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Published by Flambard Press

ISBN: 9781906601195

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In 1916 William Manderson, a young private infantryman and poet, departs for the Western Front where his older brother Jack is already serving. Caught up in the preparations for the great offensive on the Somme, William writes intimate letters to Jack’s wife Elizabeth and longs for news of his friend, the composer and pianist Matthew Riley. Following a gas attack that leaves him struggling to write, William emerges from destruction and suffering a wounded man and a war poet.

Using poetry, letters and journal entries, Gladys Mary Coles draws together a variety of narrative strands to tell a compelling story of the impact of war on the lives of four young people. Set during and in the aftermath of the War and moving between Liverpool, the Wirral, France and, finally, North Wales, Clay asserts the need for endurance, creativity and love during a period of unprecedented tragedy and social change.

"Clay is a novel of twists, turns and emotional turbulence, demonstrating the ravaging effect of both war during and after the event in a way that's captivating and emotive."
Country and Border Life Magazine

"An enjoyable novel of endurance, creativity and love."
Sally Bunn, Shropshire Star

A prolific poet, Gladys Mary Coles is also an historian, literary biographer and editor, and is well known as the biographer of Mary Webb. As a poet, she has received many prizes and awards, and was selected to represent Britain in the Euro-Literature Project. Her collections include The Song of the Butcher Bird (2006) and The Echoing Green (2002), both published by Flambard. She is a highly experienced teacher of imaginative writing, leading courses for the Arvon Foundation and the Taliesin Trust, and lecturing at both of Liverpool’s universities. Clay is her first novel.
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