attention. It may win if I am not careful.

Bren Gosling