• Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Based on his own life, BAFTA-nominated investigations journalist turned novelist Peter Woolrich blends fact and fiction in this searing exploration of morality and regret


Investigations journalist Peter Woolrich had guns, knives and a samurai sword pulled on him, but he says it wasn’t nearly as frightening as turning the spotlight on himself. Although his debut book is presented as a novel, and names have been changed, much of the content is personal. So personal he’s not telling anybody, especially his wife, which bits are true! “It’s like spreading myself on toast for people to eat,” he says from his Harrogate home.

A Corroded Soul is set in a fictitious Nottinghamshire village, not unlike the one where Woolrich grew up. Flashbacks to the 60s, 70s and 80s, along with present-day encounters, are used to tell the story in the immediacy of first person present tense.

Like his literary protagonist, Daniel Connah, Woolrich’s relationship with his mother, named Muriel in the book, was, to put it mildly, difficult. Daniel felt unloved as a child, not least because neither parent showed nor told him. Until his fifties, he used this as justification for multiple character flaws, including stealing, being a social misfit and sex addict.

When Woolrich’s own mother died from a car crash, he was consumed with anger, abandonment and feeling bereft. Needing to make sense of his emotions, he furiously began writing, observations spat out in frustration that his mother had left him with a list of unanswered questions. As the words morphed into a novel, he wondered if emotional neglect can be as damaging as physical.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Woolrich says. “I wasn’t beaten or sexually abused in horrific circumstances like many youngsters, but it’s amazing how many people feel damaged by being raised in an unloving environment. Some readers have said Prince Harry expresses similar sentiments in his book. Perhaps it’s a question of where we think individual responsibility begins and ends.” 

Find out more: peterwoolrich.com

Praise for the book:

“The most darkly comic, gruelling self-examination I have come across…”

 David Llewelyn, literary consultant

“Heart-rending and funny. A brave, memorable debut.” 

Karen Kanter, author of The Laughing Ladies

“A suitcase full of memories leaking all over the floor.” 

Rob Young, Hollywood script writer 

Publication date: 28th March 2023

ISBN 9781915352248

Price £8.99