Man of Letters – Hearsay Festival Prize

‘A flustered looking man on a tiny moped pulls over to ask me directions to Buxton. I tell him to head for the hills and keep on going for three or four hours. He looks a bit blank and then asks where the nearest petrol station is.’


Image courtesy of Kevin Boniface

For the last eight years Kevin Boniface has been writing succinct descriptions of conversations and incidents that have taken place whilst out and about on his postal round in West Yorkshire, his daily route taking him from the main sorting office to the outlying neighbourhoods above the town.

Kevin’s commentaries rarely feature a story, but there are glimpses of hundreds of stories. ‘I walk past an elderly man sweeping his lawn with a dustpan and brush.’ Just like walking by someone’s house and briefly peering in, we can only peer for so long, until we carry on walking again.

‘A few doors down, A note scribbled in marker pen on lined paper from a ring bound notebook has been sellotaped to a window: “Gone to Blackpool for good. Andrew”.

In a style that’s at the same time observant, enigmatic and often highly surreal, Kevin’s writings are an important documentation of the ordinary goings-on of an ordinary English town. For Kevin, ‘scratching beneath the surface of the ordinary is endlessly fascinating.’

I made this piece for the Hearsay Festival Create Award, for which it was shortlisted.