The Strange Case of the North Surrey Gigantopithecus

I have a new essay, The Art of Letting Go, or The Strange Case of the North Surrey Gigantopithecus on The Literary Consultancy’s blog. It’s about knowing when you’re beat.


“I don’t feel hit hard at the moment, now that I’ve given up on The North Surrey Gigantopithecus. I feel strangely calm. I feel outflanked, for sure, but that’s not the same as dejected. It’s not just the publishing landscape that has changed. I’m coming to think that, regarding the strange case of The North Surrey Gigantopithecus, that by the time I’d realised what I’d got, I was telling a story that few would have the patience to listen to.”

You can read the full essay here.

On a happier note, I have this week achieved a life-time’s ambition by being compared to James Herbert. Lit Mag UK have reviewed Anticlockwise, published in Bare Fiction 10 in December.

‘In fiction, ‘Anticlockwise’ by Ashley Stokes finds two misfit public schoolboys japing around as they try to solve the mystery surrounding their creepy geography teacher. Eighties schoolboy references abound: 2000AD, Ozzy Osbourne, James Herbert. It crackles with character and inventive schoolboy humour but shifts by steps into a darker mode. The narrator’s feelings of resentment towards his absent mother and the present-day repercussions of the story are skilfully woven into the main plot. These sub-themes allow Stokes to slip away at moments of high tension – and the ending is very tense, like one of those James Herbert novels – to think through the subject matter with the benefit of hindsight or to make connections with his feelings of betrayal, deliciously ramping up the tension even further.’

You can read the full review of Bare Fiction 10 here.