Colin MacIntyre

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Colin MacIntyre is an award-winning musician, and one of the UK’s most respected songwriters and multi-instrumentalists.  With two top-20 albums and four top-40 singles to his name, Colin records and performs most notably under the name Mull Historical Society.  He has performed live sessions on Radio 4 and 6Music, and on TV on Later wih Jools Holland and The Jonathan Ross Show.  He has played all major festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and T in the Park, and has toured with acts such as The Strokes, Elbow and REM.  He is the co-author of a Radio 4 Afternoon Play, Zero Degrees of Separation, and has collaborated with (amongst others) Tony Benn and Irvine Welsh.

Born into a family of writers and storytellers, Colin grew up in the Hebrides and now lives in London and New York with his wife and two daughters.

Colin's debut novel, THE LETTERS OF IVOR PUNCH, was published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in May 2015.


Praise for



Colin MacIntyre

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

May 2015

Winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award


“A profound, mischievous and elegiac novel of the mysteries of place and the waves that wash us away from home and pull us back again. Through its cast of characters - all islands embattled by their histories and reaching to the sea for escape - Colin MacIntyre poses some big questions: how do we forgive the crimes of family, how does a shared myth become a personal truth that can console instead of wounding, can we find ourselves only by leaving the things we know, or must we ultimately return to them for the answers we crave? These questions are asked in sly, playful and often devastating prose, as sharp and salty as the Atlantic Ocean that beats against the lives of his characters like a curse continually revisited and a promise never far from being kept or broken. And in Ivor Punch he has created a magnificent hero of sorts - foul-mouthed and broken-hearted, wise and clueless, sinful and incredulous and boyish in his pursuit of a star to light his own darkness and the darkness that exists out in the world beyond his island. Funny, sad, mysterious and truthful. And fuck, the dialogue is killer.” Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English

“Tragedy and superstition hang over the characters like a mist, and the sea laps against every page. These are beguiling tales built on secrets and sadness, each of them with a keen sense of place.” Independent on Sunday

“I raced through this clever, poignant, beautiful book in one sitting. It's peopled by a cast of brilliantly off-the-wall characters, and full of keen-eyed observations about life on a remote Scottish island – and, by extension, everywhere. A must-read.” Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us

“Incredible... Merging history, fiction, myth and realism, the stories combine to piece together a fascinating, surprising and entertaining chronicle of a family and a community. In parts witty, shocking, curious and wry, it is a multi-faceted novel that delights at every turn... MacIntyre not only creates a thing of genius and wonder but shows his ability to handle even the most complex of narratives with sophistication and understanding... It is hard to believe that this is his first novel, so original and impressive it is.” We Love This Book

“A genuinely heartfelt novel with some standout elements of dark comedy.” List

“As a songwriter, Colin MacIntyre seems always to have been a natural storyteller. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he turned his abilities to the longer form of the novel. It is fitting that the man best known as Mull Historical Society has crafted a story to which he has put his own name, yet it is a novel which owes so much to his roots on the island of Mull. Such powerful storytelling resonated strongly with readers at the Book Festival, making Colin a runaway winner in voting for the First Book Award.” Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival

“We meet a pioneering female writer, two fatherless boys, a man who fell from the sky and, of course, the prolific letter writer Ivor Punch.” Big Issue

“A real storyteller.” Simon Mayo, BBC Radio 5 Live


Publication DetailsNotes

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Imagine an island, a place separated from the mainland by choppy seas. A place of myths and faith, where a Headless Horseman is said to stalk the woods but where the kirk is always full.

Imagine a community which held its own against Darwin but which can't hold on to its own.

Prepare to meet a pioneering female travel writer, two fatherless boys, and a man who, quite simply, fell from the sky. And, at the centre of it all, the figure who links the past to the present - the irrepressible, unforgettable former Sergeant Punch.

Ivor Punch will not be taking his secrets to the grave. He's going to share them: with a departed relative, with President Obama and, especially, with you.

Hilarious and heartfelt, rowdy and true, THE LETTERS OF IVOR PUNCH is a novel about fathers and sons, secrets and lies and how, sometimes, you have to leave home to know what home is.