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Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In the most controversial year in the history of the Man Booker Prize comes a book certain to add fuel to the fire. How To Be A Public Author will take the debate to another level. It will get everyone talking – and laughing – even more about Britain’s biggest annual book bonanza.

Francis Plug is a troubled and often drunk misfit who causes chaos and confusion wherever he g
Paperback, 290 pages
Published September 2014 by Galley Beggar Press
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Dec 17, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
The Man Booker Prize winners are the who's who of literacy world. They include names such as Peter Carey, J.M. Coetzee and Yann Martel. Well know we may be adding a new name to this list, Francis Plug, who despite the small fact that he has yet to write a book is adamant he will be joining the author elite. In order to achieve this goal the gardener and wanna be writer will travel the length and breadth of the UK attending speeches and book signing from his idols. Now if only he could remember ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Perhaps, with his literary credentials, together with his wild rock ‘n’ roll ways, Nick Cave is the perfect blueprint for the novelist of the future; quiet, solitary and disciplined, yet loud, crowd-pleasing and mental.”

How To Be A Public Author by Francis Plug is the first novel by New Zealand-born author, Paul Ewen. Gardener and would-be author, Francis Plug has decided to share knowledge he has gleaned from attendance at author events of Booker Prize-winning writers, collating “a rich mine o
Jan 21, 2015 Leonie rated it it was amazing
Funny but watching Plug descend (ascend?) into madness is a little unnerving for the prospective public author...
Iain Martin
Jun 28, 2015 Iain Martin rated it really liked it
listen to my review at
Jackie Law
Nov 03, 2014 Jackie Law rated it really liked it
Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author, by Paul Ewen, is unlike any other book I have ever read. Full of humour, pathos and insightful observations on the literati, it is a book that should appeal to all who are interested in successful writers and the world that they inhabit.

It tells the tale of Francis Plug, an aspiring author with a vivid imagination. He is often drunk, meaning that it can be hard to tell at times how much of what he sees is real. This book is his attempt at offering fellow
Jan 11, 2015 Julie rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed with this. Leafing through it in the bookshop, it seemed to promise insight into the mind of a compulsive reader and the whole process of the Booker Prize, together with plenty of laughs along the way. In reality it proved to be a mildly amusing (at first) comic novel which gradually turned in to an increasingly deranged story of alcohol-fuelled self delusion, with any attempt at storytelling receding into the background. The laughs became more and more forced until ...more
Stephen Fitzsimons
This book takes you into the world of Booker prize winners and author events, seen through the eyes of a rather inebriated guide, Francis Plug. Full of wit and surreal humour, this will have you laughing out loud.
Djk Media
Jan 28, 2015 Djk Media rated it really liked it
I snuffled and snorted and hurrumphed and guffawed my way through this book and had a pretty good time of it.

Francis Plug is a character most people (at least middle-class, law-abiding citizens who consider themselves 'upright', which tends to describe the type of people who attend author 'events')probably don't want to meet in real life...although there are plenty like him.

He reminds me of my younger, more daring self who did some pretty amazingly horrific things at various film industry parti
Aug 15, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This may be the funniest book I've ever read; I certainly can't think of another that had me stopping so often to laugh. It's a catalog of narrator Francis Plug's attendance at readings and lectures by Booker Prize winners, and those invariably wine-soaked misadventures are absurd and hilarious. But the novel is much more than "just" funny as it punctures the bubbles of pretension and illusion that insulate the cult of the "literary author" (the chapters recounting Francis' visit to the Hay ...more
Robert Ronsson
Feb 11, 2015 Robert Ronsson rated it really liked it
All we wannabe writers are delusional aren't we? We toil away crafting and polishing prose that, if we're lucky, is destined to be read only by our put-upon relatives and friends. We snarl at 'slebs' who waltz past the slush-piles where our masterworks languish. We're angry about a literary establishment that rewards its golden children while we whimper unloved, unwanted and untended in our orphanage dormitories - hundreds upon thousands of us.
So it's easy to sympathise with author-manqué Franci
Feb 25, 2015 Catherine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
As a former UEA-er, I liked this bit--

Prior to my arrival, I was half expecting to find the whole campus on fire, because the University of East Anglia is famed for its creative writing school and you'd expect those young writers to be fuelled with outrage given the state of the world and the injustices perpetuated by the greedy bankers. But instead, the place is just filled with little fluffy rabbits.

