3.78 (9 ratings by Goodreads)
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This collection of prize-winning stories represent major high-points from Alex Keegan's early years as a short-story writer. These stories will stay with you, make you return and look behind the words, for what is quietly waiting.

A father knowing he has little time left, takes his children to Disney; a writer sits and drinks tea with a bastard relation; a family tries to recover from a daughter's mutilation; a proud Welshman faces death to watch three grandsons at the game; a terrorist and his victim are trapped underground, talking in the dark; a too-beautiful young man tries to understand his life; an ageing teacher meets his protege and aches for what was missed; a band of limbless soldiers run a marathon for charity; a hopelessly unlucky cuckold has one more try; a barwoman is romanced over ten years; all these stories and more, some uplifting, some painful, all delivered with often brilliant touches of language, will enchant and educate.

A superb resource for teaching creative writing, this collection illustrates exactly what is required to win writing competitions in the UK and overseas.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 12mm | 208.65g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • No
  • 1844714772
  • 9781844714773
  • 3,316,053

Table of contents


Miguel Who Cuts Down Trees

The Smell of Almond Polish

Mother, Questions

Green Glass

L for Laura; L for Love

An Old Man Watching Football After Sunday Lunch

The Fucking Point Two


Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet & Watch

The Last Love Letter of Berwyn Philip Price

The Bastard William Williams

The Quarry

Postcards from Balloon Land

Tomatoes, Flamingos, Lemmings

Meredith Toop Evans and His Butty, Ernest Jones

Happy as Larry

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Review quote

Lots of energy... deserving of applause * Literary Review * Keegan writes with wit and energy * London Evening Standard * `The Smell of Almond Polish' is a story which is incredibly understated, yet which carries with it a vast understory. The writing is clear and uncluttered, starting with a journey, and following the fortunes of Bridie Collins who simply gets jobs, does rather well, then returns home again. The author never tells us why she leaves her family, or what is actually going on in her life, yet the story is tender and painful.

I know there will be sighs of frustration that Alex Keegan is on the list again and has taken first prize again but judge on the quality of writing and the underlying power. -- Zoe King * Buzzwords Prize * (on `The Last Love Letter of Berwyn Price) A story of a life contained in just two and a quarter thousand beautifully-chosen words, a perfectly balanced vignette which should not only grace the programme for every forthcoming Welsh international but should earn its place in any proper anthology of short stories. -- Charlotte Bingham * Bridport Prize *
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About Alex Keegan

Alex Keegan began writing seriously in 1992, publishing 5 mystery novels before switching to serious short fiction. He has been published widely in print and on the web and been awarded more than a dozen first prizes for his fiction as well as three Bridport Prizes. Born in Wales with an Irish mother, he now lives and writes in Newbury, England where he lives with his second wife and two teenage children. He runs a tough internet writing school, "Boot Camp Keegan".
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Rating details

9 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 56% (5)
4 11% (1)
3 11% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 22% (2)
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