Adam Farrer scoops major writers' award for reflective memoir 'Cold Fish Soup'

Categories: University Campus

Adam Farrer, a member of the University of Salford's QEO Development Office, has won the NorthBound Book Award at this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards for his reflective manuscript Cold Fish Soup.

Adam Farrer

Cold Fish Soup is a memoir of essays, focusing on Adam’s experiences on the East Yorkshire coast, with a particular focus on the resort town of Withernsea, where his family lives. Told across ten interconnected personal essays and charting a course from his adolescence right up to COVID times, the book is composed of darkly humorous tales of life, death, inter-dimensional werewolves, and burlesque-dancing pensioners. 

Adam says that it was through his work at the University of Salford that this award came to fruition: "As part of the University’s PDR process in 2019, I was able to make use of the volunteering component to take up work as Writer in Residence for Peel Park, capturing a year of life on the grounds, researching the park keeper records held in Salford Museum and writing essays about the space.

"This work went on to validate my career as a place writer and allowed me to successfully apply for a grant from Arts Council England in 2019 to fund the book of essays that won the competition."

Adam currently works in the University’s QEO Development Office, handling Blackboard support calls: "Many colleagues will be familiar with the sound of my voice as I have acted as the voice for a few of our automated phone systems over the years." He joked: "It’s not unusual for me to call Switchboard and be put on hold to myself, reassuring me that my call is important to me!"

When Adam is not reassuring us (or himself) that our calls are important to him, he spends his time writing: "Pretty much all my spare time involves writing. I spend time on my longer form essays, and prior to pandemic times, I regularly wrote and performed my work at spoken word events across the North, working out material in front of an audience and seeing what clicked. When I’m not working on my own writing, I help other people with theirs - now I think about it, it’s clear that I don’t have any spare time."

Finally, Adam shared his plans for the future: "My aspirations are to continue writing, performing, and publishing my work, but the NorthBound award has already opened up new doors for me. In the coming months I’ll be attending literary festivals, speaking to agents and recording an audiobook. I’ll also be working with the creative writing department at the University of York, who funded the Northbound prize, giving talks and including their students in the editing process during the run up to publication.

“Essentially, I am living through my aspirations right now and just want to keep going, doing the thing I love.”

Cold Fish Soup will be published by the award-winning Salford-based publisher Saraband in 2022.

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