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Success story Colin Cotterill


Success story: Colin Cotterill

Colin Cotterill has had an interesting kind of life. In 1972 he took a gap year and never came back. He has been a teacher in Australia, a teacher trainer in Vietnam and a social worker on the Burmese border. He has worked on UNESCO literacy projects in Asia, set up an NGO dealing with child prostitution in Thailand and has established a programme to bring books into Laos.

He’s also a writer and last year launched his first gently humorous crime novel The Coroner’s Lunch, featuring the septuagenarian Dr Siri Paiboun. There are four more to come and his publisher has managed to sell him to the supermarket chain Tesco, which has shown an unusual amount of support for a first-time writer.

We shall probably hear much more of Dr Siri, but the reason for featuring Cotterill in these pages is that he has an extremely entertaining website. He is also a gifted cartoonist and his site features ‘The Writing Chappy’, ‘The Cartooning Chappy’ and ‘The normal having a life Chappy’. On the genesis of his writing he has this to say:

‘Writing has always fascinated me, but as a profession I’m finding it incredibly lonely. 3 years ago I quite my nice job and tried to convince people I could write. At the end of the first year I was broke and editing soft-drink copy. By the second year I had books out in Thailand. They sold 2.5 copies a month. (At the height of their popularity.) Did I give up? Absolutely. But before I could find a real job, New York rescued me. Richard Curtis (my fairy god father) and Soho Press liked my Dr Siri series and voila! I was a pro novelist.

It was an honour … and a fluke.’

Colin Cotterill’s website is a good example of how you can promote yourself on the web. His cartoons are also very funny.