Luke Brown

Luke Brown


Personal profile


Luke Brown is the author of the novels My Biggest Lie (2014), and Theft (2020).  Before beginning his career as an lecturer in 2016, Luke worked as a commissioning editor, for the prizewinning small press Tindal Street Press, and later as deputy editor of Granta magazine. He curently commissions, edits and publishes fiction for the Serpent's Tail imprint, and arranges the Centre for New Writing's programme of visiting speakers from the publishing industry and book world. He reviews books for the Financial TimesLondon Review of BooksTimes Literary Supplement and New Statesman.

Research interests

The critical component of my PhD was a study of whether the artifice of plot deforms fiction’s ability to depict the real. In my debut novel My Biggest Lie and my second novel Theft I’ve adopted what I see as a kind of sceptical realist approach. I want to my fiction to be capable of expressing intimate and inconvenient truths, and I’m aware of how adhering too closely to convention means you risk pre-packaging reality, but I still find the dramatisation of character as it responds to surprising events as interesting as the play of language and philosophy. I like characters who are unstable and surprising, who don’t understand themselves fully, and both my novels feature narrator characters whose manipulations of the reader mirror the way they manipulate their self-image, characters who can be read ambiguously, who are inconsistent – and so far this had led me in my first two novels to the first person and the ebullient, deceptively charming narrator. My debut novel My Biggest Lie is a long apology and plea for forgiveness directed to a girlfriend, and its plot twists and surprises are I hope consistent with a liar who always wants the person to whom he’s talking to think the best of him. It’s ambiguous throughout the novel what his biggest lie is, or if he’s come clean about things by the end. It is a philosophical exploration of the fictions attached to ‘love’. My second novel Theft dramatises a person beset by oppositions of inequality in 2016: north and south, man and woman, old and young, upper-middle and working class, educated and uneducated, in and out. It uses the nineteenth century novel of property as another opposition – to see how its tropes and plot contrivances might find space in the novel of now: the orphaned brother and sister, the misplaced correspondence, the negotiation between property and love, the use of a wedding for resolution.

I am a published short story writer too, and interested in how a writer gives a collection of stories a unity to compare against the unity of the novel, and at what point this unity overlaps. I am working on a book of stories that is at the intersection between the novel and the collection, using writers like David Szalay, Alice Munro and Eudora Welty as precedents. 

I have worked professionally as an editor of fiction since 2002 and am interested in the practice of editing; how its myriad processes can be quantified; how what different editors do can be brought into the light to help teach writers how to edit the work of others and to self-edit themselves.



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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