Brighton Darkness (front cover)

Dark and light in a city of dreams

Brighton Darkness is a collection of short stories relating to that amorphous place known as the city of Brighton and Hove. The book is by Brighton writer John Roman Baker and is published this month in paperback by Wilkinson House.

The stories span the decades from the 1950s to the present day and explore the many contradictions and quirks that define the city’s unique character. The cover of the book reflects these contradictions. It depicts the façade of the city’s once elegant Astoria cinema which is currently the subject of controversial demolition plans. The derelict state of the building is offset by its glowing neon sign, a cheeky photobombing seagull and a bigger-than-life copy of Banksy’s iconic Kissing Coppers.

John Roman Baker explains, “The Astoria was a place of dreams, a place of beauty, where people of all ages could go and enter multiple different realities and even find love like two young characters in my book. Its impending demolition represents the loss of all those dreams as well as a great loss for this city which time and again seems to undervalue and destroy its architectural heritage. My book though is more about people than buildings.”

The stories in Brighton Darkness are as diverse as the city. From gay first love in the Astoria cinema in the 1950s, to the reminiscences of an elderly woman in Regency Square as she looks back on her turbulent past relationships and faces her current reality.

Gay life in the city runs as a theme through many of the stories, while the author’s experiences of other cities, Amsterdam, Paris and New York add a global context to the book. Another recurrent theme is that of return. The author himself recently returned to the city after 17 years living and working in the Netherlands.

“True Brightonians, can never really leave this place. You always have to come back, and the city with all its idiosyncrasies remains as troubled and as irresistible as ever.” – John Roman Baker

Brighton Darkness is available online and from highstreet bookstores worldwide. Ebook versions will be available from August 2015.

Brighton Darkness by John Roman Baker
ISBN: 978-1-899713-41-7

£12.99 (paperback)
£4.99 (ebook)

$14.99 (paperback)
$5.99 (ebook)


John Roman Baker is an author, poet and playwright who has lived and worked mainly in Brighton Amsterdam and Paris. In Brighton he was well known as an activist for gay rights through the 1970s and 80s. He was associated with the setting up of the Sussex Aids Helpline and created a unique cultural response to the Aids crisis through his theatre company Aids Positive Underground Theatre who were regulars at the Brighton and Edinburgh festivals and won awards including the Brighton Festival Award for Best Theatre in 1990. In 1997 he moved to the Netherlands where he continued his theatre work and wrote several novels. In 2014 he returned to live in his hometown Brighton.
More info: Wikipedia

NEW BOOK: The Vicious Age – Sexuality, Transgression and Redemption in Amsterdam

The Vicious Age

Sexuality, Transgression & Redemption

John Roman Baker’s new novel explores life, age and risk in Amsterdam.

Age remains a taboo subject in gay male culture. Youth and idealised images of beauty rule supreme in gay media while, in defiance of reality, the experiences of older gay men are side-lined and largely ignored. Now however, a new novel The Vicious Age dares to explore this paradox. The book’s author, John Roman Baker, whose work, whether in the theatre or in print, has never followed the gay mainstream, casts a perceptive, at times brutal, light on this contradiction.

In the alien environment of a foreign city, Amsterdam, Tim is adrift to the point of giving up. The city, which in recent years has adopted an obsessive path of rebuilding and renewal, presents a stark contrast to Tim’s own physical and mental stagnation and deterioration.

In the midst of his despair, Tim finds himself pursued by two very different men. Both come from the criminal and hard-edged margins of Amsterdam that he has for so many years frequented. Radek is Polish, 19 years old, selling his innocence but holding out for love. Klaus is a German who sells death to those willing to pay for it.

Can either of these men have anything genuine to offer Tim? Drugs and an ever-deepening cycle of sexual dependency provide him with temporary relief, but as his encounters leave him increasingly exposed to danger and violence, he knows he must break free and face the future without illusions, possibly but not necessarily alone.

About the Author
John Roman Baker is a British poet, playwright and novelist who has lived and worked mainly in Brighton, Paris and Amsterdam. His work is characterized by transgressive themes presented from a homosexual point of view. In 1975, his first play ‘Limitations’ launched Gay Sweatshop theatre company. Later, in response to Section 28 and the AIDS crisis, Roman Baker founded his own theatre company ‘Aids Positive Underground’ and in 1990 won the award for best theatre at the Brighton Festival for his play ‘The Ice Pick’. He continued working as a dramatist after moving to Amsterdam in 1997, but has recently returned to writing poetry and novels, four of which have now been published by gay publisher Wilkinson House.

