Ben Myers

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Ben Myers
BornJanuary 1976
Durham, County Durham, England
OccupationWriter and journalist
Alma materUniversity of Bedfordshire
Notable awardsThe Portico Prize For Literature. The Gordon Burn Prize. Roger Deakin Award. Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
SpouseAdelle Stripe

Benjamin Myers (born January 1976) is an English writer[1] and journalist.

Early life[edit]

Myers grew up in Belmont, County Durham,[2] attending the estate's local comprehensive school, where he become interested in reading and skateboarding.[3]

Myers attended his first concert in Durham in March 1990, when he was fourteen. Headlined by Steadfast, it led to him forming the punk rock band Sour Face the next year.


Myers' books span literary fiction, nature/landscape writing, crime, historical fiction and poetry. He has been translated into eight languages.

His novel The Offing (2019) featured on Radio 4's Book At Bedtime, was a Radio 2 Book Club choice and chosen as a book of the year in The Times. The audio book was narrated by actor Ralph Ineson.

Myers' book The Gallows Pole (2017), a novelisation of the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners, received a Roger Deakin Award and won the 2018 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.[4] As part of the prize, both author and book title appeared as the official Royal Mail franking stamp for a week on an estimated 60 million pieces of mail. The Gallows Pole was signed by Third Man Books, part of Third Man Records, for publication in the US/Canada in 2019.[5]

Beastings (2014) won the Portico Prize For Literature and the Northern Writers' Award. It was also longlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

Pig Iron (2012) was set in the traveller/gypsy community of the north-east of England and was the first to be published under his full name Benjamin Myers. It won the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize[6] and was longlisted for 3:AM's 'Novels of the Year'[7] and runner-up in The Guardian's 'Not The Booker Prize',[8] in the same year.

In 2014 Myers won the Society of Author's Tom-Gallon Trust Award,[9] for his short story, 'The Folk Song Singer'. He was runner-up in the same prize in 2018 for his story 'A Thousand Acres Of English Soil'. His poem 'The Path To Pendle Hill' was selected by New Statesman as one of its Poems Of The Year 2015[10] and work from the same collection were read by Myers on BBC1 programme Countryfile.

Myers' second novel, Richard: A Novel (2010) was a fictionalized account of the life of musician Richey Edwards. It was published by Picador in October 2010, and polarised critical opinion.

As a teenager Myers began writing for British weekly Melody Maker. In 1997 he became their staff writer. As of 2017 he has written about literature, music and the arts for a number of publications including New Statesman, Mojo, The Guardian, NME, The Spectator, BBC, New Scientist, Alternative Press, Kerrang!, Plan B, Arena, Bizarre, The Quietus, Vice, Shortlist, Caught by the River, Metal Hammer, The Morning Star, Classic Rock, 3:AM Magazine, Mineshaft and Time Out. In 2011 he published an article,[11] about his brief time as an intern at News of the World.

Myers has published several poetry collections and written a number of music biographies which have been widely translated. He has spoken about failing English Literature at A-level and being rejected by "more than a hundred" universities before being accepted by the University of Bedfordshire (formerly Luton University).

He is a founding member of the Brutalists, a literary collective including authors Adelle Stripe and Tony O'Neill, and widely acknowledged as the first literary movement to be launched by social networking sites. As of 2014, Myers has been straight edge for ten years.[12]

In late 2018 it was reported he had signed to Bloomsbury Publishing.[13] The deal was satirised in the 'Books & Bookmen' column in Private Eye.[14]

In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from York St John University.[15]




  • The Book of Fuck (Wrecking Ball Press, 2004)
  • Richard: A Novel[16] (Picador, 2010)
  • Pig Iron[17] (Bluemoose, 2012. Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • Beastings (Bluemoose, 2014. Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • The Gallows Pole (Bluemoose, 2017. Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • The Offing (Bloomsbury, 2019)[18]

Short Stories[edit]

  • Male Tears (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Crime fiction[edit]

  • Turning Blue (Moth/Mayfly, 2016)
  • These Darkening Days (Moth/Mayfly, 2017)

Short fiction[edit]

  • The Whip Hand (Tangerine Press, 2018). Short story (Signed/limited edition handsewn chapbook).
  • Snorri & Frosti[19] (Galley Beggar Press / 3:AM Press, 2013). Novella (limited edition paperback and Ebook).


