Shoreham playwright shortlisted for a prize

Matthew Turner is building a career in writing
Matthew Turner is building a career in writing

LEAVING one’s childhood behind to seek fortune in a big city used to be a familiar plot associated with romantic novels of the 19th century, yet this is exactly what a budding Shoreham writer has done.

Born and raised in the town, newly-wed Matthew Turner moved to London with his wife, Fabia, at the end of last year.

From an early age, Matthew, 40, had a strong desire to write.

“I moved to London for the writing opportunities. Here, I can regularly mix with the people who make things happen,” he explained. “The first thing I ever remember was wanting to be an author.

“I guess, probably even at primary school, as soon as I was reading, I was writing stories and wanted to do what those authors were doing.”

While still at Kings Manor School, Matthew worked for £1 an hour in a greengrocers, while saving up for an electric guitar. Several years later, with a PHD in English literature, he found work with a spreadbetting company in London, commuting from his beloved Shoreham.

Matthew’s first book, Exit Strategies, borrowed from his six-year experience at this company, telling the story of one man who calculates precisely just how much money he needs for a lifetime of happiness and then seeks to make that exact amount.

With the job taking up more and more of his time, certain sacrifices had to be made to get where he is today.

He said: “I knew I wanted a career as a writer and so the only way to really make the time to write that book was to leave that job.”

Matthew’s first step was to join a writer’s group in Shoreham. “It was useful to be able to share some of the work as I was writing it and get feedback from other people,” he said.

As well as books and screenplays, Matthew has also turned his hand to plays.

At a rehearsed reading of his first play, The Inside Man, a talent scout spotted his potential and asked him to write a play for the 2010 New Writing Festival at Arcola Theatre, in East London. This led to The Interview, a tale about a job interview with a twist, and both plays were performed at the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2011.

Matthew’s most recent play, Inside My Head, was shortlisted for a prize at the Windsor Fringe and will be performed for the first time next month in Clapham, London.