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Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2019.
'Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I'm giving it to EVERYONE, and I want to appear clever and discerning.' - Dawn French
It's January 1st and Brian Bilston's life needs to change. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a motivational speaker and marketing guru to boot; he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son; and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon.
Brian's resolution is to write a poem every day; poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle to his happiness in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis in the Poetry Group and rival suitor to Liz, Brian's new poetic inspiration. When Toby goes missing, Brian is the number one suspect.
Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is a unique, original and hilarious novel.
'Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year.' - Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt.
Brian Bilston is clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery.
He has been described as the Banksy of poetry and Twitter's unofficial Poet Laureate. With over 50,000 followers, numbering J. K. Rowling, Roger McGough and Frank Cottrell Boyce amongst many, many other luminaries, Brian has become truly beloved by the Twitter community. His first collection, You Took the Last Bus Home, was published by Unbound.
He won the Great British Write Off competition in 2015 - and was the Poet in Residence for the World Economic Forum in 2016. There have been features on him on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the BBC news website, the Irish Times, the Independent and the Smithsonian Magazine. Most of these features seem to have largely centred around his pipe.
Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I'm giving it to EVERYONE
Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year.
Achingly funny. Without doubt it should win next year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for the best comic novel, even if my own novel is in contention as well
If you like a) laughing or b) words which rhyme with each other, you will love Brian Bilston
Not since Victoria Wood has a writer squeezed so much hilarity from a biscuit.
How do I laugh at thee? Let me count the ways . . . If you like sub-Carry On puns, clever parodies of famous poems and Wittgensteinian meditations on language, you'll love it
Mail on Sunday
The midlife answer to Adrian Mole? It's a big comparison to make, in comic novel terms, but Brian Bilston - parodist and 'poet laureate of Twitter'- is worthy . . . Laugh. Cry. Cringe.
Stella Magazine, Sunday Telegraph
He has a knack for playing with language but his poems are accessible, witty and touching . .
. In fact I rather regretted reading it over just a couple of days - it would have been better to take longer and saver it.
The Scotsman Magazine - Kirsty McLuckie
A welcome reminder of the joy to be had when you put yourself in the hands of someone who knows their way round both a joke and a bittersweet narrative . . . Funny and ingenious
In a similar way to Morrissey and John Cooper Clarke, [Bilston] has the ability to make the mundane both funny and beautiful - whether that's taking out the bins or procrastinating on Twitter . . . A must-read for anyone who is a fan of wordplay, puns, The Smiths and custard creams.
Irish News - Dominic Kearney
The English comic novel, whose death this year was announced prematurely, is actually alive, well and in the safe hands of Brian Bilston
The Times - Jonathan Coe
Highly original, genuinely funny and clever, with a gentle humanity in between the lines.
Brian Bilston should be Poet Laureate
Bilston is the greatest English anti-hero of our time. His poems have delighted people on Twitter for several years, and now he's treated us to this brilliant novel . . . This book has everything you want from a comic novel . . . Brian Bilston is real. And I love him
The pseudonymous Brian Bilston turns the base metal of comic verse into gold . . . Imagine a mash-up of John Cooper Clarke, Ed Reardon's Week and James Joyce, and you're about halfway there . . . Bilston is a magician with words . . . Read this novel in short bursts, pausing to savour its individual brilliancies
Brian Bilston is bringing poetry to the masses . . . topical, witty, thoughtful
Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes
One of the funniest novels in years . . . It also has genuine heart - and scores of poems so witty and accomplished that, in the real world, their author would surely be as famous as, well . . . I predict that Brian Bilston will soon be
Part John Cooper Clarke, part Frank Sidebottom . . . brilliant
Bilston is no stranger to crafting cleverly composed poetry
Word play, laugh-out-loud poems and the deft skewering of office life are part of the fun in this brilliant comic debut.
Sunday Express - Eithne Farry
In 1892, George and Weedon Grossmith published The Diary of a Nobody, now a classic of comic writing. In 1978, Christopher Matthew updated the idea. Now Brian Bilston brings us another Diary of a Somebody and it's as fun as its predecessors.
Daily Express - William Hartston