12 Miles Out
Thursday 6 Dec: 8.00pm
The Phoenix Artist Club
1 Phoenix St London
12 Miles Out was chosen by David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) as the winner of the
Fish Unpublished Novel Award.
12 Miles Out is a love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening.
Lee Snowball, a pirate DJ on a ship moored off Liverpool, loses his job when the station turns legit and comes ashore. With his relationship falling apart, and a child on the way, Lee sails to Africa with the ship on a mission to end apartheid. But the ship’s new owners have other ideas, and the crew become embroiled in the conflict in Sierra Leone when the hidden cargo is revealed.
Lee's story of struggle and hope is intertwined with the story of his ancestry - the earliest black settlers in Europe, ex-slaves who, in exchange for freedom, fought in the British army during the American War of Independence, and were settled in Liverpool.
"There were times when writing the book, I wondered if the dialogue was too direct, the reaction to a mixed race couple too extreme. We now live in what is considered to be a multicultural society. Race is no longer thought to be to an issue but the fact is, there is nothing that is written in this fiction that was not said to my wife and I. My mother – on whom the character of Angela’s mother, Jean, is based - really did demand to know why we were risking a relationship which would result in children being born “with the additional burden of growing up half-cast.” An elderly lady on a bus really did turn round and declare – apropos of nothing - that “doves and crows don’t go.” More over, Lee’s feeling over the decision to abort a life that would have grown to adulthood, are my own."