Paul’s book success is a real American tale

Paul Brownsey
Paul Brownsey

A talented writer from Bearsden is thrilled to have a collection of his short stories published for the first time at the age of 71.

Paul Brownsey, from Larchfield Road in Bearsden, made history 10 years ago when he and his partner, Jim McKenzie, were the first people to have a civil partnership in East Dunbartonshire.

He has previously had short stories published in literary magazines and in anthologies, both in the UK and in English-speaking countries abroad.

He also won the Jane Austen Short Story Award 2011 run by Chawton House Library.

Now Paul has seen his first full book of short stories printed, and it has happened in the US rather than the UK.

It came about after one of his short stories, ‘True In My Fashion’, was accepted for an American anthology called ‘Best Gay Romance’ last year.

A complete stranger who had connections with a publisher in America contacted him out of the blue to say he’d read the story four times because he loved it so much and he thought he was a “genius”.

He offered to help Paul make a pitch to the publisher and this resulted in a contract with ‘Lethe Press’ in New Jersey for his book ‘Steadfast Love and Other Stories’.

Paul, a former philosophy lecturer at Glasgow University, said: “If that sounds like a fairy story, something that doesn’t happen in real life, well, it happened to me.

“At first I couldn’t help being suspicious. I wondered if I was being offered a vanity project and would I suddenly be hit by a demand for several thousand dollars?

“You hear about attempts to scam writers all the time and I couldn’t help being a bit sceptical.

“But everything was above board and my book came out last September.

“It’s astonishing that a publisher who hadn’t heard of me before took a chance.”

All the stories are set in Scotland, and the publisher has even allowed him to keep UK spellings such as ‘labour’ and ‘humour’ and Scottish words like ‘dreich’.