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Ray Brown

After a poor West Riding Grammar School education, characterised by cheek and corporal punishment, Ray Brown began to study aeronautical engineering. Soon politicised, he changed to psychology, at the Universities of Hull and London.  He worked in industry before becoming a Research Fellow in social psychology at Leeds University. A standard academic text, Children in Television, was published in Britain, Germany, Yugoslavia and the USA. After eight years, he gave up research to write fiction, and gravitated to making programmes for BBC Radio 4 and writing/producing/directing for theatre.
Since then, he's written for broadsheets and magazines, had two short stories win awards and made some 100 features for Radio 4, including plays (In the Absence of Loving; Barnes and Molly; Steinbeck in Avalon), five-part features (Starry Starry Night; Down to Earth; World's Apart) and half-hour programmes (The Courage to be Happy; Duffled; Talking to Things), plus too many talks, columns and short features to list.  His producers include Pete Atkin, Nigel Acheson, Bob Carter, Gillian Hush and Martin Jarvis. His radio and stage actors include Finetime Fontayne, Emilia Fox, Sandra Hunt, Philip Madoc, Jamie Smelt, Everal A. Walsh, Sam West, Geoff Wilkinson and many others. His latest play The Yerney Project was commissioned by Headingley Litfest: the audience left embarrassingly fulsome feedback. 
Mainly through his company NORMAL PRODUCTIONS, he has produced, directed, (usually) written and toured plays at numerous venues including Arena Wolverhampton, Bath Theatre Royal, Bradford Alhambra, Drum Birmingham, Hackney Empire, Georgian Theatre Richmond, Manchester Royal Exchange, Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough, Soho Theatre, Warehouse Croydon, West Yorkshire Playhouse, York Theatre Royal and Wetwang Village Hall. His production of Living Pretty, based on his highly praised co-written biography of Alfred William, To Live it is to Know It, was included in the 2006 British Council Edfringe Showcase. With his partner, Ros Marsden, he has curated two seasons of theatre for Seven Arts Centre in his home city, Leeds. 


Whoosh! by Ray Brown

It's an ordinary Saturday in May 1979. As the clock moves from noon to ten thirty a handful of Leeds people coalesce, entwine, laugh, cry, go their separate ways. But for some it's a day they will never forget.

This is WHOOSH!, a novel pulsing with life, smouldering with humour, tempered by moments of joy and sadness. 

               'I laughed out loud...

      ...then laughed out loud again!'

                  Doug Sandle

In 1984 areas of Britain resemble a police state. Simon and Lindy, 'lovers against the bomb' are peace activists drawn into the year long miners' strike. For them it's a time of fear and laughter, home made wine and home grown dope. A world of collection buckets and button badges, peace camps and picket lines, Labour Party meetings and non-violent direct action. A time of constant opposition to the state. And a time of self-discovery.
Through it all Simon revisits the Seventies, his days of expensive hair cuts, fawn safari suits, market research, alcohol and affairs. And the time of his first encounter with Lindy and a new beginning.
 In All Beginnings captures the times and combines acute observation with commentary and social satire.
Why John Lake chose: 'Ray Brown's novel In All Beginnings centres on the 1984-5 Miners' Strike in Britain and the unlikely bond between the strikers and the CND movement, represented by the feminist protesters at Greenham Common airforce base. By the author's admission it's very autobiographical. Ray is a lifelong member of the Labour Party and I remember picketing alongside him myself at Ledston Luck colliery all those years ago. What appealed to me was the fine quality of the writing, particularly on relationships between men and women, the vivid descriptions of the chaos of facing off against the police in demos, and the hilarious comic depictions of what went on at Party meetings, delivered with a lightness of touch that nicely underplays the weightiness of the subject. On a deeper note it's also a recall to a form of unified political action that we don't see enough of in the highly fragmented Britain of the twenty-first century.'
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