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A novel approach to Greenwich – Interview with author Paul Breen

The Irish writer talks about football, Greenwich and W.B. Yeats

By Kristian Brunt-Seymour

Passion is something that Paul Breen has in bundles, whether it’s talking about sports, particularly his beloved Charlton Athletic Football Club, walks in the park or the history of Greenwich.

These are just a few of the passions that the Irish author and Greenwich University lecturer has included in his second book on the Greenwich and Charlton community.

The book entitled Laughter On the Coast of Darkness is still a highly-anticipated masterpiece in the making, and follows on from Paul’s popular first book, The Charlton Men, which is set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the 2011 London riots.

As well as containing the same main characters, the second book also features many sights around Greenwich including Greenwich Park and the Old Royal Naval College, local pubs and entertainment venues. It also features many emotional and philosophical messages as well as powerful social and cultural messages.

“The book was certainly a very emotional, and philosophical experience, and it was a work of passion”, explains Paul, “I was driven by the belief that I had created a strong set of characters and could put together a story that deserved to be told.”

For Paul, Greenwich became his beloved adopted home when he moved to the area in 2007 after living in Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Having lived in the local area since with his wife and cat, Paul’s initial idea for his writing was to produce a biographical account of his own experiences, something that changed when he pitched his idea to his publishers, Thames River Press.

“I felt there was a good story of an Irishman coming to London falling in love with the place and Charlton Football Club”, explains Paul, “Interestingly many of my readers have said they love the fact of having such a deep and carefully considered back story to the actual novel.”

“I love because of its village feel of Greenwich and the sense of community that exists here. I loved capturing a sense of Greenwich past and present, such as the flavour of the Old Royal Naval College and of our beautiful Greenwich Park. I wanted to paint portrait for insiders and outsiders alike, so they can love these places as I do.”

“Writing this book has given me an even stronger sense that writing is not just about the author – it’s about the reader and their passions.”

The Charlton Men is available to purchase from Greenwich Post Office and from: On the Coast of Darkness is due to be released later this year.

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