Fireworks set off by Rodge novel

Jewish Telegraph, June 2005

UNLIKE the title of his debut novel, author Rodge Glass has been causing fireworks.
The former North Cheshire Primary School pupil caused a publishing frenzy when he completed the first draft of No Fireworks.
“I sent the first 10,000 words to three agent,” Gatley-born Rodge said. “Jenny Brown of the Scottish Arts Council was impressed and agreed to take me on.
“After every 10,000 words, we’d meet up and talk about it. We sent the first draft to a number of publishers. Faber and Faber made an offer for far more than I thought I would get.
“Other publishers were interested but the Faber deal was the best. No matter how rational I was trying to be, I didn’t think anyone would want it.”
The 27-year-old, who now lives in Glasgow, has also signed a deal with Bloomsbury for an authorised biography of Scottish writer and artist Alistair Gray.
“He was my tutor at university for a while,” Rodge said. “And I have worked with him on different projects. He taught me how to write.”
Rodge, whose younger brother Tim works for Sky Sports, read English at Strathclyde University where he penned a collection of short stories for his dissertation. His tutors recommended that he take a MPhil in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.
One of his tutors was James Calman, a Booker Prize winner.
No Fireworks follows 61-year-old alcoholic Abe Stone, three times divorced with a Henry VIII obsession.
The book starts with the funeral of Abe’s mother Evelyn. But when he starts to receive letters from her, he is thrown into a late-stage identity crisis.
He said: “There is quite a bit of the South Manchester Jewish community there mixed with my own imagination.
“Most writers will use something close to their heart for their first novel. Now I have got it out of my system.
“My next fiction book doesn’t have so much of a Jewish theme. Two people who meet on the internet lock themselves in a room.
“They’ve seen enough of the outside world to know they want nothing else to do with it.”
Of the reaction so far to No Fireworks, Rodge said: “Everything I’m doing is a pleasant surprise. Orders have been really good. No one has written anything nasty about it yet.”
Rodge is holding two launches for the book. The first, which is sold out, will be at Waterstone’s Bookshop in Manchester on Wednesday, July 6, with the second one in Glasgow the following day.
Roger, the son of Martin Glass and Pam Roberts of Gatley, will also be appearing at the Edinburgh Festival.
“Manchester is very important to me,” he said. “The book is set close to where I grew up. The characters came from what I saw in Manchester when growing up.
“Manchester is the central point that all my family returns to.”

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Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories