Stewart Ennis, Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance PhD scholar is launching his first novel titled ‘Blessed Assurance’ in Autumn 2019.
“The fact of the matter is Joseph Kirkland was afraid. Afraid of not being Saved. Afraid of being Saved. Afraid of the transformation that would occur the moment he uttered those words, Jesus! God! I want you to come into my heart!”
Blessed Assurance is a coming of age novel set against the back-drop of a small close-knit evangelical community in the fic-tional Scottish village of Kilhaugh one fog bound December in the late nineteen sixties, when the cold war was on the brink of turning hot. The story takes place over six soul searching days in the life of God-fearing dog-thief and pyro-maniac, 11year-old Joseph Kirkland, and his godless, devil-may-care best friend, Archie Truman, as the perpetually guilt-ridden Joseph attempts to put right what he believes to be the most terrible of lies. It is peopled with colourful characters, peppered with moments of tenderness, tragedy and occasion-al surreal humour. At its heart though, Blessed Assurance is an exploration of family, friendship, faith and grief, and the compromises that sometimes have to be made to remain part of our community.
“This is the writer I always dreamed of finding – a born stylist with a story as intimate and vast as all creation. Ennis is the Scottish James Joyce.”
How I Live Now (Orange Fiction Award, Astrid Lindgrin Memorial Prize, LA Times Book Prize )
“Ennis’s debut novel hovers constantly between comedy and tragedy. Small town Scotland is seen in perceptive detail through the eyes of an eleven year old boy. Characters, like the unforgetta-ble itinerant preacher, Benjamin Mutch, leap into our heads and take us over. Steeped in matters of faith and rejection, the book offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into a past world which makes you turn the pages in a quest for answers.”
Midwinter Break, Cal, Lamb, Grace Notes (Saltire Award, Irish Book of the Year)
“A sixties childhood like no other. Characters Mark Twain or Flannery O’Connor would have been proud to have begotten. The earnest, scab scouring schoolboy dreamer and precocious would be mis-sionary, Joseph Kirkland takes his well-earned place amongst the many youthful savants and seers populating the coming of age stories that predominate in Caledonian letters. Ennis’s episodic struc-ture -tableaux vibrantly vivants -have the stand alone presence to compel even as excerpts. But cumu-latively these vignettes take on a mass and momentum that propel this deep and deft, richly rewarding debut novel towards precincts of the psyche as yet unprowled in contemporary Scottish fiction.”
Donny O’ Rourke
Writer, editor of landmark anthology, Dreamstate: the new Scottish Poets
Notes for Editors