Book: Ordinary Joe
Genre: Adult Comedy
Publisher: Borough Press (an imprint of HarperCollins UK)
Publication date(s): UK paperback: July, 2015; Sweden, Norway and Finland: 2016
About: I was born in Northampton, England in May 1963. I attended Weston Favell Upper School (whose esteemed alumni include comedian Alan Carr and author James Hannah) and then Warwick University where I studied Management Science. After graduation, I joined the Civil Service as a Fast Stream Administrative Trainee, working on various aspects of Government policy including the introduction of the National Lottery and support for the UK film and television industries. I joined the British Film Institute in 1998 as Deputy Director and was promoted to Chief Executive eighteen months later. I left the BFI in 2003 and worked as an independent consultant before joining Ashridge Business School in 2004.
In 2007, my wife bought me an Arvon Foundation writing course as a tenth wedding anniversary present. It was here that Ordinary Joe was born. Whilst suffering various setbacks on the road to publication, I always felt that the story was strong and that all that was needed was for me to improve the way I was telling it. After two unsuccessful applications, I was accepted onto the CurtisBrown Creative 6 month novel writing course in January 2013 and graduated from there with a novel that was ready to present to agents and publishers. After a couple of further rejections, Ordinary Joe was one of only two novels (out of more than four hundred submissions) to be selected for publication by Borough Press following an Open Submission window in April 2014. I have also secured an option on the film and TV rights with Trademark Films (My Week With Marilyn), one of the principles of which is Oscar- and BAFTA-winning film producer David Parfitt (Shakespeare in Love, The Madness of King George). I am currently working on the second draft of the screenplay.
I live in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire with my wife Anne and two sons, Joseph and Matthew. I am a voting member of BAFTA, Treasurer of the British Board of Film Classification and a Trustee of the social inclusion charity, School of Hard Knocks.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jon.teckman
Twitter handle: @jontwothreefour
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Writer Superpowers (specialist subjects): My main USP would be that I am a former Chief Executive of the BFI were it not for the fact that another prime writer – Jane Lythell (Clarke) – also held this post on a temporary basis a year or two before I took over! We are both also former Deputy Directors of the BFI, Jane having spent rather longer in that role than I did. I think there is an interesting angle in someone with my background on the fringes of the film industry writing a novel about someone working on the fringes of the film industry. Also a joint discussion involving Jane and I might be of interest.
Another interesting aspect of my road to publication is that I am still without an agent, having been one of only two novels out of more than 400 selected directly for publication through Borough Press’s 2014 open submission window. (Again, this is not a unique position to be in within the group – Andrea Bennett is the other successful author). I am also a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses along with several other members of the group.
I have described the genre of my novel as “adult comedy” and would be interested in speaking on the subject of writing comedy either individually or as part of a panel. My own cultural background is Jewish and Ordinary Joe features several key Jewish characters and themes, so this is another area that might be of interest.