Alan Parkinson is a Sunderland born and bred author who is passionate about his hometown. Having grew up on Southwick and attended St. Aidans’ R.C Sixth Form, his works have been driven by a desire to promote a greater understanding of wearside and its working class culture. Kicking off with “Leg it!” in 2001, Alan has penned 5 numbers novel which all emphasis a humorous, yet realistic and down to earth view of the city and the nostalgia of his childhood. His works aim to show how “working class people can be the hero” rather than “to be saved and pitied”.
“I’m proud of being from Sunderland”- Parkinson told Sunderland Global Media. He stated that his works aim to promote the theme of the city in the view to challenging a “London Centric” literature which is “very middle class” aiming to “give readers from outside the region a refreshing view of the city that they possibly weren’t aware of” and explore what he describes as “hidden culture” within not only Sunderland as a whole, but in the local community of Southwick.
Although he though he noted the deprivation present within the estate, Parkinson’s work has sought to tie these social factors with a realistic and nuanced approach to his characters through a mixture of humour and crime themes, aiming to “add layers” and show that “nobody is one dimensional”. However, rather than depicting this as a negative impression of the area, he has sought to place emphasis on “the importance of friendship and how the underdog can overcome adversity if they join forces with their mates”. In doing so, he stated “the community has been very supportive” of his works.
In doing so, Parkinson acknowledges that it has been impossible for his work to avoid veiled political and social commentaries concerning Sunderland, but nevertheless he’s been able to hit home with some signifciant messages. As he notes, two of his works including “Troll Life” (2017) and “Idle Threats” (2015) have explored life working in call centers, which “reflect the pressure that workers with few options are put under.” and the role of “bullying disguised as efficiency and career advancement” in work places. He notes this builds into a wider message that explores the feeling that workers “are trapped” and “the lengths some will go to to escape lives they hate”.
Now, Alan is working on his 5th novel, titled “Burying Reggie”, a work which has been given a creative development fellowship by the Sunderland Culture Organization. Beyond novels, he’s also working on writing a couple of plays and even aspires one to day to create television adaptations! As he moves foward, he’s been touched by the response of his work overrall, stating: “It’s always been the intention to make people laugh and cry but to know that I’ve had that impact on people will never cease to surprise to me.”