Chapter & Verse Blog
The Manchester Literature Festival Blog
Up Close with David Peace
In a preview event for this autumn’s Manchester Literature Festival, David Peace visited National Football Museum to talk to author and DJ Dave Haslam about his latest novel, Red or Dead, which follows the life of Liverpool FC managerial legend, Bill Shankly.
Dave Haslam took to the stage and the evening began with a short film, Bill Shankly – in his own words. Peace provided the audience with a reading from Red or Dead, ‘in Shankly’s voice’, as David put it, ‘but with a Yorkshire accent.’ Hearing Red or Dead read aloud makes it easier to understand the way in which Peace has approached the book. For those who haven’t read it yet, Red or Dead is written in a highly individual style in which Peace repeats words and sentences purposely to evoke the way that Bill Shankly interacted with his colleagues, the players, and his family.
The conversation began, and Haslam jumped straight in with football: “So David, tell us about Red or Dead. You weren’t a Liverpool FC fan as a child?” To which Peace replied: “nor as an adult”. David Peace is a Huddersfield Town FC fan, and Bill Shankly was Huddersfield Town manager from 1956 until 1959 when he was scouted by then Liverpool Chairman, Tom Williams.
Haslam asked Peace if he thought any Premier League footballers will read the book, to which Peace wittily replied, “Maybe, injured players with a lot of time on their hands!”
“Would you ever consider writing a book about the Hillsborough disaster?”, one audience member asked. Peace took a deep breath before answering: “Short reply, no. I don’t know how I could convey what pain those families will have been through in words, and the story is still unfolding.”
Another audience member asked whether Peace has thought about writing another book about Brian Clough, this time during his highly successful reign at Nottingham Forrest FC, where Clough won 4 League Cups and 2 consecutive European Cups. “I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already,” Peace said. “For me, what Clough did at Forrest was the greatest achievement in domestic football. I don’t think I will do it, but someone should.”
Peace talked about his family and mentioned how he would video call his parents, reading his latest passages to his father for approval. He is clearly a family man, still in touch with his roots in Yorkshire.
“What’s next? Another football manager?” another audience member asked. “Never say never,” Peace said, “but my first priority is to finish the third Tokyo book.”
With that, the evening drew to a close and David signed copies of Red or Dead in the bookstore towards the back of the National Football Museum. Close Up with David Peace was a sell-out event, and a great taste of things to come within the Manchester Literature Festival.
You can read Jason Cooke's pre-event interview with David Peace on Humanities' Hallows. And writer Fran Slater also published a great post about the David Peace event on his blog, Words Without Reason.