Xiaolu Guo has described Astroturf
as 'a frank and remarkable debut', for its 'exploration of masculinity, love, and the plural identities that entangle us all in the contemporary world'. Olivia Laing has called it 'a wickedly funny tale of how to come out on top in a fake news world'.
Matthew will be in conversation with Luke Kennard, a writer of 'wit and astonishing virtuosity' (William Boyd).
Matthew Sperling was born in Kent in 1982. His short fiction has been published in 3:AM, The Junket and Best British Short Stories 2015, and he has also written criticism and poetry. He is a lecturer in English at UCL.
Luke Kennard is the author of The Transition (2017), a novel longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and of five collections of poetry, including Cain (2016), shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. He lectures at the University of Birmingham.
More about Astroturf: At 30, Ned is in a rut. His girlfriend has dumped him, his job is boring and he lives in a dismal bedsit. While others around him climb the property ladder and get ahead, he seems destined to remain one of life's plodders. Encouraged by a friend to try using anabolic steroids to bulk up his frame, Ned is pleased to discover a new vitality within himself. Physical changes are only the beginning: his mental state is clearer, he feels more confident and, most thrillingly of all, friends and lovers alike seem compelled by this new improved Ned.
Using his knowledge of the murky yet surprising online world of steroids, Ned begins to build a business and discovers that his talents can take him further than he ever thought possible. But when his new life is threatened, he finds himself doing things he never would have dared to do before. And it all seems to be going fine.