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'That was how Christina had first seen him, imagining him at first to be some offbeat academic conducting his tutorial in the open air. Only gradually did she learn that Peake was no lecturer, or leastways was not on any faculty’s payroll. While occasionally he might attend a public lecture, it would be to sit it out impatient for the question and answer session, which he would use to interrogate the speaker to the point of distress or, indeed, beyond it.’

– Extract from ‘The Better Craftsman’.

The Better Craftsman & Other Stories contains the winning entries from the Leaf Books Summer Short Story Competition. The ten unremittingly brilliant tales nestling within cover subjects as diverse as a student’s getting the most out of a maverick academic, a couple’s raising a family in a never-ending traffic jam and a landlubberly boy’s first visit to the seaside.

It arrived back from the printers on Thursday and as such is now officially available for purchase:

It really is very good. Go on: treat yourself.