Jake Arnott (born 11 March 1961) is a British novelist, author of The Long Firm and four other novels.
In 2005 Arnott was ranked one of Britain’s 100 most influential gay and lesbian people.
Since 2005 he has been in a relationship with writer and novelist, Stephanie Theobald.
In May 2001 he was included in a list of the fifty most influential gay men in Britain it was declared that ‘he is widely regarded as one of Britain’s most promising novelists, quite regardless of sexuality’.
Arnott was born in Buckinghamshire. Having left Aylesbury Grammar School at 17, he had various jobs including labourer, mortuary technician, artist’s model, theatrical agency assistant, actor with the Red Ladder Theatre Company in Leeds and appeared as a mummy in the film The Mummy.
He came out as bisexual in his twenties. His sister, Deborah Arnott, is Chief Executive of the campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health, ASH.
Article on Arnott (http://www.biggayread.com/bgrrecommends/jake_arnott.php) – Big Gay Read
Arnott swaps slammer for glamour (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5245154.stm) – BBC News, 4 August 2006
Review of The Long Firm and interview with Jake Arnott (http://keeperofthesnails.blogspot.co.uk/2005/10/jake-arnott-and-long-firm.html) on Keeper of the Snails, October 2005
All of the novels by Jake Arnott are engaged in the excavation of secret histories in the teasing out and restoration of events that have taken place beneath the surface of society.
The Long Firm (1999) tells of Harry Starks, a homosexual East End gangster in the 1960s. It includes references to many real life characters of the time including the Kray twins, Tom Driberg. and Judy Garland. A notable feature is that the story is told from five different points of view. It was adapted as a BBC 2 drama serial starring Derek Jacobi, Phil Daniels and Mark Strong, broadcast in July 2004 and nominated for six BAFTAs, winning two.
He Kills Coppers (2001) tells of a criminal on the run, based on real life cop killer Harry Roberts, the tale starting in 1966, the year of England’s World Cup triumph, through to the Margaret Thatcher era, the Greenham Common protests of the 1980s and the Poll Tax Riots. It was later adapted for television, appearing on ITV1 in the UK in March and April 2008.
truecrime (2003) takes up the story of a gangster found dead at Starks’ Spanish villa at the end of The Long Firm. The dead man’s daughter wants to flush out Harry Starks, whom she suspects of the murder (she is an actress and uses the making of a film about old time British gangsters as a means of tempting his appearance).
Johnny Come Home (2006) shifts from a focus on the criminal underworld to the early 1970s with a plot involving The Angry Brigade and a glam rock star inspired by Gary Glitter. Johnny Come Home had been withdrawn from sale in the UK due to the presence of a villainous former bandleader named Tony Rocco; there is a real former bandleader of that name, who objected to the character’s name. The book has now been reissued with the character’s name changed to Timothy Royal.
The Devil’s Paintbrush (2009) is set in Paris in 1903, and deals with an encounter between disgraced homosexual former British Army officer Sir Hector MacDonald and the occultist Aleister Crowley.
The House of Rumour (2012) is set in London, Southern California and Munich during the Second World War and its aftermath. An American SF writer founds a new religion, a rocket scientist dabbles in the black arts and Rudolf Hess makes his dramatic night flight to Scotland after consulting astrologists. Described by the critic Mark Lawson as ‘A conspiracy thriller filled with bewildering connections, dark conjecture and arcane information, The House of Rumour perhaps most resembles The Da Vinci Code, rewritten by an author with the gifts of characterisation, wit and literacy.'
1. ^ Birthdays, The Guardian, 11 March 2014: 33
2. ^ Rainbownetwork.com, (29 June 2005), The Pink List 2005 (http://www.rainbownetwork.com/Features/detail.asp?
iData=23702&iCat=32&iChannel=25&nChannel=Features#top). Retrieved 25 June 2007.
3. ^ “The A list”. Attitude. May 2001.
4. ^ The Guardian “Jake’s progress” (http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/crime/story/0,,476374,00.html), The Guardian, interview by Tim Adams, from 22 April 2001, retrieved 18 May 2008
5. ^ “Fiction in Brief”. Times Literary Supplement. 17 July 2009.
6. ^ “2005 Baftas” (http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000123/2005). IMDb. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
7. ^ Tony Rocco and Hodder & Stoughton – Press Release (http://www.carter-ruck.com/recentwork/Tony_Rocco_PressRelease15_11_06.html)
8. ^ The Guardian. 29 June 2012.
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