Author Suzy Norman arrives in Brick Lane to find East End a bit ‘Duff’

Suzy Norman with he new novel at Brick Lane Bookshop

Suzy Norman with he new novel at Brick Lane Bookshop - Credit: Patrician Press

Journalist Suzy Norman took one look at London’s East End with all its harsh social history and decided to put her roots down here. Now she has written her first novel, Duff—which she has partly set in Bow, just a mile or two from her new home in Bethnal Green.

Suzy givesa reading from her book...

Suzy givesa reading from her book... - Credit: Patrician Press

The 41-year-old from South Wales, a freelance feature writer for a national daily, launched her book at a reading at Brick Lane Bookshop packed with book-loving wellwishers.

“I came to live here as this place is rife with social history stories,” she explains.

“Initially I arrived because my sister and her family were in Bethnal Green.

“But the place is so rich in social history—from ‘the Elephant Man’ Joseph Merrick to the Krays and the early Suffragette movement. It’s a great place that my whole family is fond of.”

... then signs copies of Duff

... then signs copies of Duff - Credit: Patrician Press

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She reads widely and wanted to create a novel of her own, after some success having short stories in the charity book 100RPM, so writing a novel “seemed the logical progression”.

But her first attempt, ‘The Dreaming’, needed a bit of a makeover, Suzy admits, even though it was shortlisted for last year’s Dundee International Book Prize.

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So she enlisted help from her mentor Tom Bromley, from the Professional Writing Academy, to get it up to scratch.

The novel was reworked and renamed Duff, which was inspired by her childhood in Monmothshire, by random and eccentric people from all walks of life she has met—and by decisions people make that sometimes have “pernicious consequences”.

Duff is published in paperback by Patrician Press at £9.

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