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Postman Rob breaks through

24 February 2003

Postman Rob has broken through a number of barriers in publishing his first novel, Cover to Cover (Weidenfeld). During his 16 years delivering the post in theYorkshire city of Bradford, Robert Craig whiled away the time writing stories in his head. He liked being a postman, although more than once he had to escape from would-be muggers and aggressive dogs. His round started at 5.30 am, leaving the afternoons free for writing. Years of submitting his work seemed to get him nowhere, but he persevered and finally achieved a two-book advance of £50,000 ($81,500).

Cover to Cover, described by the publisher as 'sexy, intelligent and subversively funny' breaks an interesting barrier, as its main character is a woman who challenges Bridget Jones stereotypes. Craig thinks women are really tough and smart, not 'weak and whingy while only pretending to be strong... In my book the woman is content but she's not happy. She's in a sexual relationship but doesn't particularly care for him.' It must have been tricky for him to write from a female vantage-point: 'Never been married, never even lived with anyone until 18 months ago when I moved in with my girlfriend.'

Craig left school at 16 and was largely self-taught. He kept his writing a secret: 'I don't know anybody else who writes. I know precious few people who read!' He has a second novel ready and is poised to win another two-book deal. His success shows that writing talent can spring up anywhere, and that even talented writers need perseverance if they are to make it in the end.