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Lloyd Markham

Bad Ideas\Chemicals

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Betty Trask Award Winner

Shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year

‘A quirky, surreal and often very funny story by a talented new writer: Red Dwarf meets Trainspotting, narrated in a new, original voice.’ – Joanne Harris

‘At its heart, the story of the Orphan Three is a passionate defence of friendship, and a celebration of the weirdness of life, no matter where you’re born or in what circumstances you find yourself.’ – Eluned Gramich, New Welsh Review

‘Markam has a unique voice. His language is constantly dark and clear, no simile or adjective is wasted or out of place. His turn of phrase and observations can be beautifully sad.[...] It might be hard for Cassandra and her friends to be sober in Goregree. Post-Brexit and post-industrial Wales is a hard place to live for many but in Markham those who feel that they are voiceless or trapped have found a distinct champion in Markham encouraging the Cassandras of the world to dream and seek
their own Alpha Centauri.’ – Wales Arts Review

Cassandra Fish believes she is out of this world, wearing her orange film-set spacesuit daily in the hope that her absent parents will return and take her back to her real planet. While she waits she accompanies her friends – frustrated musician Billy, the only open mic player in the town and the laddish, volatile Fox – from bar to nightclub – on one last great night out to drink, dance, take bad chemicals, have bad trips, have bad ideas, and do unthinkable things.


Lloyd Markham was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, moving to and settling in Bridgend, south Wales when he was thirteen. He spent the rest of his teen years having bad and strange nights out before undertaking a BA in Writing at Glamorgan (now USW) followed by an MPhil. Lloyd started writing Bad Ideas\Chemicals in his freshman year when Bridgend was in the tabloids for suicides and everyone was telling rotten jokes. A similar vein of despairing charcoal black gallows humour runs through this nightmarish social satire which in 2018 was both shortlisted for Wales Book of The Year and won a Betty Trask Award. Lloyd enjoys Japanese animation and operates synthesisers in a band called Deep Hum. He has less bad nights out these days.