--because a) true and b) like a lot of this book, it's kind of funny but it's also kind of depr
Jan 14, 2015 Shruti rated it liked it
Great concept and beautiful peek into the fast deteriorating mind of a delusional alcoholic. I wish he had kept some of the tightness of the first few chapers because the shtick got old towards the end of the book... And I just wanted it to end by the time I got to Coetzee. Francis was relatable in the beginning and then just got super strange (except the quips on Naipaul. I think THAT was on target)

The book could have been so much more.
Apr 12, 2015 Deaddad rated it liked it
A clever conceit for a book that early on veers away from being a 'guide' to become a surreal and alcohol-fuelled farce. Francis Plug - part-time gardener, full-time drinker - and his drunken reporting of Booker Prize author's reading events is a hoot. Authors are not the target of comedy here but the narrator himself, a great comic grotesque. Not to be taken too seriously but hugely enjoyable and demented fun.
Karina Almeroth
Jan 15, 2015 Karina Almeroth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny-haha
Oh FUCK THIS WAS FUNNY!!!! I would be reading along, quite serious like, and all of a sudden be shouting in laughter. Literally, you go from silently reading to HA HA HA HA!!! outloud. I have never had that experience before!! I've laughed on the inside reading, or chuckled, but this was laughing OUTLOUD. Very, very funny.
Juha Virkki
Dec 26, 2014 Juha Virkki rated it liked it
Riittävän kirjallinen, muttei lopultakaan kovin hauska. Harhaisen, alkoholisoituneen wannabe-kirjailijan seikkailut Booker-palkittujen signeeraustilaisuuksissa tarjoaa muutaman irtohymähdyksen ja nytkäyttää pariin kertaan "juonta" taitavasti. Parin brittikirjailijan mielestä vuoden hauskin kirja. Ehkä huumorintajuni ei sittenkään ole peribrittiläinen?
Kyle Hoekstra
Dec 03, 2015 Kyle Hoekstra rated it really liked it
"Francis Plug: [Tap, tap of microphone.] Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?"

Charming. Plug is a good character. He's insane, sweet and silly, like his book. Also sad: Plug's book sometimes evokes the riffled pages of a notebook from a sometimes unhappy and frustrated pursuit.

"But so what? I've written a book. Almost. You bloody idiots!"
Natalie H
Aug 29, 2015 Natalie H rated it it was ok
I'm not sure if I found this book hilarious or devastatingly sad or perhaps just a bit of both. It was certainly very clever. The photos of the book signings at the beginning of each chapter were a great touch and I'd love to know if the other authors were in on the story when they signed them.
Richard Baum
Nov 23, 2014 Richard Baum rated it really liked it
This is proper side-splitting funny. I can't remember a book that made me laugh this hard since Wilt. It's equal parts surreal, stupid and sad, but every dumb page is redeemed by the hilarity of the narrator's increasingly drunk encounters with Booker Prize winners.
May 09, 2016 Caroline rated it liked it
A really refreshing and original premise. I found myself immediately fascinated by Francis Plug but he lost me a little halfway through. The depths of surrealism because a little too much for me and I found myself yearning for the last chapter.
Aug 11, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest books I have ever read. Also one of the saddest books I have ever read. How to be a Public Author is a book that all writers and readers need to read.
Tony Mcgowan
Apr 06, 2016 Tony Mcgowan rated it really liked it
Extremely funny. Perhaps loses its way a little towards the end, but some of the set-pieces are exquisite. Heartily recommend.
Nov 11, 2015 Preti rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest books I've read for a very long time. Tragic and wise with flashes of brilliance. If you've ever been to an author event, chances are it's in this book.
Matthew Parker
Oct 24, 2014 Matthew Parker rated it it was ok
The ending is wonderful, but the rest is pretty heavy going, with the humour very strained at points. Not sure why it got the reviews it did
Sep 15, 2015 Julian rated it it was amazing
I have just put down what may well be the funniest book I've ever read.

Funnier than The Restraint of Beasts.

Funnier than Kill your Friends.

That funny.

That is all.
May 29, 2015 Meri rated it did not like it
The book didn't deliver what the backcover blurb promised. While it had a few amusing moments, it fell dead as a doornail like a badly deliver joke.
Feb 09, 2015 Luke rated it really liked it
Laugh out loud funny in a cringey way, but then it felt like i was laughing at a bloke breakdown. Unnerving in the end, but top notch stuff.
Ray Else
May 10, 2016 Ray Else rated it really liked it
A curious, very British book about a witty drunk who writes a kind of travelogue of book signings all over England. Brilliant in spots.
Mugren Al-Ohaly
May 29, 2015 Mugren Al-Ohaly rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
An alcoholic asshole goes to author events to abuse the free wine table and to get a book signed. In no way is any of it funny. If you've read one chapter, you've read them all.
Simon rated it really liked it
May 07, 2016
Lizzie rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2015
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Paul Ewen is a New Zealand writer based in south London. In NZ his work has been published in Landfall and Sport, and in the UK his stories have appeared in the British Council’s New Writing anthology (edited by Ali Smith and Toby Litt), and also in the Times Higher Education Supplement and Tank magazine. He has written for Dazed & Confused, and is a regular contributor to Hamish Hamilton’s ...more
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“As with so many other author events, there's no great desire for promptness. Punctuation, it seems, is left to the editors.” 0 likes
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