The Crazy Truth
'this novel is a work of art'
Jon Gower

‘Here’s a literary voice blasting out at you, a writer of deep, deep authenticity with a real story to tell. It’s the tale of a young poet finding out that life is like pinball game, all flashing lights and obstacles, but thrillingly full of excitement too.

Gemma June Howell is the real thing and then some, a brilliant new literary voice. Here is a novelist able to palp the rancid underbelly of life and yet find the lyricism, grit and beauty there, superbly well equipped to examine the tests and travails of the creative life and explore how society works for some and leaves others utterly marooned.

Shot through with striking, in-your-face and often drop-dead beautiful writing, this novel is a work of art, but urgently so, with stuff to say about living now and living hard and living with complete and utter honesty.’
Jon Gower, author of The Story of Wales

Available to pre-order now

debut novel coming soon

The Crazy Truth
Gemma June Howell 

In 1984, Girlo Wolf is born into a world of pickets and poverty. She dreams of a world beyond the defunct slagheaps of post-industrial Wales and, nurturing dreams of becoming a poet, seeks social mobility through education. Struggling with life-long mental health challenges and the repercussions of childhood trauma, she falls into a dark underworld of sex, drugs and alcohol. Channelling her lived experiences, and those of her working-class community, she soon discovers that her words are a conduit to recovery and survivourhood.

This emancipatory novel is a must-read. It offers a powerful, darkly comedic and inspiring polyphonic tribute to the intergenerational struggles of working-class women and men, exploring hidden narratives and shedding light on the harsh realities of economic poverty and present-day oppression.

Not just a coming-of-age story, this is an artist's novel featuring concrete poetry punctuating the narrative. Will appeal to readers of Helen Walsh, James Kelman, Irvine Welsh, Niall Griffiths, Rachel Trezise, lloyd Robson and Crystal Jeans.

Photograph by Sean O'Dowd

'brilliant new literary voice' 

Gemma has published extensively in esteemed anthologies, journals and online platforms, most prolifically with The Red Poets, Proletarian Poetry and Culture Matters. Her writing is both lyrical and incisive, combining a poet's sensitivity with an activist's urgency. 
In 2010, she was a finalist for the John Tripp Award for Spoken Word, and has since been published by Bloodaxe Books  ‘Hallelujah for 50ft Women’ (2015), ‘When the Young Dodo’s Meet the Young Dragon’s’ (2015) and The London Magazine (2020). Inside the Treacle Well is her first short story collection published by Hafan Books (2009).  The Crazy Truth is her debut novel, published by Seren Books (2024)



Tôpher Mills


"Brilliant edgy dialect poems evoking many working class Welsh valley's voices. Reminded me of the Glaswegian dialect poet Tom Leonard, she has the same sense of depth and honesty. Gemma June Howell is one of the best young poets with a genuinely unique talent!"
Tanya Byrne

Award-winning YA Author

"Sharp brilliant writing with a unique voice that needs to be heard."

Alan Perry

Author, Painter & Poet

"One of the dazzling new wave of young Welsh writers. Her voice is gritty and sparse, compassionate and sometimes shocking but always authentic and true to her Valley roots."
KArl francis

Award-winning Film Maker & Director

"Gemma Howell is a brilliant young woman writer in the best traditions of Wales. Inspiring to me, not just because I share the same Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen background of Gemma, but because she is a writer who needs to be read. Her book goes where the best writing goes – into the heart of the human condition. She shares with Albert Camus and J. M. Coetzee a passion for humanity’s light and dark. I’m sure she can write a classic."

Inside the Treacle Well

Published by Hafan Books in 2009.