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chris wilson • the glue ponys • debut collection • author & painter • john gladdy photo

Chris Wilson — The Glue Ponys
Chris Wilson - The Glue Ponys - Tangerine Press
  • Three editions: paperback; 100 numbered & 26 lettered copies

"When lieutenant Teddy Malovich finally died they left him in the bed for a week and then put his body inside some black plastic trashcan liners, wrapped it up with duct tape and put him in the hallway closet."

So begins the opening story in this startling first collection by author/painter Chris Wilson. Thirty-one tales about, as the author himself puts it, ‘the lost and the wandering of America.’ The settings: prison yards, sidewalks, alleyways, hospital wards, rusting cars, woodlands, deserted houses, miracle beaches, truck stops, penthouse apartments. The cast: junkies, hookers, hustlers, cellmates, bisexual transexuals, glue ponys, anorexic pornstars, runaways, the innocent, the wounded – and heroin, always heroin...

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize (2017)
Republic of Consciousness Prize (inaugural award 2016)


Paperback £9

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Numbered/signed £40

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Price with shipping

Lettered/signed/signed artwork £130

More detailed information here:

First printing

£9 inc shipping

160 pages. Demy format approx. 5.25"/135mm wide x 8.5"/216mm tall. Colour cover; acid-free text paper. Printed & bound in England. This edition was published with the assistance of Arts Council England. First Tangerine book in this format. ISBN: 978-1-910691-15-1

100 Numbered/signed copies

£40 plus shipping

148 pages. Pinched Crown format, approx. 7”/175mm wide, 10”/250mm tall. Handbound at the Tangerine workshop with cloth-covered acid-free boards, conservation glue and hemp cord; foil embossed front cover artwork; colour title page. ISBN: 978-1-910691-14-4

Fully bound in Parana Green cloth; front cover artwork embossed in gold; Hahnemuhle Lana poppy red endpapers; 100% recycled, acid-free text paper.


26 Lettered/signed/signed artwork copies

£130 plus shipping

148 pages. Pinched Crown format, approx. 7”/175mm wide, 10”/250mm tall. Handbound at the Tangerine workshop with cloth-covered acid-free boards, conservation glue and hemp cord; foil embossed front cover artwork; colour title page. ISBN: 978-1-910691-14-4

Quarter bound with Fabriano Tiziano rich brown paper covered boards and Japanese deep brown silk spine; front cover artwork embossed in copper; 100% recycled, acid-free text paper. An original, signed painting by Mr Wilson on Somerset artist rag forms part of the 3-page ‘stepped’ Fabriano Tiziano front endpapers — the other page colours being bisque and poppy red. Fabriano Tiziano bisque endpapers.

Orders will include a gift reading copy of the first print paperback.



"The characters who populate the short stories of The Glue Ponys, Chris Wilson's debut collection, are down-and-outs of every stripe, who share, in one form or another, the same preoccupation: drugs. Addiction leers across every page; its consequences are conjured in thirty-one short, striking pieces... The brevity of each story provides some of the appeal of The Glue Ponys. Shorn of establishing detail or elaborate plotting, the stories have a beguiling immediacy... The best of these stories provide compelling glimpses of American lives touched by addiction... The Glue Ponys is like looking into the eye of stranded souls."
Times Literary Supplement

"The Glue Ponys by Chris Wilson is one of the most unapologetic, skilled pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time. Despite the tragic scenarios which are described in many of these stories, including a young girl on a porn set, or a heroin addict looking for nothing more than her next hit, the prose is straight to the point and defiant. Perhaps some of the scenarios relate to things Chris Wilson has witnessed himself, but there’s certainly no sense of sharing for sympathy, it feels as though the author just wanted to capture a way of life. The collection is well ordered, bound together with various themes, with a good sense of pace leading from one story to another, and additional interlinking of stories through first and last sentences, that doesn’t feel forced. This collection is one not to be missed. Chris has a unique voice and important stories to tell. Sharp wit, snappy stories and punchy style is what make The Glue Ponys an unforgettable new read."

"The Glue Ponys is populated by misfits, hustlers and heroin addicts. Wilson is a master of the unspoken and the fragmentary, and his characters often remain unnamed, unsure of where they are going or how they will get there. The best of Wilson’s short stories are reminiscent of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side."
The Skinny

"The Glue Ponys travels various timezones and hangs out with the wasted, troubled lifers, loners and drug dealers that join him in the bliss of being somewhere else but here. Amalgams and just plain scary real, these dangerous journeys can take their toll. Early death is a usual outcome, but to give it all away for a more serene existence is freaking hard. One where you ain’t stealing or becoming a living, breathing mind waster. Where personal drama is the only thing you have to make you feel alive cause you are so dead inside. For Chris Wilson, long prison stints broke the habit. Inside he found philosophy and a myriad of stories. It’s the combination of this that makes this collection of short stories so tantalising."
Urban Fox

"These tales provide thought provoking, challenging reading. Few wish to tackle the causes of the problem lives explored, much easier to berate those who end up this way. The Glue Ponys offers the opportunity to better understand. The writing is succinct, vivid, with an articulacy that demands consideration. It is a powerful reminder: we too are here."
Never Imitate

"No punches are pulled and the reality of life in the gutter is exposed like a pus-filled open wound."

"This is prose poetry by a writer who has really lived, and given his biography, quite possibly almost died a few times. Some people live in criminal chaos their whole lives; few escape and have the talent to turn it into fiction. These stories remind us that there still is an underbelly of dealers and addicts, killers and losers; it didn’t go away in the 1980s when it became unfashionable to depict in art; and it’s still just as dangerous, hopeless & crazy as it always was."
— The Republic of Consciousness Prize (longlist for inaugural prize 2016)

"Wilson’s prose is measured, well-paced, with a sense of immediacy and brevity that makes every encounter sting with the sharp barb of honesty without sentiment. These stories are not designed to evoke hand-wringing sympathy or provoke the reader to want to change the world. They present important stories that Wilson is well-placed to tell, having lived on the streets and in prisons in the US for many years before returning to the UK and becoming drug and crime free in 2001. The stories present the matter-of-fact realities, told through exceptional prose-fiction, of lives little glimpsed by most readers – each with its own dignity, desire, sadness and humour."
The Contemporary Small Press

Chris Wilson was born in 1961 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and grew up in Dar es Salaam, East Africa. He moved with his parents to California in 1971. After many years of living in the streets and prisons of the USA, he was extradited to the UK in 1998. Since 2001, he has worked for a number of homeless charities and also studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he was awarded a First with Distinction. His paintings have been exhibited across the UK and are held in numerous private collections. His first book, Horse Latitudes, was published in 2013. He currently lives in London.

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