Alan Franks has written five novels. The first, Boychester's Bugle drew ecstatic reviews. The Times Literary Supplement called it 'splendidly funny.' For Alan Hollinghurst in The Observer, it resembled Keith Waterhouse, while The Tablet saw similarities with Flann O'Brien and early Kingsley Amis. The veteran farceur Tom Sharpe found it 'brilliantly comic.'
Going Over, his account of a man walking across the north of England for a reckoning with his aged father, was the winner of a national novella competition. His most recent book, The Notes of Dr. Newgate, was a Guardian book of the year in 2013. His next, to be published in January 2016, is a comedy called The Adventures of Wendy Howard-Watt, about the life of an ambitious but trouble-prone celebrity interviewer on a struggling national newspaper.
Franks is the author of many plays, including The Mother Tongue, which starred Prunella Scales and Gwen Taylor. ('English-Chekhov' wrote Sheridan Morley in The Spectator); The Edge of the Land, about the great floods of 1953, and Previous Convictions, a black domestic comedy about family duty and recession. His most recent play, A World Elsewhere, had a sell-out run at Theatre 503 in Battersea in 2014.
With the singer Patty Vetta he has released five albums of his songs, including The Wishfulness Waltz, which was recorded by Fairport Convention. He is currently collaborating as a lyricist with the saxophonist and composer Tim Whitehead, a former artist in residence in Tate Britain. Several of their songs will feature in a new album due out in 2016.
He has won several poetry prizes, most recently the Wilfred Owen Association International Poetry Competition. He also won the Wigtown Competition, Scotland's largest, and the Petra Kenny poetry prize. Unmade Roads, his most recent collection, includes his winning entries in the Plough and Petra Kenney competitions. He has been described, by the late John Rety, co-founder of Torriano Poetry, as 'a modern day Sydney Carter'.
Alan was a feature writer and columnist on The Times for 30 years. While there he interviewed many top figures in the world of music (Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sondheim, Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Andre Previn); theatre/film (Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Woody Allen, Mickey Rourke, Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller) and literature (Muriel Spark, James Baldwin, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Anthony Powell, Laurie Lee). He was twice shortlisted for a British Press Award.
A collection of his Times diary columns was published as a book, Real Life With Small Children Under Foot, which he read as a series on Radio 4.
His website is alanfranks.com