Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Saturday 07 May 2011

Brighton-Based Investigative Journalist Set To Speak About His Five-Years In Solitude & Near-Death Experience

A former award-winning BBC Panorama reporter headlines a literary event with his debut memoir that documents a half-decade living in a remote Welsh cabin – with no electricity or water.

Neil Ansell will read from his book Deep Country at Brighton Festival Fringe night Grit Lit.

The book was published in April on Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton, but climbed the bestsellers list before it was even published (it reached number five on Guardian's bookshop's bestseller list).



In 1990, Ansell, at the age of 30, was given an offer he couldn't refuse: a dilapidated cottage in the mid-Wales mountains, for a peppercorn rent of just £100 a year.

The book catalogues his five years of living in the cabin in the hills, "chopping wood and cooking over a log fire, drawing water from a well and growing enough food to become almost self-sufficient."

The 51-year-old Brightonian describes his 'departure from the rat race' as being 'alone but not lonely' and his near-death experience:



"What I had not allowed for was illness. I finally noticed that my ribs were protruding as though I was starving."

He shares the stage with debut novelist Ed Siegle, whose book Invisibles was also published this spring with Brighton publisher Myriad Editions, and an ambitious line up of seven published writers and novelists.

The night – Grit Lit - promotes non-fiction, short stories and real life tales that present an edgier seam of the world, from the hilariously surreal to the mundanely grim and from noir to crime to literary fiction and all genres in between.

Contributing writers on the night include Wendy Ann Greenhalgh, Stephanie Lam, Dan Holloway, Ed Siegle, Steve Silverwood, and Dan Tsu, Amy Riley and Tim Lay.


Brighton Festival Fringe literary event Grit Lit will be held on Thursday 12 May at Redroaster Coffeehouse, 7.45pm-10pm. Redroaster Coffee House is on 2d St James" Street, Kemptown, Brighton and has a licensed bar.

Advanced tickets are £6 from Brighton Dome box office or on the Fringe website www.brightonfestivalfringe.org.uk


by: Mike Cobley




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