Thursday 3 December 2015


The Books that Built Jason Hewitt

Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road, chose Susan Hill's I'm the King of the Castle as one of his books when he joined me for October's Books That Built Me. In I'm The King of the Castle, Hill explores the cruelty and malevolence of children, and the wilful ignorance of adults who can't imagine they can be anything but innocents, in the tragic story of the bullied Charles Kingshaw and his tormentor, Edmund Hooper.

"I first came across Susan Hill when her short story collection A Bit of Singing and Dancing was on my A Level English course syllabus. Since then I’ve been an avid fan of all her work. Her third novel, I’m the King of the Castle will always will always be my favourite. I think it’s even more terrifying than her ghostly classic, The Woman in Black – terrifying because whilst it has all the feel of a gothic novel there are actually no supernatural elements in it at all. Instead, the horror comes from the everyday actions of two young boys, both trying to gain control and one-upmanship over the other; whilst it also chillingly illustrates the gulf that can exist between children and their parents, who are living in a completely different world, oblivious of the hell that their children are causing each other. It is one of the key books that built me as a writer. The sense of threat that Susan Hill evokes is something that I tried to create in my own debut, The Dynamite Room, and the house in that, Greyfriars, was very much inspired by the atmosphere she creates so wonderfully in Warings. With a writing style that is simple and in no way showy, Susan Hill slowly leads us down a path in to the dark psyche of human nature like no other author I know. She doesn’t shy away from showing the evil of people, and that honesty I find equally terrifying and yet compelling." Jason Hewitt.

I'm delighted that Jason will be at Susan Hill's Books That Built Me on 8th December at the Club at Cafe Royal; I'm very much looking forward to their meeting.

I'm the King of the Castle, Susan Hill is available here, priced £7.99 (P&P free to UK addresses)

Devastation Road, Jason Hewitt, published by Scribner, £14.99

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