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New writer 2024: Les Hodge

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Les Hodge is an Edinburgh-based writer. Previously, he was a musician and part of the writing and production team behind Coco And The Bean. He co-wrote and co-produced all the Edinburgh act's tunes – released first on Baghdad Radio Records and later on Beggars Banquet. He brought a number of singers, rappers and musicians from across Scotland, England and the US into the project and he was also part of Coco And The Bean's live set-up – providing both bass and vocals.

Les also produced for York-based hip-hop outfit New Flesh and wrote for Leeds vocalist Gwen Esty’s neo-soul project Harmonized. Later he went on to both write and perform as part of the Mystikman spoken-word project Alien Paradise. He is currently working on his first novel.

Writing sample

i was diagnosed one year ago 

following a disturbance

bipolar they said

it was the polis picked me up 

they brought me in this time as well

both times to strathmore psychiatric hospital

nurses telling me to breathe

just breathe they’re going

a bag over my mouth

but it’s not working

nothing will

not till the anti-psychotics kick in 

and drag me back down to earth

my folks visit me

rootle and walter visit

my uncle fortune visits

the doctors know my medication inside out

but they know fuck all about my life

where and how i live or what i do

that i’m married to marilyn

that i was kicking a ball about for a living before all this

i’ll soon be out of hospital 

my second stay in a year at an end

and apart from a few outpatients appointments

i’ll be dealing with the second part of this illness alone

the heebies are already on their way

no question

cos with bipolar as the saying goes

what goes up must come down

Les says:

‘I’m very grateful to be getting a New Writers Award and I'm looking forward to the coming year – to meeting, working with and learning from a range of people involved in the world of writing. It's a fantastic opportunity not only to develop my own skills as a writer but also to get a wider understanding of how the whole book business itself operates.’