  • American Heretics: Rebel Voices In Music (Codex, 2002)
  • Under The Rock (Elliott & Thompson, 2018)


  • I, Axl: An American Dream (online only, 2008–2009)
  • Spam: Email Inspired Poems (Blackheath, 2008)
  • Nowhere Fast (co-written with Tony O'Neill and Adelle Stripe (Captains Of Industry, 2008)
  • The Raven of Jórvíkshire (Tangerine Press, 2017)
  • Heathcliff Adrift (New Writing North, 2014. Reissued 2018)
  • The Offing: Poems by Romy Landau (Bloomsbury/Tangerine Press, 2019)

Music biography / essays[edit]

  • John Lydon : The Sex Pistols, Pil and Anti-Celebrity (IMP 2005)
  • Green Day : American Idiots and the New Punk Explosion (IMP / Disinformation, 2005)
  • System of a Down : Right Here in Hollywood (IMP / Disinformation, 2006)
  • Muse : Inside the Muscle Museum (IMP 2004 and 2007)
  • The Clash : Rock Retrospectives (2007, with Ray Lowry)


  • 2013 Northern Writers' Award winner for Beastings
  • 2013 Gordon Burn Prize winner for Pig Iron
  • 2014 Tom-Gallon Trust Award winner for The Folk Song Singer
  • 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize longlist for Beastings
  • 2015 The Portico Prize For Literature winner for Beastings
  • 2016 Roger Deakin Award winner for The Gallows Pole
  • 2017 Republic of Consciousness Prize longlist for The Gallows Pole
  • 2018 Tom-Gallon Trust Award (runner-up) for A Thousands Acres Of English Soil
  • 2018 Walter Scott Prize winner for The Gallows Pole
  • 2019 Prix Polars Pourpres Découverte for Turning Blue (published in France as Dégradation)
  • 2020 The Portico Prize For Literature shortlisted for Under The Rock
  • 2020 Lieblingsbuch der Unabhängigen (Independent Booksellers' Award in Germany) winner for The Offing

Personal life[edit]

Myers grew up on the Belmont estate in Durham, and attended Belmont Community School.[20]


  1. ^ Myers, Benjamin (3 January 2020). "'I was half-insane with anxiety': how I wrote myself into a breakdown". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 January 2020 – via
  2. ^ Writing Durham: Ben Myers. 7 August 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  3. ^ Myers, Benjamin. "Benjamin Myers on Durham: 'I spent a lot of time up trees or trespassing on roofs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Benjamin Myers wins Walter Scott Prize 2018". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Jack White's imprint signs Benjamin Myers | The Bookseller".
  6. ^ "Benjamin Myers wins Gordon Burn Prize". Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  7. ^ "3:AM Awards 2012: Longlist " 3:AM Magazine". Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  8. ^ Sam Jordison. "Not the Booker prize: The winner | Books". Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Tom-Gallon Trust Award | Society of Authors – Protecting the rights and furthering the interests of authors". Society of Authors. Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Poems of the year".
  11. ^ "MY TIME UNDERCOVER AT THE NEWS OF THE WORLD". Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  12. ^ Myers, Ben (29 June 2014). "Call Of The Wild: Ben Myers' Beastings Playlist". The Quietus. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Myers moves to Bloomsbury for 'exquisite' novel | The Bookseller".
  14. ^ "Private Eye". 21 December 2018.
  15. ^ "York St John University announces 2019 honorary graduates". York St John University. 11 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Richard: Ben Myers: Books". Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  17. ^ "benjamin myers pig iron: Books". Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  18. ^ Cook, Jude (21 August 2019). "The Offing by Benjamin Myers review – poignant story of an unlikely friendship". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 January 2020 – via
  19. ^ "Snorri & Frosti by Ben Myers Ltd Edition Christmas paperback from 3AM Press – with added sparkles! – Galley Beggar Press". 1 December 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  20. ^ Myers, Ben (13 October 2018). "Benjamin Myers on Durham: 'I spent a lot of time up trees or trespassing on roofs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2020.

External links[edit]