About Rodge

Okay, so here’s my bios, one short, one too much information. I often get asked for these, and lord knows Wikipedia ain’t right about everything, so I should do them myself. Involves talking about myself in the third person though – which is a sure sign of either going mad, or becoming incredibly pretentious. I’m hoping it’s madness.

BIO IN BRIEF

Rodge Glass  is the author of the novels No Fireworks (Faber, 2005) and Hope for Newborns (Faber, 2008), as well as Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography (Bloomsbury, 2008), which received a Somerset Maugham Award in 2009. Recently, he was co-author of the graphic novel Dougie’s War: A Soldier’s Story (Freight, 2010), which was nominated for several awards.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University, also Associate Editor at Cargo Publishing where he has edited books such as The Year of Open Doors and Allan Wilson’s Wasted in Love. His last novel, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, was published in April 2012 by the multi-award winning Tindal Street Press and his latest book, LoveSexTravelMusik, was published by Freight Books in April 2013.

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BIO IN DETAIL

Rodge Glass was born in 1978 and is originally from Cheshire, though he has now been in Scotland since 1997, and since then most of his family have scattered all over the globe.  Rodge is the product of an Orthodox Jewish Primary School, an 11+ All Boys Grammar School, a Co-Ed Private School, a Monk-sponsored Catholic College, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Strathclyde University and finally Glasgow University where he was tutored by Alasdair Gray, and began writing his first novel in 2002.

No Fireworks
This book became No Fireworks, which was published by Faber & Faber in July 2005 and was nominated for four awards.  These were The Authors’ Club First Book Award (UK), The Saltire First Book Award (Scotland), The Dylan Thomas Prize (Worldwide) and The Glen Dimplex First Novel Award (Ireland). The novel was published in paperback in August 2006. The Times Literary Supplement called the book “thoughtful and brave”, The Independent on Sunday called Rodge “a very good comic writer” and The Scotsman called the book “a superb debut”, but The Daily Telegraph disagreed, accusing the author of “jumping on the Jewish bandwagon”.

Hope for Newborns
Rodge’s second novel, Hope for Newborns, was a tragic comedy set in a Manchester nostalgia barber shop dedicated to the British Army. The story follows two young people, Lewis and Christy, who have seen enough of the world to realise they want nothing to do with it in its current form.  So they set up Hope for Newborns Plc, a successful internet charity.  It was again published by Faber & Faber in June 2008.The Guardian said of Hope for Newborns, ‘Glass has written a compassionate and quietly comic study of a country which has forgotten how to take pride in itself.’ The Independent called the novel ‘excellent’. The novel was published in paperback in June 2009.

Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography
From 2002-2005 Rodge spent three years as personal assistant to legendary Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray before embarking on an unorthodox, messy book on his life and work. Rodge had filled many roles in the years he’d known Gray – student, secretary, signature forger, driver, researcher, advisor, tea maker and paper boy – here he attempted one more.  Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography (published in hardback by Bloomsbury, 2008) was every bit as individual as its subject, and cheekily took Boswell’s infamous portrait of Samuel Johnson as its template.  Gray co-operated with the project throughout but agreed not to read a word of the result until public release, and promised not to sue once he had seen it. He kept to this promise, though he did review the book in The Guardian under the headline ‘What My Biographer Got Wrong’. The book was published by Bloomsbury in hardback in September 2008 and was Glass’s most successful book yet, being widely and positively reviewed and winning him the distinguished Somerset Maugham Award, as well as being nominated for The Scottish Arts Council Award for Non-Fiction. It was published in paperback by Bloomsbury in September 2009. The Guardian called Glass ‘Gray’s perfect biographer’, novelist Jonathan Coe rated the biography his book of the year, and Time magazine called the book ‘a strange and nourishing stew’. Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography was published in paperback by Bloomsbury in September 2009.

Academia

The Gray biography was also written as an academic PhD, under the title Working With Alasdair Gray. This was a similar version to the published one, but with added academic essays, extra footnotes, and minus the fart jokes. Rodge graduated from Glasgow University in December 2008 and became Dr Glass. From September 2008 until September 2010 Rodge was the Keith Wright Writer-in-Residence at Strathclyde University, where he had been an undergraduate between 1997 and 2001. He was a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Strathclyde between 2009 and 2012, until being appointed a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University in September 2012.

