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The Water Theatre

‘Clarke’s family saga is a book with enormous sweep: with a story that takes us from working class Yorkshire to cultured Umbria, and to a newly independent West African state.’

Fiction Uncovered Judges 2011


As war-reporter Martin Crowther arrives in Umbria, still raw from a recent assignment in Africa, and from a failing love affair back home, a storm hits and the sky opens. Things are powerfully on the move inside him too as he comes to the small village of Fontanalba, on a mission to track down two friends from a lifetime ago.

Adam and Marina are the estranged children of his mentor, Hal Brigshaw, who is nearing the end of a turbulent life and wants to summon them home. But there are good reasons for their self-imposed exile, and not all of them are understood, and not all are in the past. An air of secrecy also surrounds preparations for an event at Fontanalba in which Adam and Marina have an extraordinary role to play. As Martin waits, trapped between duty and desire, he is both intrigued and dismayed by his dealings with a close-knit community, who seem bent on protecting their own – and on shaking the ground of Martin’s life.

About Lindsay Clarke:

Lindsay Clarke is the author of seven novels, including The Chymical Wedding, which won the Whitbread Award for Fiction in 1989. He has been Writer in Residence at the University of Wales, Cardiff, where he became a long-term Associate of the MA Creative Writing programme, is Creative Consultant to the Pushkin Trust in Northern Ireland, and has directed conferences at Dartington, been Scholar-in-Residence at Schumacher College, and has lectured widely in England abroad and tutored many courses for the Arvon Foundation. He lives in Somerset with his wife who is a ceramic artist.

A video interview with Lindsay Clarke.

Lindsay Clarke reads an extract from The Water Theatre.

Sarah Crown, judge for Fiction Uncovered 2011, on The Water Theatre.

Lindsay Clarke talks to The Interview Online about The Water Theatre here.