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Chris Nickson has written since he was a boy growing up in Leeds, starting with a three-paragraph school essay telling a tale of bomb disposal when he was 11. That brought the revelation that he enjoyed telling stories, and then more stories, teenage poetry, and music, as both a bassist and then a singer-songwriter-guitarist.
Chris spent 30 years living in the US, playing in bands and writing. He's made a living as a writer since 1994. Much of his work has been music journalism, combining the twin passions of music and writing, specialising in world and roots music. His reviews and features are published in print and online, notably with fRoots, Sing Out!, emusic.com, and allmusic.com. He's also the author of The NPR Casual Listener's Guide to World Music.
Chris has also published 28 other non-fiction books, most of them quicky biographies, and has had a pair of one act plays staged in Seattle. His short fiction has appeared in several small magazines, and most recently in the anthology Criminal Tendencies.
He moved back to the UK in 2005. The Broken Token was published by Creme de la Crime in 2010. The second of the Leeds novels featuring Richard Nottingham appeared in hardback in 2011 with the third and fourth (The Constant Lovers and Come the Fear) appearing in 2012. The fifth and sixth in the series (At the Dying of the Year and Fair and Tender Ladies) arrived in 2013.
The Crooked Spire is set in Chesterfield in 1361 and can be found in paperback and ebook. Gods of Gold is the first volume of a series set in Leeds in the 1890s and features Detective Inspector Tom Harper.
His new book Leeds, The Biography will be released by Armley Press in July 2015.
360 AD: A woman buries the remains of her husband in a stone sracophagus in Northern Roman Britain.
1207: A man in desperate need of money plans a new street to be called Briggate.
1645: A girl named Alice Musgrave of Vicar Lane is the first victim when the plague strikes Leeds.
1850: A heartbroken woman walks down a set of steps into the River Aire.
1963: Two young men, fired by the new music, wait to see the Beatles at the Queen's Hall.
These and more than twenty other stories make up Leeds, The Biography. It's history, but it's more. It's stories of the people and places in the city. The Battle of Holbeck Moor, the remnants of Ralph Thoresby's wonderous museum. How Leeds grew from being a tiny settlement around a river ford to one of Britain's greatest cities. It's human history. Based on fact, events, sometimes on tales. It's the past come to life in faces and speech you'll know as if they lived next door.
It's a history of Leeds in short stories It's all of us. Who we were. Hands stretching back across time.
Why John Lake Chose: Chris is an extremely prolific writer with a solid fan base, so when he agreed to publish these stories with Armley Press it was frankly a no brainer. The secret of Chris's success is the combination of encyclopaedic research into his subjects and an imagination that moulds characters and drama from his discoveries. The way he puts it is that the figures from history tell him their own stories and he simply writes them down. There you go then - talented and modest with it. Leeds, The Biography is stirring stuff and every bit as gripping as his historical crime thrillers.
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