Pig Iron

Returning to the post-industrial north-east of England of his upbringing, young gypsy John-John Wisdom wants to escape his past. His new job as an ice cream man should offer freedom, but the legacy of brutality left by his father, the champion bare-knuckle boxer Mac Wisdom, overshadows his life and instead pulls him into the dark recesses of a town where his family name is mud. John-John seeks solace in nature and must find an inner strength in order to escape poverty, prejudice and his violent heritage.

Taking a dual narrative in which past and present intertwine towards a dramatic conclusion, Pig Iron is an unflinching and poetic portrait of contemporary Traveller culture. Set in fairgrounds, woodlands, camp sites, car parks, quarries, and housing estates, it is also a homage to the beauty and diversity of the modern English landscape.


'His poetic vernacular brims with that quality most sadly lost - humanity.' - The Guardian
'In Pig Iron, Ben has managed the tricky task of weaving some incredibly tricky and often shocking themes into a beautifully poetic narrative.' - Sue Denim on Amazon


Winner of the £5,000 inaugural Gordon Burn Prize 2013

Rights Profile

Rights Available
World, all languages

Original Language

Samples Available
Full text available in English



Publication Date

May 2012


Pig Iron on the Bluemoose Books website