A.J. West is an award-winning former BBC Northern Ireland journalist, radio broadcaster and voice artist from Buckinghamshire. The son of three primary school teachers, he grew up reading books to escape his shyness at school and discovered an early talent for writing which took him across the world working on scripts for popular radio programmes and documentaries. In 2020, he was signed to the venerable publisher of historical fiction, Duckworth Books, who describe his writing as gothic, artful and thoroughly-researched.
He says: “I first became an admirer of the great authors of gothic fiction, Arthur Machen, M.R. James and E.F. Benson, while studying English Literature at university in Lancashire. Scandalously, ghost stories didn’t make it onto the syllabus, so I’m afraid I neglected metaphysical poetry in favour of writers who combined beautiful prose with gripping tales of the unexpected. It was also during my university years that I discovered what I consider to be the greatest study of grim, thankless life, Jude the Obscure. It struck a chord with me as a highly-strung student, determined to be tragic. Today, I am a lighter soul, thankful to be a budding novelist. It is difficult and wonderful to believe that my childhood ambition has been realised. As a great novelist who himself struggled to be published as a younger man, once said: ‘Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.’
A. J. West’s debut novel, The Spirit Engineer, is published in October 2021. He can be found on Twitter @AJWestAuthor