May, Stephen (2016) Life! Death! Prizes! Resisting Generic Representation. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project contains the novel 'Life! Death! Prizes!' which was published by Bloomsbury in the UK in April 2012 and in the USA in September 2012. 'Life! Death! Prizes!' was later translated into German as Wir Kommen Schon Klar and published by Berlin Verlag in 2013. The novel was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and The Guardian Not The Booker Prize. The commentary which accompanies the novel explores the starting points for the book, which were my dissatisfaction with my work as a television storyliner on Emmerdale and my discovery of the world of story contained within ‘real life’ magazines such as Chat, Bella, Pick It Up, Love It, Take A Break etc. In the commentary I will explore the narrative strategies used to build an accessible literary novel that borrows from the structure of a ‘real life’ magazine story while observing closely the society we are living in. A novel that explores the nature of the contemporary family and what it is to be a young man trying to build a life in 21st century Britain.

In the first chapter I look at how my ostensibly realist and voice-driven novel uses the folk tale Hansel and Gretel and techniques borrowed from ancient Greek drama, as well as exploiting the possibilities and challenges offered by the use of both generic instability and unreliable narration. The second chapter investigates more explicitly the politics of the novel. In this chapter I seek to address how the police, education, local government workers, the law and social services are represented in popular culture and how far these representations are supported, critiqued or challenged by the unreliable narration in 'Life! Death! Prizes!' In both chapters I will assess the current landscape of contemporary fiction and describe where my novel fits within it.

FINAL THESIS - May.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 September 2026.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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