Memories of late-80s and early-90s university life provide the backdrop for a BU graduate’s debut novel, which has already become a category bestseller.
The Boscombe Boys, by Mark Fuidge, tells the story of four mates in their first two weeks as Freshers, and draws on the people, places and predicaments that Mark remembers all too well from his time in Bournemouth.
Since being released earlier this year, The Boscombe Boys has already topped Amazon’s ‘lad literature’ category. Mark, who completed his degree in hospitality management in 1993, said: “I absolutely loved my university experience. In fact, if I could repeat it over and over, I would have done. I still meet up with my university mates regularly, and we love sharing our old stories. I began to write them down, and over a series of years I took this collection of memories and developed them into a work of fiction.
“It has been a huge learning curve, as I have developed characters and the central story which hangs it all together, but to have the book complete and on sale is the fulfilment of a dream.”
While professionally, Mark has worked in hospitality, IT and now as a self-employed multi-skilled plumber, he developed a talent for telling a tale while performing as a stand-up comedian.
He said: “I loved the buzz of stand-up, but it was also completely terrifying and, in the end, I decided not to keep putting myself through it. I realised that I could also share stories and entertain people through writing, and that I could do so at my own pace and at a bit of a distance from the audience feedback!”
BU graduates from the days of Dorset Institute of Higher Education will recognise the pubs, clubs and other locations from The Boscombe Boys. And while the characters are based on Mark’s own university friends, he’s quick to point out that the central story of getting caught up in a police investigation is a work of fiction.
He said: “Aside from the fictional storyline, the characters are utterly recognisable. My friends have loved seeing themselves represented in print and reliving their memories through the books. It’s also been quite nice for those who have kids to be able to share the book with them and show that they did have a life before being parents.”
Given that The Boscombe Boys only covers the first two weeks of the friends’ first year at university, there is scope for a sequel.
Mark said: “I hope to write another. While this book has been 10 years in the making, I have learned so much that I’d love to continue. For now, it’s great to see so many people enjoying the book, including those who studied in Bournemouth when we did and others who can easily relate to the stories of student life wherever and whenever they studied.”