Read: Watch This Space Martin Patrick

Watch this space introduces new faces and new voices. This month we meet author Dr Martin Patrick

B: Hi Martin, where are you from?

M: London. My parents were born in Jamaica and came to Britain in the early 1950s

B: So what’s new?

M: My novel, LOVE BOTH WAYS is coming out January 31st 2017 which is thrilling.

B: How long have you been writing?

M: For over 25 years

B: What got you started?

M: As a boy, I loved telling grown-ups about events and people’s personalities at school. I could hold a room full of ‘big people’ aka adults, spellbound through spoken word, vocal control, story, plot points, character details and suspense. As a teenager, I read 100s of novels and plays. I then wrote short stories. When I travelled from New York to California for the first time, I started a travel dairy. This further convinced me I could translate everyday life into dramatic stories. I went to university and studied Drama and Visual Arts. In 1985 I entered a Channel 4 script writing competition and became the runner-up. After that, I wrote my debut play WHERE TO NOW in 1987 and that’s when I was utterly convinced I was a writer because I studied my craft diligently.

B: Why do you think telling our stories is important?

M: Storytelling is a primal form of narration, based on things we see, feel, experience, dread, yearn, need, and aspire to. As a Black British novelist, I am acutely aware of the absence of published Black British men who can tell people about the experiences we are living through as men. It is all the more imperative that we have Black gay men’s published work. Social media recycles distorted and pornographic myths about us, and I reject being branded with the pathological myth that asserts we are depraved. I am so proud to be a Black man of intelligent humanity and romance.  Life doesn’t exist if there are no words to recount what truthfully happened to us. That is why all human experience is communicated through storytelling: politics, psychology, philosophy, history and everyday experiences all come to life through storytelling.

B: What book do you think everyone should read?

M: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Penguin, 1965/2007, UK

B: What advice would you give to Black gay men who want to start writing?

M: Find a consultant, tutor or mentor to help you. I always work through identity and sexual politics with new writers. By employing an active analysis of their heritage, their obsessions and inspirations I have seen some writers start and finish their work and deeply discover themselves in the process. I then teach them how to deal with ‘ignorant’ agents, how to shut out the negative voices and how to be a professional. You must understand what it takes to succeed!  Strength, faith and confidence are vital!

B: How can people get hold of your new book?

M: Online through Amazon or in all good bookshops including Waterstones, WH Smiths and Foyles .

B: What’s next for you?

M: I have to put in the hard work to bring LOVE BOTH WAYS to a worldwide audience of free-thinking readers who like romance and sexual politics in narrative fiction. I counsel and tutor aspiring LGBT writers because I have over 25 years of teaching drama and creative writing to undergrads and post-grads. Now I’m focused on inviting gay men to come to Great New Writers, to learn from a practitioner who writes bestselling books.

B: 1 word answer:

M: Superstar!

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