June 11, 2009

Released from Captivity: Hugo Wilcken’s Colony

Posted in Wilcken Hugo at 8:00 am by John Self

Two weeks ago I wrote about Hugo Wilcken’s second novel Colony, and was surprised and delighted by it. It’s a book of high literary ambition – fully achieved – but also with a compelling story. To me that meant it should appeal to a wide audience, rather than the audience of hardly anyone that it actually reached on publication in August 2007. I was delighted to see so many people buying copies after my review went up (and slightly alarmed that for once my recommendations will be held to account). If you’re one of those people, look away now, because I’ve just snaffled a handful of copies of Colony to give away.


If you would like a copy of Colony, say so in the comments box below by Monday 15 June. The offer is open to readers anywhere in the world, and as usual all you have to do is read it and say what you thought: here, on your own blog, on Amazon, in the pub or anywhere else. If you don’t, you will be sent to a penal colony in French Guiana without supper.

About these ads


  1. Carsten said,

    Great news! I am a steady reader of your blog – all the way from Denmark. I put “Colony” on my “to buy and read”-list after your very good review of the book.

    Actually, I mentioned “Colony” on my own blog “The Escapist” (in danish) after I have just read Goldings “Lord of the Flies”. Have you thought of any connections between the two books?

    Anyway, I would love to recieve a copy of “Colony” from you… :-)

    Carsten / The Escapist

  2. thehungryreader said,

    I would love to receive a copy of “Colony”..however I am in India :-( I so want to read it cos its not available here…Vivek

  3. Carole said,

    Hi John
    Please put my name in the pot, I enjoyed the review and would love a copy of the book… Carole

  4. PaulSweeney said,

    Well that’s a great offer. But I am still going to buy the book, so that it gets the support it (probably) deserves. Its shot up now to book number 1,024 on my to read list ;)

  5. charles said,

    Oh, yes please, add me into the hat. Thank you. (And by the way, other thing entirely, the latest post on the CBe blog Sonofabook picks up from the end of your McGahern review.)

  6. Andrew Male said,

    Am i too late? I’ve been following the Colony bulletins with interest and it sounds intriguing and well… i don’t want to pass up this offer. name in the ragged colonial hat please!

  7. Lee Monks said,

    Definitely put me in the pot, John. Firstly because it sounds tremendous, secondly because I’m somewhat compromised on the book-buying front as my wife is due to give birth imminently! Here’s hoping……

    • John Self said,

      Good luck Lee – all my friends seem to be either about to have babies or just had them. Hope you find the time to read in between feeds when the big day (month, year, lifetime) comes!

      • Lee Monks said,

        Cheers, John. I’ve been practising my one-handed reading technique (I’m sure I could now do a few decent card tricks) in preparation, though I’m sure the lack of sleep will make such matters moot!

  8. Teresa said,

    I put this on my list when I saw your review. It sounds marvelous. Please do add me to the drawing.

  9. Tom Godfrey said,

    Yes, the review sounded good and it is on my reading list, so a free copy would be great.

  10. Dhea Quasim said,

    I’d like a copy please!

  11. Adr. said,

    Count me in as well. I’d like to get my grubby paws on a copy…

  12. Beth said,

    Here’s another hat for the ring. And, if I don’t win it, I’ll buy it!

  13. Peter Crowe said,

    Please put me in the pot!

    Counting against me are the facts that: I don’t have a blog, and so my review would appear on the palimp where you have already done the job far better than I would; and secondly, I live in Amsterdam, which would need international postage.

    If I haven’t ruled myself out completely, it would be much appreciated.

  14. Nancy Luckhurst said,

    I just discovered your blog from a Twitter link; hurray! Colony sounds like an interesting read, and I’d love to win a copy. I’d be happy to write a review and post it on Gather where I am the Friday member editor of the Writing Essentials group.

  15. Justine said,

    I would love a copy of Colony – your review and enthusiasm for it has me intrigued.

