Yesterday, I was in Manchester for the Society of Authors Annual General Meeting. I’ve been on the committee of the Authors North sub-group for the last few years and, until yesterday, I was its Chair. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a story about how I got kicked off the committee, I was due to step down and hand over to the new Chair, the excellent Rhoda Baxter. My tenure as Chair was, thankfully, without incident. (Nothing was proved.)
I was helping to look after the registration desk when I heard a familiar name mentioned: Trevor Hoyle.
My brain began to buzz. How did I know that name? Then it came to me: Trevor Hoyle was the writer of one of my favourite books from my childhood, the first novel based on the BBC TV series, Blake’s 7.
I left the registration desk and caught up with a somewhat startled chap, as captured in this aggressive-looking picture taken by Colin Shelborn.
“Aren’t you Trevor Hoyle?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied, with all the nervousness of a man being accosted by a scary stranger.
“You worte a Blake’s 7 book!” I declared, like an idiot.
Trevor chuckled. “Well, I wrote three, actually.”
Indeed he did. Here’s a selection of my own copies of those books, a mix of the UK and US editions. In fact, Trevor is an incredibly varied and prolific author:
“Trevor Hoyle has published fiction with John Calder: The Man Who Travelled on Motorways, Vail (a dystopian vision of Britain as a police state) and Blind Needle, a chase thriller set in the Lake District. His novel The Last Gasp is currently under option in Hollywood. In 2003 Pomona reissued Rule of Night (originally published in 1975), about skinheads in a northern town, which was Time Out’s Book of the Week and was highly praised in the Guardian and City Life. More recently Trevor Hoyle has written for BBC Radio 4. His first play, GIGO, won the Radio Times Drama Award, and another, Randle’s Scandals, about the rude Wigan comedian Frank Randle, was critically acclaimed. He also wrote and presented a feature for Radio 4, The Lighthouse Invites the Storm, in memory of the writer Malcolm Lowry.”
My chat to Trevor was brief – the registration desk was calling me – but it was a genuine thrill to meet someone who was part of my childhood. That copy of Blake’s 7 was well-read and fondly remembered.