Ceri Shaw


 

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THE MINERS STRIKE BACK – “AT ONCE HILARIOUS, AUTHENTIC, AND THOROUGHLY CHARMING”

user image 2023-09-11
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Book News

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The Miners Strike Back  is a new satirical novel by ex-miner Kevin Dicks and published by Y Lolfa. It is his debut novel and has been described as ‘ Twin Town  meets the Miners’ Strike”. 

Kevin Dicks said:

“The idea for the novel came to me whilst digging in my garden I came across a few rogue lumps of coal. What if an ex-coal miner discovered a seam of coal and opened a small clandestine colliery? I saw comedy in the story and a quirkiness to the story that may appeal to readers. As an authentic voice, perhaps I could capture a little of the miners’ humour before it disappears for good.” 

Dr Daryl Leeworthy of the South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University, calls it “A madcap valleys comedy with a serious message for our times. Dicks reads like the heir to Iain Banks, Gwyn Thomas, and Boyd Clack's  Satellite City . At once hilarious, authentic, and thoroughly charming.” 

Kevin Dicks mostly worked as a surveyor’s assistant at Deep Navigation Colliery, Treharris from 1974 until 1988. He has dedicated  The Miners Strike Back  ‘For the Miners’. 

“The further I got into writing this story, the deeper a sense of injustice arose within me. I saw injustices toward the miners everywhere and they underpin the humour of the book. When Johnny the Cutter opens his secret coal mine, with good intentions to provide work for the local antisocial teens, he becomes an anti-hero you can root for. While seeing the world through a coal miner’s eyes, we want him to succeed and it becomes a battleground between employment and energy needs against climate needs.” 

“This story is unique, as to my knowledge there are no working-class novels that examine the failure to economically regenerate mining communities post heavy industry. There is very little out there regarding novels on climate change or the energy crisis and certainly none from the perspective of an ex-coal miner.” 

March 2024 sees the 40-year anniversary of when the Miners Strike began in the UK. The industrial action within the British coal industry was an attempt to prevent colliery closures by the Conservative government, and lasted until 1985. 

The Miners Strike Back  by Kevin Dicks (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.