More of Mr Key’s Shorter, Potted Brief, Brief Lives

mr key brief lives cover

Back in September 2013, Frank Key posted on The Dabbler his idea of writing a book of very, very brief lives. Thanks in part to the enthusiastic reaction of the Dabbler audience and commenters, this idea has now become a reality, and Mr Key’s Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives will be published by Constable in October (with an introduction by our own Brit).

You can pre-order it on Amazon here. In the meantime, following the initial taster a few weeks ago, here are some more extracts…

Brooke, Charles (British, Rajah of Sarawak, 1829 – 1917). An austere character, Brooke deemed jam “effeminate” and replaced his glass eye with one taken from a stuffed albatross.

Callaghan, James (British politician and Prime Minister, 1912 – 2005). When Tom Driberg married Ena Binfield in 1951, Callaghan gave them as a wedding present four ashtrays, two of which were broken.

Charles I (British king, 1600 – 1649). According to John Selden, during Charles’ reign, there was “nothing but Trenchmore & the Cushion dance, Omnium gatherum, tolly polly, hoyte come toyte”.

Gibson, Willie (Irish, 2nd Baron Ashbourne, 1868 – 1942). An enthusiastic Gaelic nationalist, Gibson was rumoured to keep a tortoise in his sporran.

Leopold II (Belgian king, 1835 – 1909). King Leopold’s daily breakfast consisted of six poached eggs, an enormous number of slices of toast, and an entire jar of marmalade.

Russell, Ken (British film director, 1927 – 2011). According to Glenda Jackson, the only direction Russell ever gave to his actors was to say “It needs to be a bit more … urrrgh”, or “a bit less hmmm”.

Stein, Gertrude (American writer, 1874 – 1946). Stein liked to write while looking at cows. She and Alice B Toklas would drive around until they found a suitable spot, then Stein would sit on a campstool armed witb pad and pencil, while Toklas coaxed a cow into her line of vision.

Wesley, Samuel (British clergyman and poet, 1662 – 1735). On Christmas Day 1716, Wesley was haunted by an apparition of a badger with no head. It was called Jeffrey.

Charles Brooke: deemed jam effeminate, had albatross’s eye

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

One thought on “More of Mr Key’s Shorter, Potted Brief, Brief Lives

    Daniel K
    September 6, 2015 at 15:53

    I am so glad this is going to be published.

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