The “My Gen Book Club” marked its first meeting with a surprise visit from the author of the club’s first chosen read.
King of “Manc Noir”, David Nolan, based in Altrincham, wrote his first fiction novel “Black Moss” after writing a dozen non-fiction books, including an expose into the largest abuse case mounted by Greater Manchester Police, called “Tell The Truth and Shame The Devil” that was adapted into an award-winning BBC Radio 4 documentary based on the book called “The Abuse Trial”.
“Black Moss”, is set in Manchester. In 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss. And no one cared. No one except Danny Johnston, a young radio reporter trying to make a name for himself. Over 25 years later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.
Before writing Black Moss, David got a commission from a publisher to write “a big book about historic abuse – involving government, MPs, media, celebrities” – but several months later, the publishers contacted him to say they didn’t want him to write it after all.
He said: “In fact, they gave me money not to write it. I was really angry. So I started writing. And I thought you know all that other stuff I was going to put in that book? I could sling it in this book. And then I could pretend it’s a crime thriller.”
And the author revealed to the My Generation Book Club members that the novel closely mirrors real-life. David has gone to great lengths to ensure accuracy, whether it’s about police procedure, the relationships between journalists and the authorities, or historical and geographical details. He even revealed that the book also includes details of his own experiences of abuse.
Nolan said: “A teacher at my old school was done for historic sex abuse. He was charged with abusing me along with lots of other people. But I withdrew my evidence so that I could follow the case through court.
“Nearly everything Black Moss really happened in one way or another. The characters – from the police officers to the journalists – are based on real people, and the police procedures at that time are featured in the book – particularly the way the system dealt with missing children.”
Altrincham Word Festival is hosting a free-to-attend evening with David Nolan on October 1, where he will reveal his plans for his second novel. People can register for the event here.
The Book Club will meet every month. There are still three funded spaces available to join our next meeting, which will be held at the end of October.
Email email@example.com to reserve your place and claim your free book.