Old Street and Bunhill star in debut novel


An interview with AJ Thomas by Matt Bloomfield, featured in Islington Now


Until 2015, South Islington’s most prominent literary celebrities were Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe and mystic poet William Blake, both buried in Bunhill graveyard.


But now long time resident AJ Thomas has immortalised the area in his debut novel, Young Lad on Old Street.


Harry, the eponymous Young Lad, is a 20-year-old from a broken home. His parents don’t realise that he’s gay or that he’s earning a dangerous living as an escort.


Why Old Street? “Well, to a great degree it was the pun in the title,” Thomas joked, before expanding: “Harry pretends he’s grown up in Old Street, he pretends to be edgy, but he’s a suburban boy.”


Harry hooks up with clients in Old Street and is taken on a tour of Bunhill graveyard by one ageing American gentleman, who inadvertently exposes the Young Lad’s ignorance of the area and its history.


Before long Harry is embroiled in a London-wide web of plots and deceit.

“The novel could have been called Young Lad in Surbiton,” Thomas said. “But there perhaps wouldn’t be such a large market in Surbiton.”


But South Islington is the centre of this exploration of metropolitan life in the 21st century. As the author says: “Soho is boring.”


See the original article in Islington Now - click here



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