  16. nicole said,

    I put this on my wishlist but haven’t been able to buy it yet, so please put me in the pot ad well. Your review really did make me want to read it right away!

  17. /sigh/

    am I too late for this party or what Rob?
    Or is it names in a hat.

    My intention is to read it and then either stick it on BookCrossing, as I have just found out that a local eatery is a BC ‘site’, or, Freecycle it…..I might do what Rob has done, give it away, but via Twitter as I rarely blog these days

    so many essys to write etc :eek:


  18. John Self said,

    No Mark, you’re in plenty of time. The draw is open until next Monday and yes, five winners will be chosen from all the entrants at that stage. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear earlier.

  19. matttodd said,

    Sure. Add me to the list.

    It’s got such a pretty cover! And the review sounds promising, too. Resulting comments would end up on my own blog…

  20. Annabel said,

    Please count me in. Your review made it go straight onto my wishlist. Thanks.

  21. Colette Jones said,

    Count me in! Thanks.

  22. Dark Wolf said,

    Please count me in! Thank you very much.

  23. Meghan Johnson said,

    I’d love a copy! Your review grabbed my attention! :)

  24. Linda Coggs said,

    After reading your review & being somewhat low on funds I have desired but not aquired this book, please consider me for free copy.

  25. Nicole said,

    Despite the cover, I would love a copy of this book!

  26. john hilden said,

    I might as well throw my name in too as I doubt this book will even come out in the states. It sounds interesting and any comparison with Galgut plays well with me. I never win anything of course but that’s okay. At least someone will be profiting. Thanks for your generosity John.

  27. Andy said,

    I’d love a copy. Please count me in.

  28. Trevor said,

    I just started reading this today! Glad to see others will have the opportunity.

    Loving the setup of the story, by the way . . .

  29. Damn my impatience!

    It does have one advantage though.

    slightly alarmed that for once my recommendations will be held to account

    Tomorrow my friend, tomorrow.

  30. Tony S. said,

    Yes, I want to enter this drawing.

  31. Richard said,

    Judging from your review it sounds interesting, so yes please.

  32. Richard said,

    Hey John – sign me up! (As distinct from the Richard immediately above.)

    (Also, everyone, I can vouch for the excellence of Wilcken’s other novel, The Execution.)

  33. deucekindred said,


    So far I haven’t been disappointed with your recommendations so i’ll be eager to take part in this contest and as swallowing the sun I’ll read and review it on my blog

  34. Paul said,

    Hey John,

    I’d love to be entered in the drawing. After all, you’ve personally built up the hype to a fevered pitch.

  35. whiterice said,

    Would be delighted to win a copy of this title. – CW

  36. Hi, I’d like to join the draw too.

  37. J.P. Smith said,

    I’d be delighted to read and comment on it here and on my Red Room blog.

  38. linnahsu said,

    Your review really makes me interested in the book. Please count me in. :D

  39. nico said,

    Hi John, am I too late? I feel I MUST join the list. I may be the most flamboyant destination (Chile), but since you said anywhere in the world!

  40. joy dye said,

    Already have my copy and am reading at the moment on your reco. So far so good! Just need to cancel work / postpone life or something so I can really get my teeth into it.

  41. Seoman said,

    Hello John,

    Can I put my name in the bag for the chance of a copy of Colony.


  42. bill r. said,

    I would like this book and if I receive a copy I will read it and write about it on my blog.

    That’s probably not enough to win, is it?

  43. Brian said,

    I’d love to enter!

  44. Oscar said,

    Thanks for making the offer avalaible for readers worldwide. I would love to get a copy (and I will buy it at Amazon anyway if I don’t win, I’m a sucker for prison dramas and I love Cormac McArthy, so if Steve Mitchelmore is right in his appreciation I know I’ll gulp it). Cheers.

