Dialogue buys 'state of the nation' stories by debut author Ben Halls

Dialogue buys 'state of the nation' stories by debut author Ben Halls

Dialogue has bought a “state of the nation” collection of interconnected short stories set on a west London housing estate from debut author Ben Halls.

Publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove acquired world rights for The Quarry from Cara Lee Simpson at Jonathan Clowes. It will be published in hardback and e-book on 6th February 2020.

Halls’ stories follow characters on the fictional, working class, Quarry Lane estate. The synopsis explains: "The characters and settings reappear as themes of ambition, addiction and social mobility are examined in this state-of-the-nation book. The stories focus on a diverse collection of working class men and consider the concept of masculinity in a world where gender and gender roles are being revolutionised. These stories follow everyday men: the guy stocking the shelves at a local supermarket, the doorman keeping order at the local pub on a Friday night. The Quarry considers how ideas of masculinity affect them, for better or for worse.”

Lovegrove said: “Ben Halls and The Quarry came to me long before I started my imprint Dialogue Books and given its brilliance and perception now feels like the right time to publish this collection. Ben’s candid, urgent and evocative exploration of the lives of a range of nuanced characters who are often hidden from literature is a beacon of Dialogue’s cultural relevance and our commitment to publish voices that should be heard in this political climate.”

Halls added: “The stories in The Quarry are deeply personal to me; they are made up of the parts of the male experience – from either people I have known, or within myself – which we still don’t speak about. There is no publisher I would trust to tell these stories with other than Dialogue Books. Sharmaine Lovegrove is an absolute rock star, and I look forward to repaying the immense faith that she and her team have shown in me by helping me to share such hidden stories as readers journey to the Quarry Lane Estate.”

The Quarry is a beautiful and at times harrowing collection of stories exploring complex understandings of masculinity that a group of men must negotiate in one working class town,” said Simpson. “We are very excited about working with Dialogue to bring this to a wide readership, and to open up the conversation about the difficulties that men face under such conditions.”