Welcome to the website of the author Jonathan Taylor.

I am author of the novels Entertaining Strangers (Salt, 2012) and Melissa (Salt, 2015), and the memoir Take Me Home: Parkinson’s, My Father, Myself (Granta Books, 2007). My poetry collections are Cassandra Complex (Shoestring, 2018) and Musicolepsy (Shoestring Press, 2013); my short story collections are Kontakte and Other Stories (Roman Books, 2013 and 2014) and most recently Scablands and Other Stories (Salt, 2023). 

Cassandra Complex was shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Prize 2019. Melissa and Entertaining Strangers were both shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award (2013 and 2016), and longlisted for Not the Booker Prize (2013 and 2016), run by The Guardian. Kontakte and Other Stories was shortlisted for the Saboteur Best Short Story Collection Award 2014, and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize 2014 and Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2014.

I am co-editor, with Karen Stevens, of the anthology High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories (Valley Press, November 2018). I am editor of Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud (Salt, November 2012), winner of the Saboteur Award 2013 for Best Fiction Anthology. I am Series Editor of Stretto Fictions for Roman Books. 

I am also Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the U.K., where I direct the M.A. in Creative Writing. Academically speaking, I am author of the monographs Mastery and Slavery in Victorian Writing (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003), Science and Omniscience in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Sussex Academic, 2007), and Laughter, Literature, Violence, 1840-1930 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019). I am co-editor, with Andrew Dix, of the collection of essays, Figures of Heresy (Sussex Academic, 2005). 

You can contact me and see more details about me and my work here.

I hope you enjoy exploring my site. Please do get in touch with any questions or comments about the site or my work.



New academic book published

My new academic monograph, Laughter, Literature, Violence, 1840-1930, is published by Palgrave-Macmillan in March 2019. You can read more details about it here









New anthology of drinking stories published



High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories, an anthology of short stories which I’ve co-edited with Karen Stevens, has been published by Valley Press. The anthology celebrates the highs, lows, pleasures, pains and horrors of alcohol.


You can order the book here. You can read a short article about the book here.


Cassandra Complex, my new poetry collection, now published



My new poetry collection, Cassandra Complex, is now published by Shoestring Press. Cassandra Complex is a collection of poems, found poems, found translations, mis-translations, prophecies, pseudo-prophecies, apocalyptic visions and moments of retroactive clairvoyance.


You can see more details about it here, and can read an article about it here


‘Scablands’: Short Story Published


My longest and most ambitious short story to date, ‘Scablands,’ set in a high school in the aftermath of the ’80s miners’ strike, has been published by Fairlight Books. You can read it in full here


Melissa, second novel, published and shortlisted for award



My second novel, Melissa, has now been published by Salt Publishing.


It has been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize.


Read more about Melissa here.


At roughly 2p.m. on the 9th of June 1999, on a small street in Stoke-on-Trent, a young girl called Melissa Comb dies of complications arising from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Immediately afterwards, all the residents on the street experience the same musical hallucination: starting with a high-pitched shriek, they feel compelled to leave their houses, whereupon they all hear – or think they hear – the same piece of beautiful orchestral music. Melissa is about this collective musical hallucination, and its aftermath over the following year. Whilst everyone’s gaze seems fixed on what becomes known as ‘The Spark Close Phenomenon,’ nobody seems to notice what’s happening to the family at the centre of it all, as it quietly disintegrates in the wake of Melissa’s death.


Second edition of short story collection



My short story collection, Kontakte and Other Stories, has now been published in a second edition by Roman Books. The second edition includes a new short Preface on Musical Fictions.


You can see more details about Kontakte and Other Stories here.


You can order the book here.


Second novel longlisted for award


My second novel, Melissa, was longlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize 2013.


Short story collection and awards



My short story collection, Kontakte and Other Stories, has now been published by Roman Books. It has been longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize 2014 and Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2014, and shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection 2014.


You can see more details about the book here, or at Roman Books here.


Anthology wins award, and featured on Radio 3



The anthology of stories Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud (Salt, 2012) has won the ‘Best Fiction Anthology’ category in the Saboteur Awards 2013. You can see more details of the awards here.


In September 2013, the anthology was also featured on Ian McMillan’s BBC Radio 3 show, The Verb.


Poetry collection published



My poetry collection, Musicolepsy, has now been published by Shoestring Press.


You can see more details about Musicolepsy either here, or at Shoestring Press here.


You can read excerpts from Musicolepsy on Michelle McGrane’s website, Peony Moon.


Novel and awards



My novel, Entertaining Strangers, published by Salt, has been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2013, and longlisted for The Guardian Not the Booker Prize 2013. You can see more information about the novel, watch a trailer, and order it on the publisher’s website here, or you can order it from Amazon here.


Poems on Radio 3


My poem ‘Record Shop, Lime Street, Liverpool’ was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast programme on Wednesday 16 January 2013. My poem ‘On Hearing Glenn Gould Play the First Nine Bars of J. S. Bach’s Praeludium 8’ was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Words and Music programme on Sunday 3 March.


Interviews and articles


You can read a new interview with me about becoming a writer on Kelcey Parker’s excellent site How to Become a Writer. You can read an interview about my novel on Conversations With Writers. You can read an article about the research behind my novel on Necessary Fiction.


The Independent


My review of Sue Hubbard’s novel Girl in White was published on 29 November 2012 in The Independent newspaper. My review of Jenn Ashworth’s novel The Friday Gospels was published on 26 February 2013, also in The Independent.


Hearing Voices Magazine



The new, fifth issue of Hearing Voices Magazine, edited by myself and Maria Taylor, is now published by Crystal Clear Creators. Hearing Voices Magazine, vol. 5, features poetry and short fiction by Myra Schneider, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Michael Waters, John Hoppenthaler, Robert Graham, Rory Waterman, C. J. Allen, Angela France, Lisa Mansell, and many others.