  45. Natasha said,

    Yes, I like the sound of this! Only just discovered your blog after a #followfriday

    Thanks a lot! I’m going to check out some of your other reviews now…

  46. Derek Walker said,

    I’d love a copy!

  47. Ezra said,

    Thanks for the offer! Put my name in the hat too, please.

  48. Alan said,

    Please add me to your draw. Thanks.

  49. Jeff said,

    I’d love to be entered into the drawing. The novel sounds fantastic. Wonderful work with the blog as well.


  50. Michael said,

    I’d love a copy. As a teacher, I am always looking for new material.


  51. Can I go in the hat? If there is a hat, or, if not, the relevant hat substitute.

  52. John Self said,

    I think it’s probably an algorithm (or something) Jonathan. But yes, you can. I’ll close the poll at midnight GMT and draw five winners tomorrow.

  53. Kerry said,

    Squeaking in under the wire, I would like a shot at Wilcken’s “Colony”. Thanks for the opportunity and for exposing your faithful readers to underappreciated authors. I am very pleased the marketplace is feeling your influence. Your great work is being rewarded.

  54. Kerry said,

    By the way, after reading through all the other entries, if you have any thoughts on comparisons between “Lord of the Flies” and “Colony”, I too would be interested. I recently got reacquainted with “Lord of the Flies” myself through an audiobook read by Golding himself. (I commute an hour plus to work, so audiobooks provide a passable substitute for the real thing during that otherwise wasted time.

  55. John Self said,

    Thanks for all the interest in this draw, everyone. Sorry to be late with the results.

    The random numbers between 1 and 48 were 12, 29, 36, 37, and 38, which I work out as being Peter Crowe, Richard the second (as it were), Nico, Seoman and bill r. Well done everyone, I’ve emailed you to get your addresses.

    Incidentally, for those in the US who weren’t successful, Colony is now available there – check Amazon or elsewhere.

  56. bill r. said,

    Oh, goodness! I didn’t expect that. I’m very pleased. Thanks very much, John — and in case you weren’t aware, because for some reason I added the “r” to my name, this is bill of the Palimpsest…

  57. Peter said,

    Thanks a lot John. I’ve been force-feeding myself Dutch lit lately, so this will make a nice palate cleanser. I’ll post a palimp review when I’m done.

  58. Kerry said,

    Congratulations to the winners! Thanks, John, for the contest and, more so, for bringing this book wider recognition. Off to Amazon….

  59. Tom C said,

    Gosh, you got a mensh in Private Eye this week (Books and Bookmen). Hope you enjoy the resulting hits! all the best, Tom

  60. John Self said,

    Yes I saw that Tom, with mixed feelings! Oddly, in my limited experience, print mentions rarely enhance blog hits. Notoriety will have to suffice in lieu of fame.

  61. nico said,

    Hi John, thanks for the book, got the copy! I’m looking forward to the winter break to read it. Thanks again!

  62. John Self said,

    Winter? But it’s … – oh yeah. I see what you mean.

  63. nico said,

    Yes, the other way around here!

  64. The Private Eye column is funny, in a sad kind of way. They mention that the book’s sales increased by 5000% or whatever, then reveal that in real terms the total sales of Colony are now… 21 copies. I wonder if that’s true. If so, it only reaffirms that the publishing world is a cruel one.

  65. John Self said,

    It’s not true Jonathan, or not quite. The sales of Colony since publication have been very low, since (so far as I can tell) it was published with not much more promotion or distribution than a vanity press book. Private Eye’s figure relies on Nielsen BookScan. The main problem with this, particularly in the present case, is that BookScan doesn’t count sales from the Book Depository or Amazon Marketplace, which I believe are the places most people bought from following my review of the book.

  66. […] (I also read Colony by Hugo Wilcken, one of my favourite books of recent years, as a result of John’s review). The astonishing cover (pictured above) is by Tom Darracott by the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,596 other followers

%d bloggers like this: