Author Phil's got plenty of tales to tell at Barney talk
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
THE author of a memoir which has been published across the globe will be returning to Barnard Castle to give a talk about his book.
Former Barnard Castle School student Phil Mews released Orphan Boys last year.
It tells of life on the family farm in Weardale and how as young boys he and his brother Roger lost both parents within ten weeks in the mid-1970s.
Orphan Boys was initially self-published before being picked up and distributed through John Blake Books, since when it has gone on to sell thousands of copies across Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
“I did not think anyone in my family would read it, let along anyone I did not know,” said Mr Mews.
“I could not have anticipated what has happened and feel very lucky and fortunate.”
He said he thought there were a number of reasons why it has struck a chord with readers.
“There is an appetite for people to read nostalgia as they get to their 40s, 50s and 60s. They want to hark back to the times they grew up in,” he said.
Mr Mews believes the rural setting of the memoir also appeals to many readers.
“Then there is the human interest,” he added.
“This is not just a book about tragedy.
“It has a really positive feel to it and there is a lot of love and hope in it.
“There is even a certain amount of mischief in it and people are interested in that.”
The book charts the period in the Mews brothers’ life from 1976 to 1986, when the family decided to move out of the farm.
Mr Mews said had been asked by a number of readers to write a sequel, but nothing is planned to date.
“If I did write another book, it would be done as ‘then and now’. I would tell a lot more stories that I did not put in the first book and perhaps intersect them with anecdotes from later life as we grew up into adulthood.”
In the meantime, Mr Mews is working on his first novel, which is set in the world of breakfast television.
It is an environment he knows well, having worked in television production for almost two decades, during which time he was part of the launch team for RI:SE, Channel 4’s 2002 replacement for The Big Breakfast.
He is currently working on a show for STV and ITV with Lorraine Kelly.
Mr Mews will read excerpts and chat about Orphan Boys at The Witham, Barnard Castle, on Wednesday, September 18. He will particularly focus on his time at Barnard Castle School.
The talk takes place in the arts centre's cafe and starts at 6.30pm. Admission is free.