Co-authors of 'All My Own Work' resolve dispute over whose work it all was
Julie Miller, Arts Correspondent
Wednesday 15th June 2005
A dispute over the authorship of a book called All My Own Work has
All My Own Work was originally a novel by Stephen Miles which
famously won a prize in the prestigious
Leonard Sankey Awards for New Talent
in Fiction in 2002.
Miles however was controversially stripped of the award four months after
the ceremony following allegations that All My Own Work was not,
actually, all his own work.
The situation was complicated when Miles later recruited another writer,
Richard Cooper, to help him write his story of writing the original book and
winning the Sankey award.
"Cooper appeared to be under the impression that the book we wrote together
was all his own novel," Miles, 33, said today from his London home. "In fact
it was my own real-life story all along."
"I have no idea how all this happened," commented Cooper, 34, also of
"There I was writing what I considered to be a work of fiction when one day
the main character suddenly upped and demanded to be credited as the author.
You just can't trust anyone these days."
All My Own Work tells how Miles, then living in a youth hostel on the Isle of Skye,
came to write the original book and win (and then lose) the Sankey
prize, and the parts played in the whole unlikely story by various people
including his estranged Thai wife Fon, partners-in-crime Vince Duncan, Alastair Swann
and Eric Gibson, and an anchored navigational river float known as
the Buoy of Orpheus.
Cooper's writing credits include poetry published in some small magazines,
The Grauniad and countless
weblog posts to his site
www.thoughtcat.com. He also
SA4QE site in honour of
author Russell Hoban, and was one of the organisers of the recent
international Hoban convention.
Cooper and Miles completed All My Own Work early in 2004 and Cooper
even entered it under his own name into an international competition for unpublished novels
Search for a Great Read. It
made the final shortlist, but ironically did not win.
The two writers have reached an agreement over authorship of the book which
stipulates the following:
- Cooper is to retain the copyright in the text he wrote towards
Own Work (i.e. Miles's memoir of writing the original All My Own Work
and his subsequent adventures);
- Cooper is to take down the original All My Own Work website [i.e.
the one you're now viewing, or rather not viewing - RC] and post this story
- Miles is to take over the (re)writing of All My Own Work and pursue
its publication, promotion etc in a new website,
in which he will post chapters of the book direct to a weblog as he revises
"Given my experience so far, I'd like to retain as much
control as I can over this book," he says. "In addition to the blog I'm
thinking of publishing it myself, as there are quite a few print-on-demand
companies around now who charge very reasonable prices."
Sankey, being sadly dead, was unavailable for comment, but is likely to be
"turning in his grave", according to a Sankey Foundation spokesperson.
steviemiles @ gmail.com