Who runs may read (and who reads may run…)

Do you know where the quote ‘who runs may read’ comes from? Apart from Chris, that is, where I got it!

My new novel In the Long Run has certainly hit its stride now with good reviews on Amazon, invitations to book clubs and healthy sales, including some that are finding their way into Christmas stockings. And the 2019 London Marathon is on the horizon, bringing back nostalgic memories for me of competing in it in the 1980/90s. It was much easier to write about it than to run in it!

Chris’s new book (‘The Trouble with Monsters’) – out soon!

Here’s the jacket copy for my new book, coming out in a few weeks:

These poems take aim at some monsters of our present bad times, among them Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May, George Osborne, Benjamin Netanyahu, and assorted hangers-on. These politicians act as if they have said to themselves, like Milton’s Satan, ‘Evil, be thou my good’. They are held to account here in verse-forms that are tight and sharply focused despite the intense pressure of feeling behind them. The satire is unsparing and the dominant tone one of anger mixed with sorrow and a vivid sense of the evils and suffering brought about by corruptions of political office. The influence of Brecht is visible throughout, as is that of W.H. Auden’s mordant verse-commentary on politics and culture in the 1930s, along with the great eighteenth-century verse-satirists Dryden, Pope and Swift.

Norris leaves the reader in no doubt that we now face a global and domestic neo-fascist resurgence that won’t be defeated unless by concerted action on the part of left activists across borders of every sort.

If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We’d see the horror in the heart of farce,
If only we could act instead of talking,
We wouldn’t always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
Don’t yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

(Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,

trans. George Tabori)




Hello and welcome to Norris Writing.

I was delighted when my novel, In the Long Run, was recently accepted for publication by Cambria Books. During my career as a Materials Engineer and academic I had published five textbooks and many scientific papers, but this was different. Conjuring up and crafting this story, and breathing life into its characters, was something I was doing purely for my own pleasure and gratification. It was a huge thrill when the book was validated by a respected publisher agreeing to publish it.

The idea for the book was generated by the good advice ‘when you start writing, write about what you know.’ So what did I know about? I came up with marathon running, death (I’m a volunteer with Cruse Bereavement Care) and pubs. Add in the complexities of relationships and it seemed that In the Long Run was born.