Thursday 30 March 2023

Joe Bedford, "A Bad Decade for Good People"

Congratulations to Joe Bedford, University of Leicester PhD Creative Writing student, whose debut novel, A Bad Decade for Good People, is going to be published by Parthian Books in June 2023!

Joe Bedford, photograph by Deborah Thwaites

Joe Bedford is an award-winning author from Doncaster, UK. His short fiction has been published widely and has won numerous prizes including the Leicester Writes Prize 2022. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Leicester. A complete history of his publications and awards, with links to published stories, is available on his website here. His debut novel A Bad Decade for Good People is available to pre-order now here.

About A Bad Decade for Good People
This is a fiercely hopeful novel about family, sexuality, grief and how we as individuals can rediscover our political agency in the face of continued uncertainty.

Brighton, 2016. Laurie wears the scar given to her by a policeman’s baton as a mark of pride among her circle of bright young activists. Her conscionable but sensitive brother George should be a part of that circle, until the appearance of enigmatic Spanish migrant Antonio threatens to divert him from his sister’s world of marches and moral accountability.

As the clouds gather over Brighton and the EU referendum accelerates both Laurie’s political zeal and Antonio’s ambiguous desires, George is faced with the fact that their city of parties and protests is suddenly a place where the possibility of saving the world – as well as the people around him – is in jeopardy of being lost forever.

At once a letter of support to everyone disillusioned by British politics, and a deeply perceptive snapshot of modern relationships, A Bad Decade for Good People is a captivating state-of-the-nation tale that begs the question: when it feels like the world is falling apart, how do you keep those you love from doing the same?

From A Bad Decade for Good People, by Joe Bedford
If the policeman’s baton had found Laurie half an inch lower she would be blind in one eye. Instead it left her with a long, crescent-shaped scar, which she wore like a medal, never hiding it and never knowing how it made my stomach flip. Every time I saw it I had to shake off the memory of her blood running down over her eyelids and onto her jacket, and afterwards the stitching and the gooey rivets it left behind and the halo of yellow bruising that hung around the socket for weeks. 

Her scar was all I could see while she pleaded with me by the side of the road, until we were lit in the headlights of Dad’s car and then running, slipping, gripping each other’s clothes in the ditch. I remember the sound of Dad’s voice carrying over the hum of the engine, the faint warmth coming through Laurie ’s jacket as she held me, the smell of mud and silage. The hills opposite looked like the silhouette of a man sleeping on his side, cut against the stars – the kind of thing you notice at midnight in the countryside, with someone who makes you feel as though things could be better. That and the raw feeling that your failure isn’t yet total but just another blip in time, waiting to pass.

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