Winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award.
All islands have their secrets.
This one has more than most.
‘The Letters Of Ivor Punch’
When Fingal McMillan rows out into the Atlantic never to return, his grandson Alexander is left with questions. What really happened to Alexander’s mother? Was his grandfather trying to reach The Looming, a rock of local myth? And why have mysterious words appeared on the cliff by the bay?
Alexander is not the only local boy whose origins are clouded by mystery – a mystery which stretches back to Victorian times, when a pioneering travel writer alighted on distant Hebridean shores. But will the island give up its secrets? Or will Ivor Punch – the man who links the past to the present – take them to the grave?
‘I raced through this clever, poignant, beautiful book in one sitting. It’s peopled by a cast of brilliantly off-the-wall characters, and full of keen-eyed observations about life on a remote Scottish island – and, by extension, everywhere. A must-read.’
Laura Barnett, Best-selling author of The Versions Of Us
“As a songwriter, Colin MacIntyre seems always to have been a natural storyteller. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he turned his abilities to the longer form of the novel. It is fitting that the man best known as Mull Historical Society has crafted a story to which he has put his own name, yet it is a novel which owes so much to his roots on the island of Mull. Such powerful storytelling resonated strongly with readers at the Book Festival, making Colin a runaway winner in voting for the First Book Award.”
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival
“He writes with a clarity of style.”
“We meet a pioneering female writer, two fatherless boys, a man who fell from the sky and, of course, the prolific letter writer Ivor Punch.”
The Big Issue In The North
“The Punch family history is both fascinating and sad. The book is interesting, funny, has a famous cameo and keeps you reading, and it’s only when you reach the end of the final chapter that the Punch family history falls into place… The characters are original, well-written, and it’s one of those books you want to re-read after you’ve finished it.”
‘A truly original and enthralling novel. Ivor Punch is a magnificent creation and his story is mischievous, sad, funny and truthful.’
Stephen Kelman, Booker Short-Listed Author of Pigeon English
‘Tragedy and superstition hang over the characters like a mist, and the sea laps against every page. A Beguiling novel.’
The Independent On Sunday
‘An incredible novel. A thing of genius and wonder by an artist, a creator, in the truest sense of the word.’
We Love This Book.com
‘MacIntyre is a storyteller with a unique imagination, and has created a genuinely heartfelt novel with some standout elements of dark comedy. The shadow of death is a striking, compelling theme.’
“Fascinating and sad … interesting, funny [and] one of those books you want to re-read after you’ve finished.”
New Books Magazine
‘A stunning debut.’
Waterstones Piccadilly, London
COLIN MACINTYRE’S debut novel ’The Letters of Ivor Punch’ is the winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s 2015 First Book Award. It was published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in May 2015, having attracted a 4-publisher auction, and was also long listed for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. Stephen Kelman, Booker Short-Listed author of ‘Pigeon English’, has said of the novel: ‘A truly original and enthralling novel. Ivor Punch is a magnificent creation and his story is mischievous, sad, funny and truthful.’ Colin is an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has released seven albums to date, most notably under the name Mull Historical Society, so far achieving two Top 20 albums and four Top 40 singles. His most recent MHS album is 2016’s ‘Dear Satellite’, which features the song ‘The Ballad of Ivor Punch’.
He has been voted Scotland’s Top Creative Talent and has toured worldwide, including with The Strokes, Elbow and REM, and has played all the major festivals. He has performed live on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 4, Later with Jools Holland and The Jonathan Ross Show, among many others. He is the co-author of a Radio 4 Afternoon Play, and has collaborated with Tony Benn and Irvine Welsh.
His other musical project is Field Stars, an electro art-pop collaboration. Born into a family of writers and storytellers, Colin, a descendant of the Gaelic warrior-poet, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, grew up on the isle of Mull in the Hebrides, where his ‘Bard of Mull’ grandfather, Angus Macintyre, was charismatic bank manager by day and published poet and raconteur by night. Colin’s father was the much respected BBC Scotland Political & Industrial Correspondent, Kenny Macintyre. Colin now lives in London. The paperback edition of ‘The Letters of Ivor Punch’ was published by W&N Books on April 14th, 2016. Colin is currently working on his second novel.