Book data
The Vicious Age
by John Roman Baker
ISBN: 978-1-899713-34-9

UK £11.99 (paperback) £4.99 (ebook)
US $13.99 (paperback) $5.99 (ebook)

In stock at:
Gay’s the Word, UK
Les Mots à la Bouche, FR
Borkhandel Vrolijk, NL
Prinz Eisenherz, DE
Bookshop Darlinghurst, AU

Or order direct from Wilkinson House


The Pebble Champion – life affirming, coming of age novel


The newest addition to the Wilkinson House catalogue of new gay fiction is now available – THE PEBBLE CHAMPION by A.D. Pritchard.

THE PEBBLE CHAMPION is a coming of age novel that captures the social, emotional and sexual insecurities of a gay teenager with a fresh voice that avoids sensationalism and stereotypes.

Haunted by the death of his mother and the loss of a childhood friendship, 15-year-old Chris moves to the Isle of Wight to begin a new life with his estranged father. There, alone on the beach, he deals with his grief and guilt by entering an imagined world where he competes to become the Pebble Champion, skimming stones farther than anyone else across the surface of the sea. With each pebble thrown, and with each new encounter, Chris gradually learns how to let go of the burdens of the past, how to hold on to what really matters, and how to embrace his own bewildering desires.

THE PEBBLE CHAMPION is available both as a paperback and in digital formats for kindle, e-readers tablets, phones and other devices.

Title: The Pebble Champion
Author: A. D. Pritchard
Publisher: Wilkinson House
List price: £11.99 (paperback) £4.99 (digital formats)
ISBN: 978-1-899-713-264

Kindle edition available from Amazon.

Paperback available online and at local bookstores including Foyles & Gays the Word (London), Les Mots a la Bouche (Paris), Prinz Eisenherz (Berlin) and Vrolijk (Amsterdam), BSGQD (New York) and The Bookshop Darlinghurst (Sydney).

For more information visit




The Paris Syndrome – new from Wilkinson House

The Paris Syndrome
by John Roman Baker

In his third book for Wilkinson House, John Roman Baker explores one of society’s strongest taboos — the obsessional desire of a father for his son — before turning it on its head to confound the moral judgements of the reader.

Francis has two sons. When one of them disappears in Paris, he returns to the city of his youth to search for him, and once more, the city becomes a place of passion, illusion, frustration and deceit. Francis is desperately in love with his son, but what secret desires are at play in the minds of his two grown-up boys? And how will he cope when he returns with his obsessions to his drab English home town? A dark exploration of illicit desire, madness and paternal responsibility.

“… there in Saint-Séverin I realised how I felt. I wanted to hold him to me, kiss his hands and then his mouth. I wanted to undo all the learning this woman had supposedly taught him and impose upon him a learning of my own. I wanted above all to be his master, both in body and in mind.”

Buy it direct from

Title: The Paris Syndrome
Author: John Roman Baker
Publication date: 1st November 2012
Publisher: Wilkinson House
List price: £11.99 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-899713-30-1

Kindle edition available from /

Also in stock at Foyles & Gays the Word (London), Les Mots a la Bouche (Paris), Prinz Eisenherz (Berlin) and Vrolijk (Amsterdam).


The March 2012 edition of Attitude Magazine gives us some nice coverage.

Attitude Magazine profiles Wilkinson House in its March 2012 edition and announces our two new books: Bloody Summer and The Sea and the City.

There’s a quick profile of Wilkinson House–who we are and what we’re doing–and promos for our two new books Bloody Summer and The Sea and the City which will be out very soon.
Thanks guys!

Book Launch & Winetasting @ Vrolijk Bookstore, Amsterdam

Vrolijk-booklaunch - No Fixed GroundCome and join us this Saturday at Boekhandel Vrolijk in Amsterdam for the launch of No Fixed Ground by John Roman Baker. We’ll be reading excerpts from the book. There’s also a winetasting courtesy of CruExceptionelle.

When: 17:00 Saturday April 23rd, 2011
Where: Boekhandel Vrolijk, Paleisstraat 135, 1012 ZL Amsterdam

See you there!