Neil Rathmell – writer

150+ essays on literary topics


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Improbable Fictions

A collection of short stories, from two stories which appeared in Introduction 4 (Faber & Faber, 1970) to stories published up to the present day in literary magazines such as AmbitProle and The Penny Dreadful. Several previously unpublished stories are also included and illustrations by Maria Hayes are an added delight!


“A page-turning read and an illuminating insight into important events in our history.”

1549 was the year of Kett’s Rebellion, when thousands of ordinary people in Norfolk protested against the enclosure of common land by wealthy landowners. Robert Kett, himself a landowner, changed sides and became their leader. He led them to Norwich where they made their camp a mile outside the city. Within days their numbers had grown to 20,000 and the mayor, Thomas Cod, had no choice but to let them in. Today it might have been called the Norfolk Spring or Occupy Norwich.

Vive le Mole!

This grown-up sequel to The Wind in the Willows sees Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad flying south for the winter. What happens when they touch down in a Provençal village is a far cry from life on the riverbank. Vive le Mole! is a comic tale of love and intrigue in the south of France.


“Rama’s rule in Ayodhya, Ram-raj, was a time of peace, a golden age. This was partly because Rama was a good king and partly because all the tangled threads of the years that had gone before had finally been untangled.”

A re-telling of the Hindu legend of Rama and Sita – how Rama rescued Sita from Ravana, king of the demons, and saved the world from evil.

Heer Ranjha

“A long time ago
in a village called Jhang
on the banks of Chenab
there lived a beautiful girl called Heer Sayal
she was so beautiful that
if a man wanted to pay his wife a compliment
he would say she was
as beautiful as Heer Sayal
but if he said she was
more beautiful than Heer Sayal
she would know he was lying
because no one
was more beautiful than Heer Sayal.”

Heer Ranjha, the most famous of all Punjabi love stories, is often called ‘The Romeo and Juliet of Punjab’. This version of the story is written in free verse, with illustrations by Mool Chand from another version by Rev Charles Swynnerton that was first published by Oxford University Press in 1928.



“How do you tell someone you love them if you can’t find the words?”

This play about a man and his stammer was written in collaboration with Dr Trudy Stewart, a speech and language therapist, with the help of people who stammer.

It was first performed by Leeds Arts Centre at the Carriageworks Theatre in July 2017. A new production by BMH Productions was performed at The Old Schoolhouse, Oxford, in October 2019.

Three Short Plays

Three one act plays, first performed by Leeds Arts Centre at The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds.

It’s A Miracle
A secret kept since childhood can’t be kept secret any longer, but the consequence is not what was expected.
The Colin Atkins Story
A comic account of the birth of the first British teenager in 1956, somewhere in the north of England.
Is There Anybody There?
A famous atheist finds himself in a seaside boarding house with no memory of how he got there.


“In the land where women are worshipped as gods, in that same land women are not allowed to break their chains.”

The full script of the first performance of a play written in collaboration with and performed by female MA students at Punjabi University, Patiala, in 2019. From female infanticide to different rules for male and female students, the plays explores aspects of gender inequality in India, based on the students’ own experience as young women in a patriarchal society.

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