Sun shines on two humble working-class Stevenage lads – ahead of prestigious award

PUBLISHED: 09:46 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:06 15 May 2017

Adrian Tempany

Adrian Tempany


The town of Stevenage might be in the news as a key marginal seat in June’s General Election – but two hugely successful authors credit the town for giving them a platform for their achievements.

Gary YoungeGary Younge

Well-respected authors, Adrian Tempany and Gary Younge, who both hail from the town, are being heralded for their influential books which have both been longlisted for June’s hugely-respected 2017 Orwell Prize – an award for political writing closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

The award will release its highly-coveted shortlist later today ahead of announcing the winner next month.

Adrian – who has written features for The Guardian and The Observer as well as the Financial Times penned a ground-breaking and critically-acclaimed tome And The Sun Shines Now – How Hillsborough and the Premier League changed Britain. It has also been shortlisted for the Cross Sports Book Awards in two categories – New Writer of the Year and Football Book of the Year – and the Gordon Burn Prize.

Speaking to the Comet Adrian said modestly: “I’m honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious prize, and I like to think Orwell himself might approve, because this is a book about the exploitation of the working-class and our culture, through the gentrification of football.

“And the fact of Gary and I both being nominated is a reminder that state-school kids from Stevenage can hold their own with anyone.’

Another son of Stevenage who made the Orwell award longlist is Gary – editor-at-large for the Guardian. His latest read, Another Day in the Death of America, published by Guardian Faber is out on September 29. Gary, who was born in the town in 1969, the son of Barbadian parents, is similarly proud of his roots.

Writing for the Guardian he recalled fondly: “Stevenage was a great place to grow up. The schools were good. There was a bowling alley, swimming pool and a huge manmade lake. We were near London, we were even nearer Knebworth – the small village that held huge concerts. But we were in Stevenage. So we went with what we had. And we had quite a lot.”

And The Sun Shines Now, published by Faber and Faber is out now. £9.99. Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America, published Faber Guardian is out on September 29.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the The Comet