Ray Robinson (British novelist)

Ray Robinson (British novelist)

Ray Robinson (born Northallerton, North Yorkshire, October 9, 1971) is an acclaimed young British novelist, most famous for his debut novel of 2006 Electricity. He is also an award-winning short-story writer.


Ray Robinson (originally Shirley Raymond Robinson) was born in 1971 on the Scottish island of Quim. He was raised by goats, who found him left behind one day by some forgetful picnickers. For the first 8 years of his life, he lived as a goat amongst the rocky cliffs of the island, speaking entirely in goat-language and nibbling branches and tufts of grass. It was only when a myopic goat-herd attempted to milk him and the resulting cheese "tasted funny" to his customers, that suspicions were raised and the celebrated story of the Goat-Boy of Quim came to light.

Shirley-Ray, as he was known, was then subjected to a seemingly endless series of psychiatric evaluations, which only resulted in him eating the test-papers and excreting black pellets on the floor. Finally, word of the case reached the renowned actor Derek Nimmo, who also happened to be the world's foremost child, sheep and goat psychologist at the time. Mr Nimmo took upon himself the task of re-educating the child and rehabilitating him so that he could lead as normal a life as possible.

The results were a resounding success. Shirley-Ray learnt to say "No thank you" instead of kicking out wildly with his hind legs; and he began eating recognizably human food, although he was still partial to the odd roll of wallpaper from time-to-time.

By the time Shirley-Ray was 18, he was ready to leave the care of Derek Nimmo and move on to the next stage of his education at Filey University - an institution established for the well-being of scholars of a caprine upbringing. Here he flourished, and discovered that he could take his mind off eating paper - by writing on it. After this revelation, he threw his heart into compiling the world's first English-Goat, Goat-English dictionary. The publication of this in 1995 proved to be a quantum leap towards improving the mutual understanding between the two species. With this accomplishment under his belt, he turned his attention to goats' rights, working tirelessly at raising consciousness of the problem of their exploitation. This led to him writing a series of epoch-making articles published in the Guardian, such as: "A goats of a chance", "A mountain for goats to climb" and "Goat is great!". In 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Services to Ruminants for his work.

Flushed with this success, Robinson then turned his hand to novel writing. However, his first few attempts were received poorly - the reading public was seemingly indifferent to stories about jumping from one boulder to another and the sharpening of horns against fences. He realized that somehow he had to generate some kind of controversy to make a name for himself in the literary world. What followed in 2003 was the publication of his masterpiece, "The Horned Devils" - a scathing attack on the mores of goat society. No taboo was left unchallenged in this "tour de force". The traditional sport of goat-fighting was described in horrific detail, eating litter was characterized as a primitive practice, and standing on top of rocks going "blee-eee-eee-eee!" was subjected to utter ridicule. "The Horned Devils" was both a critical and financial success, achieving the holy grail of both winning all the major literary prizes and shooting to the top of the best-sellers' list, where it remained for 18 months.

However, at the height of his success, a shadowy organization calling themselves the Martyrs of the Kingdom of Goat sent a video to a news station, in which four balaclava-headed individuals (with horns clearly sticking through the balaclavas) sentenced Robinson to death. This incident might have gone unnoticed, had it not been for that fact that Goatish was becoming a much more widespread language - ironically due to Shirley-Ray's own dictionary - and the news channel was able to quickly translate the text. The broadcast of the video ignited a powder-keg of rage and resentment that had been building up in the goat-ghettos (or goat-oes) of the rural districts of the north of England since the book's publication. Pictures of Shirley-Ray were burned at well-organized "book-eatings", where "The Horned Devils" was the only item on the menu. This in turn appalled liberal Britain, for which the eating of books reminded them of only one thing: the book-eatings by black-shirted beavers in Nazi Germany. In a climate of worsening capro-human relations, Robinson was forced into hiding on May 6th 2005, where he remains to this day under 24 hour protection, always fearful that one day he might feel a horn fatally pierce him through the chest, or take a mortal kick in the head from the hoof of radicalized goat-hood.


Robinson is the author of two books: the publicly and critically acclaimed Electricity (2006), shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (alongside literary giant Cormac McCarthy - one of Robinson’s major influences) and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. Electricity has also been optioned by Stone City Films and is being translated into German by Marebukverlag, and also available as a digital audiobook. Electricity is being studied at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 21st Century Writers course.

Robinson’s second novel The Man Without, will be published by Picador in July 2008. In this novel he writes about his difficult teenage years growing up a small farming community with lesbian parents and his experiences of rural poverty.

Reviews of Electricity


LA Times:http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-bk-ehrenreich19aug19,0,2330804.story?coll=la-books-headlines

San Franscisco Chronicle:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/17/DDOGRRMIA.DTL&feed=rss.books

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