Pig (novel)

Pig, is the debut novel of English author Andrew Cowan. Published in 1994 it won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award, the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award,[1] and was shortlisted for five other awards.[2]

First edition cover with quote from Michael Dibdin
AuthorAndrew Cowan
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherMichael Joseph
Publication date
30 Aug 1994
Media typePrint

Plot introductionEdit

Pig is a coming-of-age story set in a bleak post-industrial English new town as told by 15 year-old narrator Danny. The eponymous pig is kept by Danny's grandparents in a run-down cottage, but when his grandmother dies and his grandfather is placed in a nursing home, Danny starts looking after the elderly pig. With his Indian girlfriend Surinder he creates a haven away from his racist neighbours and stifling family.


The book took the author six years to write and commemorated his first girlfriend and his own grandfather.[3] Its setting and context were based on the town of Corby where the author grew up.[4] After many rejections from publishers Cowan sent off a manuscript to the Betty Trask Awards and won £7,000. Within days of winning the award Cowan received 12 letters from publishers interested in the book.[3]


  • A solid, strong effort from a prize-winning Scottish-born writer who peers closely into the struggles of a sensitive boy as he tries to hold on to those things most precious to him....[A] small but excellent tale of contemporary English society." - Kirkus Reviews, 07/15/1996[5]
  • "Mostly, Mr. Cowan's prose is plain as a pikestaff, earnestly fixed on the physical world. But his minimalism is not of the frozen or portentous type....The author's dispassionate gaze carries with it great compassion....[T]he book is a coming-of-age story as strange and surprising, in its way, as The Catcher in the Rye. It is a novel about inarticulateness and confusion that could not itself be more direct and sure." - New York Times Book Review, 12/15/1996.[6]
  • "In sentence upon sentence of finely honed prose, Scottish-born Andrew Cowan meticulously creates a richly textured, thickly detailed portrait of a sensitive young man trying to salvage something of value from the fragments of a shattered world....'Pig' portrays the poignancy of its situation in loving, painstaking detail." - Los Angeles Times Book Review, 12/22/1996.[7]


External linksEdit

Official website