The works of a celebrated Manx author are to be reissued next month.
‘Tomato Cain and Other Stories’, featuring some of the most well-known short stories written by the famous author Nigel Kneale, will be released in hardback by Comma Press on August 18.
Originally published in 1949, ‘Tomato Cain and Other Stories’ is the sole collectyyion of short fiction by Nigel Kneale, who was better known as a screen writer.
With many of his stories influenced by his experiences of growing up on the Isle of Man, many of Kneale’s tales conjure up a remote, old-fashioned community where mythology and superstition are part of everyday life, with several stories going further, making imaginative leaps into the kind of weird, eerie territory.
First published in 1949, the majority of the stories were written on and about the Isle of Man, and feature the title story alongside such locally-themed work as ‘The Excursion’, ‘The Putting-away of Uncle Quaggin’, ‘The Tarroo Ushtey’ and ‘Curphey’s Follower’.
It will also feature two ‘lost’ stories, ‘Billy Halloran’, written about a hitman with inner demons, and ‘It Doesn’t Matter Now’, about a judge on his 90th birthday being accosted by a convict he wrongly imprisoned decades before.
These have never been published before and were unearthed whilst researching the re-issue.
The book will also feature an introduction from the horror fanatic and Nigel Kneale fan Mark Gatiss, a member of the comedy team The League of Gentleman, who also starred in BBC’s Sherlock.
Kneale is more famously known for writing the ground-breaking 1950s sci-fi thriller ‘The Quatermass Experiment’, one of the first of such novels to reference the anxiety of the idea of space travels alongside the burgeoning anxieties around the Cold War.
That led to a popular series of films, television programmes and radio plays featuring the titular hero, Bernard Quatermass, including ‘Quatermass and the Pit’.
The success of ‘Quatermass’ led Kneale to be described as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, and was described by Mark Gatiss as ‘having invented popular TV’.
He enjoyed a long career in screen writing, working on Hammer Film Productions and Thames Television between 1953 and 1996. He also wrote original scripts and successfully adapted works by writers such as George Orwell, John Osborne and H. G. Wells among others, and was twice nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay.
The famed author was born in Lancashire, but grew up and was educated on the Isle of Man. To mark his then-considerable achievements, Nigel was named ‘Manxman of the Year’ in 1957
‘Tomato Cain and other Stories’ won 1950 Somerset Maugham Award and remains popular with legions of fans globally.
The collection, which has been out of print for some years, is being released to mark the centenary of the author’s birth.