Caspar Walsh
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WRITING | CRIMINAL

The Story Behind the Book

I had tried many times to get my story ‘out there’. I was approached by a script writer and we were signed to a well known agency in London. After the first draft (which was also based around my dads prison letters) we were swiftly dropped by the agent and I never heard from them again. The next part of the journey was with Sara Davies – executive producer from BBC Radio 4. It was with her that I wrote The Prison Father. This went a long way to lay old ghosts to rest. After that I thought I was done with my story, it was time to move on.

I went to a literary festival near Cardigan in Wales in 2005. I was asked to talk about my work in prisons. I thought maybe I would pick up some more workshops. The agent, Broo Doherty approached me and said she felt sure I had a book in me. My initial reaction was ‘please, no, not more digging.’ I went away and thought about for about three months and finally decided maybe I did have some more to say about my past. The irony here is that I had been searching feverishly for an agent for nearly ten years. Broo came to me when the time was right. I simply didn’t have the emotional resources I needed to write ‘Criminal’ until that time.

Click here to read about A Cover in the Making.

Caspar's Drawings

The drawings were inspired by Alexander Masters ‘Stewart a Life Backwards’ and Mark Haddon’s ‘A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time’. I was told the style of writing these two books take is called ergodic literature – the mind boggles. Google it. My editor liked the drawings but it was thought too literary for the mainstream target market the sales team were focussing on. Fair enough. Here they are. They took me ages to do.

Flaming Bear
Originally drawn for Chapter 3 'A Criminal Eduction'

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Cash Cowboy Boots
Originally drawn for Chapter 6 ‘Back to School’

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Danger Mouth
Originally drawn for Chapter 18 ‘Stone Cold Turkey’

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Prison Letters - Included in the Book

I had wanted these printed as they are in the book but again it was felt the book needed to stay simple. Here are the originals.

Reviews

"A surprisingly touching, beautifully written tale of the determination of a young lad not to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Remarkably, while peppered with hair-raising accounts of scrapes with the cops, violence and abuse, Criminal never losses its sense of optimism and the characters are vividly brought to life"

- News of the World

"Thankfully, Walsh's abused, drug-crazed, sham-glam criminal childhood landed him in prison rather than the morgue. The journey from there to where he is now is redemptive, fuelled by a quiet heroism that is deeply moving.  This is not a misery memoir. It's a deeply considered hope for a secure and meaningful life in a sensational tale told sparely and with great compassion. He writes compellingly, elegantly and without a trace of self-pity. He achieves the remarkable feat of letting his father go. Freudian analysts should look here for a model of sanity, hard won and asserted."

 

Criminal | A Cover in the Making


Click here to read more.

 


     
© Copyright Caspar Walsh 2008
   
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