March 13, 2009

RIDING HIGH:

David Peace, author of Red Riding and The Damned United: profile (Daily Telegraph, 13 Mar 2009)

Few authors can claim to have invented a new genre of fiction, but David Peace is one of them. With "Yorkshire Noir" - his particular fictional take on Leeds and its environs in the Seventies and Eighties - Peace is currently dominating not just the bestseller lists, but also the television schedules and cinema listings.

Peace is most famous for his Red Riding Quartet of novels which, confusingly, have been made into a trilogy of single films by Channel 4. Each of the four books - Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Seventy-Seven, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty-Three - is set in the year of its title, with a loose narrative thread of police corruption in the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police running through the whole series. The TV adaptations (which finish this coming Thursday) have been a critical and ratings success, with critics already nodding towards next year's Baftas.

In two weeks, the controversial film of Peace's book The Damned United, about Brian Clough, will open in cinemas. [...]

The television adaptations of Red Riding have attracted some of British television's most achingly hip talent, from director James Marsh (who won an Oscar for the documentary Man on Wire) to actor Andrew Garfield, who won a Bafta for another Channel 4 project, Boy A. Nineteen Eighty-Three, which will be shown on Thursday, stars David Morrissey, Saskia Reeves and Daniel Mays. Marsh describes Peace's prose as "extraordinary".

To train himself to write well, Peace says that he sits with books by his favourite authors and literally copy-types passages from them. He says that he is influenced by American crime writer James Ellroy, as well as Northern writers such as Alan Sillitoe and Stan Barstow. His own style became increasingly quirky through the four Red Riding books, to the extent that Channel 4 is rumoured to have found Nineteen Seventy-Seven too hard to adapt for the small screen.


The first came off as a less coherent version of the excellent Zodiac. The second is available at The Box today.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2009 7:25 AM
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