Bexhill author pens thriller novel while recovering from crash

Paul Read
Paul Read

A Bexhill-born author who was inspired to put pen to paper after breaking both his legs in a hit-and-run has had his novel published.

Paul Read, 37, was confined to a wheelchair for two months and decided to write The Art Teacher while recovering from the road accident, which took place in London a few years ago.

He used his teaching experience in the city to craft the story of a secondary school teacher drawn into a war with his own pupils.

The book starts with the shocking line, ‘Patrick Owen managed seven years at Highfields Secondary School without punching a pupil in the face’.

The novel has just been published by Legend Press and is described as ‘superb… gritty, disturbing and pacy’ by After Anna author Alex Lake.

The publisher has also bought rights to Paul’s second novel, Blame, which will be published next year.

Paul said: “The first draft of The Art Teacher was written quickly, in the aftermath of my road accident in 2012 in Crouch End, London. The driver didn’t stop after speeding round the corner and breaking both my legs. He didn’t even have his lights on.

“But I bear no malice towards whoever it was, as I got to spend a lot of time with my son, who was only one at the time, and of course I got plenty of time to write with six months off work.

“I ended up being grateful for the experience, though I don’t think my partner was too happy with, essentially, two children to look after for a while.

“I showed my gratitude in the end, by asking her to marry me in the book’s dedication page. She said yes, so I guess this particular story has a happy ending.

“I had written a couple of novels before this one, and completed an MA in creative writing, but decided it was time to write something about life as a teacher, with all the classroom banter and staffroom anecdotes I’d experienced over the years.

“As I was writing what I thought was a fairly literary piece I noticed that quite a taut, dark crime thriller was revealing itself instead, with plenty of twists and turns.

“The book is about a teacher pushed too far, who ends up making a desperate but very poor decision which comes back to haunt him.

“It’s entirely fictional, but more than one person has asked if it’s autobiographical, which is fair enough as I used to be an art teacher myself. Rest assured, it isn’t.”

Paul was raised in Sidley, attending All Saints’, King Offa, Bexhill High and Bexhill College, and has also lived in Canterbury in Kent London and Naples, Italy, where he currently lives for most of the year with his partner and their two children.

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