DIVA: Congratulations on making the shortlist. Tell us a
bit about your book.
North Morgan: Thank you. I'm really honoured. My book is a
hyper-realistic, bleak comedy revolving around themes of escapism
and existentialism. It's about the modern malaise that a lot of
people of my generation are facing after finishing university and
getting a job, which leaves them unfulfilled and lacking direction.
The story's presented as a first person account from the viewpoint
of Maine Hudson, a 24-year-old Londoner, and focuses on his
personal, professional and family relationships - all of which make
him uncomfortable. It was once described to me as taking a trip
inside the mind of someone with a mental illness, which I liked a
lot, because I wasn't aware that I had one.
What's the significance of the title?
The main character finds a very ineffective, self-destructive way
of dealing with his problems through prescription and illegal drug
abuse. So in a way, he's trying to exit his own life via a wound
that he's creating himself. The other answer, of course, is that I
was on the tube one day and saw an advert for the Banksy film Exit
Through The Gift Shop. For some reason I misread that as Exit
Through The Wound. Then I decided that this came to me as a vision
or something and adopted the title.
How different/similar are you to your main character,
There are similarities, of course. I chose for Maine to have a
similar background (we were both born in Greece) and to live in
London. I wanted to write about these places because, well, I know
them. In terms of behaviour, overall when I was writing the book, I
often thought: what would happen if I could do all of the things
that I want, action all those stupid little ideas that I
occasionally get, without any of the consequences? So I sort of
created an exaggerated, grotesque version of myself. Saying that,
if people want to believe that Maine is an accurate depiction of
me, I'm totally up for it. Maine is quite intriguing and daunting
and people don't fear me in real life enough, because I'm short and
quite timid, so I welcome this.
Is it fair to call it a grim read?
Thank you, I like grim. I wanted the book to be one step further
than 'dark'. Everything aspires to be 'dark' these days. Someone
even told me once that they liked Glee because of its dark
undertones. Or when people describe Harry Potter as 'dark' to make
themselves feel better about reading it. It's not dark; you're
reading a children's book. My book has very little action and zero
violence and it still makes you feel uncomfortable. So yes, grim is
fair. Saying that, it's not all gloom. It is meant to be funny and
there is an underlying story of love running through it.
Where can people find out more about you and your
I update my blog with events, news and some writing from time to
time (www.londpreppy.blogspot.com) and of course there's twitter
where I mainly post in character (www.twitter.com/northmorgan)
What are three books (by other writers) that you
The Stranger - Albert Camus
Nausea - Jean Paul Sartre
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Generally, if you show me a book where nothing happens but
everyone is very, very unhappy, I'll love it. Apart from the above,
which are simply life-changing, I idolise F Scott Fitzgerald and JD
What are you working on now?
A follow-up novel, a potential move abroad, and maintaining my
What would you do with the £1000 if you win the
My next novel is set in America, so I've been traveling quite a
bit to research. Winning the prize would allow me to spend some
more time over there to work on the new book. Or if I were Maine,
I'd buy £1,000-worth of Valium, line them up and start taking one
by one until I got to the perfect buzz.
Exit Through The Wound by North Morgan (Limehouse Books)
is shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. The winner will be
announced 26th November 2012.
Exit Through The Wound is available to buy now: at Amazon
For more information on the Polari First Book Prize, visit them on