Forthcoming Debut novel published by seren books

The Crazy Truth 

Follow Girlo Wolf's journey from pickets and poverty to poetry and polemics, in Gemma June Howell's The Crazy Truth. This emancipatory novel is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical realism of working-class women's lives from the 1970s to present-day. 

It's not just a coming-of-age story, it's a Kunstlerroman; an artist's novel featuring concrete poetry that packs a punch! A powerful, darkly comedic and inspiring polyphonic tribute to the working-classes'  intergenerational struggles, The Crazy Truth is an exploration of hidden narratives. It brings to light the life worlds of those who have been marginalised, offering a glimpse into the harsh realities of economic poverty and present-day female oppression.

Will appeal to readers of Helen WalshJames Kelman, Irvine Welsh, Niall Griffiths, Rachel Trezise, lloyd Robson and Crystal Jeans

Photograph by Sean O'Dowd


As a writer, Gemma has been published in several anthologies, journals, online platforms and books; most prolifically with The Red Poets, Proletarian Poetry and Culture Matters. Her work explores a range of themes including the experiences of working-class communities, specifically the struggles and triumphs of women. 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 was her first collection published by Hafan Books in 2009. 



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.