About the Author


 Jeff Phelps's stories and poetry have been widely published, notably in London Magazine and in Critical Quarterly. In 1991 he was overall winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Fay Weldon described his story as 'an intensely attractive piece of writing'.

In 2000 he won second prize in the Stand Open Poetry Competition with his poem, River Passage. It was published as a booklet in 2002 with illustrations by Jayne Gaze and produced as a CD with piano music by Dan Phelps in 2010 as one of the first productions by Offa's Press.

His first novel, Painter Man, described by Booker shortlisted novelist Clare Morrall as 'intelligent and impressive', was published in May 2005. His second, Box of Tricks with its 'Seaside theatricals in all their seedy, flamboyant, tawdry, extravagant, innocent and heartbreaking glory' (Robert Edric) came out in July 2009. Shropshire Review commended its 'Chekhovian ability to create an internal world where the lives of everyday people are as important and compelling as those of the heroes, the captains and the kings'. Both novels are published by Tindal Street Press.

His play Sea View, co-written with Nick Daws, was staged in Stellenbosch, South Africa in January 2010.  For  two years from 1988 - 1990 he was co-editor with the poet Roger Pearson of the literary magazine, Nutshell. He currently appears with musician Dan Phelps and poet Simon Fletcher in Severn Spirit, an entertainment about the River Severn.

Jeff has made many appearances reading and discussing his fiction and poetry. Bridgnorth Writers' Group, which remains one of the most active and creative groups in the region was founded by him in 1991. He has been running workshops and courses since 1990. He is married with two grown-up children and lives in Shropshire.

Find out more about Jeff at his website: http://www.jeffphelps.co.uk  



 Examples of Work

Haste to the Wedding 

(dance tune - trad.)

They hoist her up, the new bride,

and parade her round at shoulder height.

It's part of their Morris ceremony -

old and borrowed, the halting, skipping steps,

the jumps and cracking of sticks

stout enough to break knuckles.

A piece of bark comes flying off.

It's a joke, that's all,

a jingling end to the afternoon, a climax.

She whoops, astonished

at the view from up here - the pub yard,

the gawping father, the pie-stuffed page boy,

the town and all the future laid out before her.

There with pint glass to his lips

her new husband manages only 

a nervous laugh, adjusts his carnation

as she is swept away

still waving, like a surfer

caught by some cross-tide,

far from land.


View from out here

To the east, uphill,

the edge of the town, waist-high grass,

a belt of oak and sweet chestnut.

To the north, between houses,

the tip of the Wrekin

and west at eye level, Telford's church,

the town piled up like russet bricks,

the Clees, clear and signalling

imminent rain.

A better view is hard to imagine.

Here at the intersection

of ley lines and lines of sight,

a place to sit and do nothing,

a better place to write.