‘Stephen May has the sharp eye of David Nicholls and the verve of Kate Atkinson’ Suzannah Dunn


We Don't Die of Love

Stephen May

Luke Greenwood is in crisis. His wife of 31 years, Selena, is leaving him for a much younger man. Then local hard men set their sights on his café and take an interest in what’s left of his family.

‘Superbly lean and muscular. It’s smart, it’s fast and it bites down hard.’ XAN BROOKS, author of THE CLOCKS IN THIS HOUSE ALL TELL DIFFERENT TIMES

‘A gorgeous bittersweet novel about the infinite possibilities for human disappointment that families can yield.’ HELEN WALSH, author of THE LEMON GROVE

‘A sharply observed account of the worst days of one man’s life. Wry, entertaining and ultimately hopeful.’ EMYLIA HALL, author of THE BOOK OF SUMMERS

‘Stephen May writes about masculinity like no one else. I loved it.’ SHELLEY HARRIS, author of JUBILEE


Yorkshire Post

Common Space

On: Yorkshire Magazine

Sunday People (photo)

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Stronger Than Skin

Mark Chadwick is cycling home from work, eager to get back to his pregnant wife Katy and two children, when he sees the police calling at his house. He knows exactly why they are there and he knows that the world he has carefully constructed over twenty very deliberately uneventful years is about to fall apart. He could lose everything.

A story of a toxic love gone wrong, with a setting that moves easily between present day London and 1990s Cambridge, Stronger Than Skin is compulsively readable, combining a gripping narrative with a keen eye for the absurdities of the way we live now.

'Stronger than Skin is a sexy and compelling love story. Bold in its conception and full of enchanting characters, this book delivers fresh insights into the affairs of the heart, and grips the reader right until its twisted end.' Monique Roffey - author of The White Woman With The Green Bicycle

'A gripping tale with a well designed plot and great twists. A definite page-turner.' Jess Richards author of Snake Ropes

'Full of warmth with a dark, complex heart.' Emma Jane Unsworth author of Animals

'A cracking story, beautifully told. The writing is elegant and engaging, the voice both tender and sharp. It’s a thoughtful and often touching novel, full of closely-observed insights into the complexities of relationships and family life. Sometime funny, sometimes sad – a deeply satisfying novel.' Susan Elliot Wright author of The Things We Never said

'The story hooks you in lightly, and then takes a grip; a proper page-turner to the last.' Rachel Seiffert - author of The Dark Room

'From the first hook on page four, the reader is held in the grip of a pacy, clever plot which drip-feeds revelations to keep the pages of this literary thriller turning. Excellent stuff.' Daily Mail

Stronger than Skin

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Wake Up Happy Every Day

Wake Up Happy Every Day is published by Bloomsbury.

Nicky has always known Russell was rich, but he has no idea how astronomically rich Russell is until his friend drops dead, on his 50th birthday, in his San Francisco mansion, with Nicky as the only witness.

For forty years the two men have kept up their friendship, with Russell’s birthday offering him an annual opportunity to remind Nicky of how much more successful Russell is, and how much further he has come since their English suburban childhood.

And now Nicky has come up with an uncharacteristically daring plan.

If Nicky were to become Russell and leave his old life lying dead on the bathroom floor, then he, his wife Sarah and their daughter Scarlett could start again. Only with better clothes, better hair, better stuff and a better future: everything that money can buy. Especially happiness.

But when the foundations of their glittering new existence start to crack, the impact of Nicky’s hasty decision begins to be felt by all those around him: by his daughter; by his own distant, confused father; by a young English woman who has come to America in search of her father, and by the mysterious Catherine, an ex-soldier who seems to take an unhealthy interest in Nicky’s movements...