The Year of Open Doors
In 2009 Rodge began collaborating with a new, independent Glasgow-based publisher called Cargo, run by Mark Buckland, an ex-student of Rodge’s, who had recently graduated and immediately set up business with a number of Strathclyde students working as his interns. Mark approached Rodge to be Editor on a new book of short stories by the younger generation of Scotland-based writers, but including writers who had come to Scotland from as far apart as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Bulgaria and even England. This international book was conceived in the independent tradition and commissioned new work from 19 of the most promising writers in the country. The authors went on an extensive tour across the country throughout 2010 taking in everything from major festivals to tiny library readings, and the collection was also released as an audio book in association with highly regarded Scottish independent label Chemikal Underground. Irvine Welsh called The Year of Open Doors ‘a very important book…a genuine breakout collection’, The List magazine called it an ‘immaculate collection’ and the review in The Scotsman said: “Cargo Publishing has taken a risk here…[it] has paid off in spades. Deserves to be read. And recommended.”

The Year of Open Doors, which also includes an Introduction by Rodge, features the following writers: Alan Bissett, Nora Chassler, Sophie Cooke, Jason Donald, Kirstin Innes, Doug Johnstone, Kapka Kassabova, Helen Lynch, Anneliese Mackintosh, Duncan MacLean, Kevin MacNeil, Daibidh Martin, Micaela Maftei, Aidan Moffat, Colette Paul, Suhayl Saadi, Tawona Sithole, Allan Wilson and Ryan Van Winkle.

Dougie’s War
Freight Design is an independent graphic design and publishing company based in Glasgow, also responsible for Gutter, Scotland’s top literary magazine. In September 2010 it published its first ever graphic novel, Dougie’s War, written by Rodge, with artwork by Dave Turbitt and additional essays by Adrian Searle. This was a hybrid, part-comic, part-homage to the classic Charley’s War, and part investigation into PTSD among Scottish soldiers. The story follows Dougie Campbell, who returns from serving in Afghanistan to his Glasgow home, and deals with the mental war that begins when the physical war ends. Dougie’s War received extensive notices in the broadsheets as well as traditional comic press, with The Spectator saying it “raises questions about the validity of the wars our country is conducting and, particularly, the effect these conflicts have on those involved”. The Sunday Herald said “its attempt to be honest, without being sensational or voyeuristic about the tragedy of war, is a successful and admirable one” and The Big Issue reported that Dougie’s War is “a hard-hitting tale of post traumatic stress syndrome… it hammers home its message without being preachy… as forceful as any conventional novel or non-fiction account”. Dougie’s War was nominated for several awards: Best Graphic Novel at the SICBA Awards 2011, also Best Publication and Best Illustration at the Scottish Creative Awards 2011.

Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs

Rodge’s last novel, which tells the story of Manchester United’s least successful player, (Marky Wilson), and his obsession with the most successful (Ryan Giggs) was published by Tindal Street Press on April 5th 2012,, then by Profile Books in 2013. In advance of the publication, Will Self said: “” [Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs is] a complex and moving portrayal of obsession, football and heroes with boots of clay. Rodge Glass skilfully warps sincerity with an ironist’s ear – great stuff.” Pat Nevin said: For every dream career there are thousands of boys whose dreams are painfully broken. The less-often considered reality is dissected here without losing sight of the love of the game.”  Rodge spent most of 2012 touring festivals around the UK and abroad. It was his most successful novvvel to date in terms of critical and commercial reception.

LoveSexTravelMusik: Stories for the EasyJet Generation

Rodge’s debut collection of stories was a concept travel book published by Freight in April 2013. Widely reviewed and well received, the book was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award 2013 and was praised by the likes of The Guardian, Traveller Magazine. The Scotsman, The Herald, The List and the Irish Times. This book collected several commissioned stories from 2009-2011 all on the theme of discount air travel and its consequences.

My publishers:

No Fireworks and Hope for Newborns published by Faber & Faber

Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography published by Bloomsbury

Dougie’s War and LoveSexTravelMusik published by Freight Books

Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs published by Tindal Street Press / Profile Books