C. M. Taylor

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C. M. Taylor (born 1972) is the pen name of Craig Taylor, an English novelist, screenwriter and lecturer.


Born in Birmingham in 1972, C. M. Taylor has lived in West Yorkshire, Suffolk, Cambridge, Edinburgh, India, Spain and Brussels. He is married with two daughters and currently lives in Oxford.

C. M. Taylor has ghostwritten for an internationally best-selling author, and contributed material to Plan B's The Ballad of Belmarsh album. His journalism has appeared widely, including in The Guardian[1] and The Daily Telegraph.

Early work[edit]

Taylor's novel Cloven[2] is a dark treatment of the BSE epidemic in Britain in the 1990s.

The dystopian satire Grief[3][4] was nominated for Best Book of the Year 2005 by the British Science Fiction Association [5] and was described in the BSFA's review as 'magnificent', and a work of 'breathtaking originality.'

The novella Light is set in the e-commerce boom of the late 1990s and features the author's own Primitivist drawings. In Time Out London the novelist Nicholas Royle described Light as 'compelling', and 'delightfully unusual.'

The Kev King books[edit]

Published by Corsair, an imprint of Constable & Robinson, Taylor's Premiership Psycho is a dark satire on the excesses of celebrity and football culture.

The novel is narrated by Kev King, an all action midfielder, 'compulsive shagger'[6] and psychopathic customer vigilante who "targets those who have committed offences against consumerism",[6] King shakes off a fall from grace to become an unnamed London Premier League club's star player.

Kev narrates the novel himself in an aggressive, slangy and product-obsessed "inventive language",[6] which has led one critic to call Kev King a "stream of consciousness brand warrior".[7] While Kev King's obsessions and neurosis have led to him being described as a "worthy and logical successor"[7] to Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho.

One critic of Premiership Psycho has found Kev King to be "arrogant" and "full of misplaced self importance",[8] while another reviewer stated that the book was "detestable", "sexist", and, "aimed at those who see woman as objects".[9]

Yet most reviewers have interpreted Kev King's abundant and exaggerated faults as a "merciless satire"[10] on the shallow world of overpaid footballers, with FourFourTwo magazine calling the book "American Psycho for the hundred grand a week generation...", "genius" and "brilliantly appalling",[10] while The Sun called Kev King a "huge mickey take on celebrity"[11] and the Daily Mirror described him as "horribly entertaining".[11]

The singer Plan B has said of Premiership Psycho: 'The more of a c*nt Kev King is, the more I like him. How the f*ck is that possible? ...Very good writing. Best book since Kill Your Friends. Bring on the film.'[12]

Premiership Psycho is the first part of a planned Kev King trilogy; the second instalment, Group of Death, set at the 2012 European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine, was published by Corsair in 2012.[13]

Film rights to Premiership Psycho have been sold, and Taylor has been commissioned to adapt it for television.

Recent work 2014-18[edit]

In December 2014, Taylor launched the 'immersive narrative app' Reptile Resistance in collaboration with John Crump through the crowdfunding publisher Unbound; funding was secured in 2017.[14] The app is illustrated by the artist Pete Fowler.

Taylor co-wrote (with Jeremy Sheldon) the screenplay of the 2015 film Writers Retreat.[15]

Taylor's latest novel, Staying On, is published by Duckworth in 2018 and described as a 'tragi-comic geriatric coming-of-age story and a deep, loving portrait of the English working class'.[16] In 2014 he began a project with the British Library to document the creative process of writing the book. In a 2017 interview Taylor explained: 'They have put what is effectively a piece of spyware on a laptop on which I’m writing a novel, and this spyware documents every key stroke I make, and documents the time it was made.'[17]

Taylor is also an associate lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies.[18]

Published works[edit]

  • Light, as C. M. Taylor (ISBN 978-1-905315-00-0, ebook ISBN 978-1-905315-11-6)
  • Grief, as C. M. Taylor (first published under the name Ed Lark) (ISBN 978-1-905315-02-4, ebook ISBN 978-1-905315-10-9)
  • Cloven, as C. M. Taylor (ISBN 978-1-905315-04-8, ebook ISBN 978-1-905315-12-3)
  • Premiership Psycho, as C. M. Taylor (2011, ISBN 978-1-84901-594-3)
  • Group of Death, as C. M. Taylor (2012, ebook ISBN 978-1-47210-208-9)
  • Staying On, as C. M. Taylor (2018, ISBN 978-0-71565-337-1)