His words threatened rivers of blood…and they fought him with hope….
On April 20th, 1968 Enoch Powell, Member of Parliament in the English town of Wolverhampton, made a speech that shook Britain to its core. The ramifications of what some labelled a ‘racist diatribe’ changed forever the way in which race was viewed and discussed in the United Kingdom. The Speech: a novel follows the lives of a group of characters — including Powell himself — living in Wolverhampton over a ten-day period before and after his speech.
Mrs. Georgina Verington-Delaunay is a volunteer working in the Conservative riding office of Enoch Powell. It is through her interaction with Powell, now at a critical point in his political career, that we get to know him intimately. Frank and Christine are art students inadvertently caught in an undercurrent of intolerance. Nelson and his aunt, Irene, are Jamaican immigrants striving to make a life for themselves in an atmosphere of turbulent emotions and polarised opinions concerning Britain’s immigration policies.
A violent crime brings these disparate characters together as they struggle to find their places in the swiftly changing society of 1960s Britain. Set against a background of ‘subversive’ music, radical fashions, and profound change in ‘moral values,’ they attempt against all odds to bring a fair conclusion to an unjust investigation. As they work together against murky elements of self-interest and bigotry, they’re forced to confront their own consciences and prejudices.
Andrew Smith’s first novel, Edith’s War, won a gold medal at the Independent Publishers’ Book Awards, U.S.A. His short fiction has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology and shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. His travel writing has garnered a Western Magazine Award. He has published two non-fiction books: Strangers in the Garden, the secret lives of our favorite flowers, and Highlights, an illustrated history of cannabis (co-author).
“The competent way Smith handles structure, moving between time periods and places, is really impressive … a terrific accomplishment” Jack Batten, literary critic.
“Edith’s War is an intricate study of war, love, and survival. A must read.” Zoomer Magazine.
Andrew’s compelling new novel, The Speech, will publish autumn 2016 -more details soon!