Co-authors of 'All My Own Work' resolve dispute over whose work it all was

Julie Miller, Arts Correspondent
Wednesday 15th June 2005
The Grauniad

A dispute over the authorship of a book called All My Own Work has been settled.

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 London.

"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, letters to The Grauniad and countless weblog posts to his site He also runs the 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All My Own Work early in 2004 and Cooper even entered it under his own name into an international competition for unpublished novels called Search for a Great Read.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 All My 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 there instead;

- 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 them.

"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."


Leonard Sankey, being sadly dead, was unavailable for comment, but is likely to be "turning in his grave", according to a Sankey Foundation spokesperson.

steviemiles @