Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gez Casey; READERS' LIVESGez Gez Casey, Literary Manager at Live Theatre on Newcastle Quayside, Picks Five Books He Read First as a Teenager. "They Seemed Really Important to Me at the Time," He Says, "And, Although They're Less Important Now, They've Probably Helped to Shape Who I Am and What I Do."

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gez Casey; READERS' LIVESGez Gez Casey, Literary Manager at Live Theatre on Newcastle Quayside, Picks Five Books He Read First as a Teenager. "They Seemed Really Important to Me at the Time," He Says, "And, Although They're Less Important Now, They've Probably Helped to Shape Who I Am and What I Do."

Article excerpt

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe ( WH Allen, 1958) Reading this first when I was 13 (I grew up in Coventry and the novel is set in Nottingham) it seemed to me that this book was the first time I could recognise the world around me being reflected in the world of a novel. For a while I think I probably wanted to be Arthur Seaton, the book's hero (played by Albert Finney in the film), carefully balancing a chip on both shoulders. But looking back now, I also loved the lyricism of the writing - the ability to see something poetic in such an ordinary setting. A city centre bus at night, for instance, was "a lighted greenhouse, growing people". Some of the writers I was lucky enough to work with later (such as Julia Darling and Tom Hadaway) had a similar eye for detail.

The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (Penguin, 1970) After reading Animal Farm and 1984 at school, I became fascinated with George Orwell's non-fiction. He seemed to me to be clear-sighted and fearless in his observation and criticism. His description of everyday lives and his response to the political upheavals of the time seemed both meticulous and honest. Also, bits of the advice to writers in the essay Politics and the English Language (including "Never use a long word where a short one will do"; "Never use the passive where you can use the active"; and "Where you can cut a word out, always cut it out." ) seem just as relevant to writers (and playwrights) working today.

The Penguin Dorothy Parker, edited by Brendan Gill (Penguin, 1977) Knowing Dorothy Parker initially for her whip smart one-liners, it was a revelation to discover the depth and pathos of the poems and short stories in this collection. Reading this book led me onto other great humorists of the time who also worked at The New Yorker: James Thurber, George S Kaufman and SJ Perelman. I spent quite a lot of my twenties writing and performing sketch comedy, thinking that The Red House on Newcastle's Quayside could be the new Algonquin Hotel - with mixed results. Even today, when I'm stressed and the phone rings, I often think of Dorothy's reflex response: "What fresh hell is this? …

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