Sharp, funny, warm and acutely observed, Wake Up Happy Every Day is a novel about dreams and delusions, family and friendship, and what happens if you do actually find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

'Acerbic and funny' New York Times

'Hilarious . . . May writes so wittily, so charmingly, that his characters and twists feel irresistible, shiny, and new.' Good Housekeeping USA

'A funny book…a breezy but barbed meditation on the old chestnut that money can't buy happiness, a satirical morality tale that broadens into a colorful caper... consistently charming.' Maggie Shipstead, The San Francisco Chronicle

'The followup to Stephen May's excellent Life! Death! Prizes! is a morality tale that explores the difference between material and real happiness... great comic set pieces and fine writing from May, whose quips demonstrate a knack for the ridiculous.' Nikesh Shukla, The Guardian

'Hilarious. . . A charmingly ill-fated adventure [told] with wit and sharp observation . . . A compelling read for anyone who has ever believed that the grass might actually be greener.' Press Association

'May has come up with a tantalising ‘what if?’ idea, coloured it richly with suspense, poignancy, religion, drama and genuinely, laugh out loud humour.' Judy Riley, Bedfordshire On Sunday

'The sense of jeopardy leaps from the page, and so does the writing. Hooked.' Elle magazine

Wake Up Happy Every day

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Life! Death! Prizes!

Life! Death! Prizes!

Life Death PrizesShortlisted for the 2012 COSTA Novel Award

Billy's Mum is dead. He knows - because he reads about it in magazines - that people die every day in ways that are more random and tragic and stupid than hers, but for nineteen-year-old Billy and his little brother, Oscar, their mother's death in a bungled street robbery is the most random and tragic and stupid thing that could possibly have happened to them.

Now Billy must be both mother and father to Oscar, and despite what his well-meaning aunt, the PTA mothers, the social services and Oscar's own prodigal father all think, he knows he is more than up to the job, thank you very much.

The boys' new world, where bedtimes are arbitrary, tidiness is optional and healthy home-cooked meals pile up uneaten in the freezer, is built out of chaos and fierce love, but it's also a world that teeters perilously on its axis. And as Billy's obsession with his mother's missing killer grows, he risks losing sight of the one thing that really matters...

Funny, bittersweet and unforgettable, Life! Death! Prizes! is a story of grief, resilience and brotherly love.

'A moving, darkly funny portrayal of two brothers’ relationship – a very modern look at real life, death - and prizes.' 2012 Costa Prize Judges

‘Sharp and funny… a graphic picture of contemporary family life’ The Guardian

‘A touching story about love, loyalty and tragedy’ The Independent ‘a compelling character-driven tale.’ New Zealand Listener

'Stephen May’s breakthrough novel about resilience and brotherly love is unmissable' The Bookseller

'Stephen May’s second novel is likely the funniest that will ever start with the words “Mum’s funeral.”… Irreverent and charming.' New York Times

‘Genuine insights.’ Boston Globe

'Billy’s arch observations are probably the most enjoyable aspect of this book. Readers, like Billy, will come away from May’s second novel with a new appreciation of what it means to grow up.' Publisher’s Weekly

'A graphically up-to-date coming-of-age tale, with some very strong language and plenty of British slang. Provocative! Bittersweet! Promising!' Kirkus Reviews

'Stephen May’s rites of passage novel is a painfully raw examination of the effects of loss and grief, and the confusion and difficulty of trying to be a male role model when you’ve never had a proper one yourself.' Daily Mail

'It's a warm novel, written with a wry wit, and the end is as uplifting as a good bra.' Kate Saunders, The Times

Life! Death! Przes!

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Shortlisted for Wales Book of the 2009. Winner of the Media Wales Reader’s Choice Prize 2009.

A wonderful weave of two sides of a disturbing chain of events between a young Talented and Gifted (TAG) student Mistyann and her older teacher.

'A hugely compelling tale, full of warmth and humour and genuine compassion for our human frailities' Suzy Ceulan Hughes

'Very funny and politically resonant.' Katie Popperwell Manchester Evening News

Buy TAG from Amazon.


Stephen has also written two text books

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