Andrew Smith is an author of historical fiction. He enjoys creating stories and characters surrounding actual historic events. His first novel, 'Edith's War,' is centred on the internment of Italian men in Britain during World War II. His second novel, 'The Speech,' has as its main event Enoch Powell's infamous Rivers of Blood speech in 1968 — often alluded to today, as it was in Parliament during the recent Brexit debate, and on many other recent occasions.
Andrew practiced as a book designer and mforphed into a book writer, primarily writing non-fiction books. He has published several including 'Strangers in the Garden, the secret lives of our favourite flowers' and 'Highlights, an illustrated history of cannabis' (co-author). After graduating from a creative writing course, he became a widely published short fiction writer, and then progressed to become the author of novels.
Andrew's short fiction has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology and shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. His first novel, 'Edith's War,' won a gold medal for fiction at the Independent Publishers' Book Awards.
Andrew lives in London and Toronto.
Fiction included in various short story anthologies, and has also published several non-fiction books.
On April 20th, 1968 Enoch Powell, Member of Parliament in the English town of Wolverhampton, made a speech that shook Britain to its core. The ramifications of what some labelled a ‘racist diatribe’ changed forever the way in which race was viewed and discussed in the United Kingdom. The novel, 'The Speech,' follows the lives of a group of characters actual and fictional — including Powell himself — living in Wolverhampton over a ten-day period before and after his speech.
Mrs. Georgina Verington-Delaunay is a volunteer working in the Conservative riding office of Enoch Powell. It is through her interaction with Powell, now at a critical point in his political career, that we get to know him intimately. Frank and Christine are art students inadvertently caught in an undercurrent of intolerance. Nelson and his aunt, Irene, are Jamaican immigrants striving to make a life for themselves in an atmosphere of turbulent emotions and polarised opinions concerning Britain’s immigration policies.
A violent crime brings these disparate characters together as they struggle to find their places in the swiftly changing society of 1960s Britain. Set against a background of ‘subversive’ music, radical fashions, and profound change in ‘moral values,’ they attempt against all odds to bring a fair conclusion to an unjust investigation. As they work together against murky elements of self-interest and bigotry, they’re forced to confront their own consciences and prejudices.
In and around the unfolding plot we learn about the brilliant but deeply flawed Enoch Powell. We’re privy to his life — both public and private — leading up to his infamous speech, and to some of his hidden motivations. Despite frequent calls to reveal his sources for outrageous anecdotes included in the speech, Powell never divulged them. 'The Speech' conjectures about the possible genesis of Powell’s ‘stories.’
Gold Medal for Fiction, Independent Publishers' Book Awards, New York (for Edith's War).
Wolverhampton Literature Festival, January 28, 2017
The Speech, although a fiction, is never more timely than now, in the age of Le Pen, Farage, and Trump. The still-controversial name of Enoch Powell evokes a pivotal moment in UK's history of immigration, which is enormously relevant today. His notorious Rivers of Blood speech, considered racist by many, has coloured for ever the way race is viewed and discussed. As a historical fiction, in which Powell figures accurately and prominently, 'The Speech' is a catalyst for questions and debate from enquiring audiences, portrays the volatile and revolutionary 1960s milieu popular with many, and is also a thoroughly entertaining read as a crime thriller.
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