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Author's regret at controversy of Clough book

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 06, 2014

David Peace will be at Quad, discussing his writing with Radio Derby journalist Andy Potter.

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DAVID PEACE, author of the controversial novel, The Damned United comes to Quad in Derby next week with, he says, feelings of regret that his book caused upset to the Clough family.

The book – also made into a film – was inspired by Brian Clough's turbulent 44 days as manager of Leeds United. The fictionalised account of events, published in 2006, also led to a successful legal suit from former footballer and manager Johnny Giles.

Peace says: "In retrospect, I wish that I'd made contact with the Clough family and shared the book with them in advance of it being published.

"The honest truth is that I didn't want to bother them with it, I had no idea it would have the reaction it did. The period had already been well-documented in two published biographies about Brain Clough and I didn't really expect that my novel would be widely read."

The author, who now lives in Japan, comes to Quad on August 13, when he will discuss his writing with Radio Derby journalist Andy Potter.

Members of the public can take part in a question-and-answer session afterwards to ask Peace more about his other work, including a recently published novel about the former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly – Red Or Dead.

Peace reveals that he views this as his "first upbeat UK novel" and it certainly makes a contrast to his earlier works – The Red-Riding Quartet of four novels (1999-2002) which were set against the background of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation, plus a fictional portrayal of the miners' strike in the mid-80s called GB84.

Peace seems drawn to the darker elements of life during the 70s and 80s, though he says he never realised that at the time.

"At 25 I just wrote instinctively," he says.

"Looking back at it now, I can see it was my attempt to understand the events of time and place in which I had grown up.

"The Yorkshire Ripper case haunted my childhood. It had a huge impact on everyone living in Yorkshire at that time. I became drawn to exploring the darker elements of human nature and the abuse of power, which manifests itself in all walks of life."

Peace says that Red Or Dead is a celebration of Bill Shankly and a creative portrayal of the relentless nature of what it means to be a football manager and succeed at that level.

His repetitive prose in the book is, he says, "an attempt to emphasise this and paint a vibrant portrait of Bill Shankly in words".

David Peace In Conversation With Andy Potter is at Quad, Derby, on August 13 at 7pm. Tickets are priced £6 to £7. Call 01332 290606 or visit www.derbyquad.co.uk.

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