PEOPLE can meet a Hartlepool-born author when he visits the town’s Central Library to give a talk about his debut novel ‘Magnificent Joe’.

James Wheatley, who now lives in West Yorkshire, drew on his early experience working as a roofer in County Durham as the inspiration for his hard-hitting novel.

Denise Sparrowhawk, Hartlepool Council’s reader development librarian, said: “We are delighted to welcome James to Central Library. Magnificent Joe is a dark, sparce novel which has been compared with Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, so this is sure to be a fascinating talk.”

The Joe of the title lives in a former pit village in the north of England. His learning difficulties have left him isolated and his only contact with the community is playing the back-end of the horse in the local panto. Then Jim, another of life’s outsiders, comes home, and so begins an unlikely friendship.

The event, which is on Wednesday, February 5 from 2.30pm to 4pm, has been organised as part of the Read Regional campaign to connect local authors in the north of England to local readers.

Copies of magnificent Joe will be available to buy at the event. Entry to the talk is free but advance booking is recommended by calling 01429-272905.