Debut author Daniel James will give the first public reading from his novel at Books on Tyne 2017 next month after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The writer and journalist from Cullercoats, North Tyneside, will share a packed bill at this year’s festival, alongside bestselling authors such as Val McDermid (The Wire in the Blood), Ann Cleeves (Vera), LJ Ross, and many more.

Tickets are free for Daniel’s event on 28 November at 6pm, at Newcastle’s City Library, but must be booked in advance from Newcastle Libraries Eventbrite page here.

The book festival will see the first public reading from Daniel’s debut novel following a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign in August, which saw the book raise almost double its £1,000 target through pre-order sales.  

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas is a compelling and suspenseful postmodern mystery about a journalist searching for the truth about a reclusive artist through six decades of unreality and fabricated history. Join Daniel James as he follows Ezra Maas down the rabbit hole into a literary labyrinth of fractured identities and sinister doubles where nothing is what it seems in this unique novel told through a combination of hard-boiled prose, biography, letters, emails and phone transcripts.

Daniel, 36, said: “It felt as if the whole North East got behind me during crowdfunding and I was thrilled to not just make the target, but to smash it. It seems like people can’t wait to get their hands on the book and discover the truth about Ezra Maas for themselves.

“As someone who was born and raised in the North East, I was honoured to be asked to appear at Newcastle Book Festival alongside so many successful authors, and I’m very excited to publicly read from the book for the very first time.

“I understand tickets are going fast, so if you’re interested in finding out more about my novel please reserve a free ticket and come along. I’ll be discussing the origins of the novel and my journey towards becoming published.”

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas will be published in late November by Dead Ink Books, an ambitious, independent publisher funded by Arts Council England.

Daniel added: “What happened to Ezra Maas is one of the biggest mysteries of contemporary art. He was one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century until he disappeared in mysterious circumstances – but no one has been able to write a book about his life or work until now due to legal issues with his estate and the intense secrecy of his friends and cult-like followers.

“Maas first became famous in the 1960s alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Joseph Beuys, but his rejection of celebrity and refusal to be photographed or interviewed meant that very little was known about who he really was or where he came from. Naturally, this made him a very intriguing and compelling character.

“In today’s era of post-truth and fake news, it seemed the perfect timing to uncover the true story of such a mysterious and reclusive figure, but it wasn’t easy – what began life as a biography gradually turned into a surreal detective story which left me questioning what was real and what was fiction, not just in Maas’s life, but also in my own.”

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas from Dead Ink Books will be available from all good book stores, including Forum Books in Corbridge, Northumberland, Waterstones, Foyles and Amazon.

Books on Tyne 2017 takes place from 25 November to 3 December and is a partnership between Newcastle Libraries and Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society. To book tickets for Daniel’s event on 28 November at 6pm click here or go to: http://www.booksontyne.co.uk/events/item/the-unauthorised-biography-of-ezra-maas

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