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Meet Happy Valley actor George Costigan as he introduces his debut novel ‘The Single Soldier’ to the North East


May 16, 2017

Theatre, television and screen actor, George Costigan releases his debut novel ‘The Single Soldier’. Described as A magnificent, big beast of a book.” by playwright, musician and novelist Willy Russell, this story is set in France during the German occupation.

Fans can meet the actor and writer at Middlesbrough’s ‘Meet the Author’ event – In Conversation with George Costigan onThursday 4 May, 8.30pm at Middlesbrough Central Library. Tickets are priced at £3 per person and available from Middlesbrough Central Library by calling 01642 729002 or on the day at the door.

This is the first time the actor will opening discuss his career, the film Rita, Sue and Bob Too as well as his debut novel. The event at Middlesbrough Central Library is the first in Costigan’s book tour.

Costigan is no stranger to the North East. More than 20 years ago, he performed at the Billingham Forum in ‘Confusions’ by Alan Ayckbourn. He starred alongside Pauline Collins in ‘Going Straight’ by Richard Harris, and also played George in John Steinbeck’s classic ‘Of Mice and Men’ at the Darlington Civic Theatre.

Award-winning writer, Sally Wainwright said: The Single Soldier is beautifully written. The characters and the community are so vividly and colourfully conjured up.”

It is said home is where the heart is, but when war rips from a young man everything he loves, will he be able to find his way back to anything that matters? Amidst the political, personal and emotional devastation of the German Occupation, this young man moves his house, using only his hands, a cow and a cart, to a field six kilometres the other side of his village. Where he will re-build it? Why would anyone do such a thing? As the community around him prepares for peace, can he?

History, passion, love, secrets and painful truths collide in this astonishingly human, warm and emotive debut from writer George Costigan.

Matthew Smith, founder and publishing director of Urbane Publications said: “This is an astonishing first novel with a unique voice and style. Urbane has always been proud to focus on developing debut authors, and George has written an emotive and beautiful story that will appeal not simply to fans of his acting, but any reader who appreciates the power of words.”

George Costigan has been a motor-parts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play. College followed and a career that started in children’s theatre, on to Butlins Repertory Theatre in Filey and eventually landed him with the rep company at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre, who have recently unveiled their first rep company in twenty five years.

It was at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre where he met some hugely influential people including Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine), Chris Bond (Sweeny Todd), Alan Bleasedale (Boys from the Black Stuff) and his wife Julia North who was also in the company.

More recently, his acting career has included working with Sally Wainwright (Scott and Bailey, Unforgiven and Happy Valley), Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) Joe Penhall (The Long Firm) and great directors like Alan Clarke (Rita, Sue and Bob, Too) and Clint Eastwood (Hereafter). On stage, he has directed Daniel Day-Lewis and the late Pete Postlethwaite.

His career has included writing for the small screen and stage before this debut novel. He and wife Julia North wrote an episode of the popular 90s TV series ‘Birds of a Feather’ and his theatre work includes several Liverpool Everyman shows and ‘Trust Byron’, (staged at Birmingham Rep and West Yorkshire Playhouse) for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival.

He and wife Julia North have three sons and a grandson. Niall Costigan, their eldest, has followed in his father’s footsteps into the world of theatre and the arts.

Costigan is a patron of Dark Horse Theatre (Huddersfield) and Square Chapel Centre for The Arts (Halifax) and his next project, in March – April 2017, is a staging with drama students, in Birmingham, of ‘Careen, A True History of Bonny and Clyde’, by Canadian poet Carolyn Smart.

George Costigan, star of the 1987 hit film Rita, Sue and Bob Too and the recent award-winning television drama Happy Valley said: “I believe in the arts, it’s given me my life. I also believe it’s a duty to support the arts locally, all over the country, because culture and the arts add hugely to people’s lives.”

He went on to say, I am thrilled this work (The Single Soldier) has made it to print, a long-held ambition and if people enjoy it, so very much the better.”

The Single Soldier’, is available to order via Amazon, the Urbane Publications website and all good bookshops.

By Emily