A FORMER Stourbridge News sports editor is publishing a novel set in a fictionalised version of the town.

Heathens by Max Hall tells the stories of the lives of people working in the warehouses and factories of the fictional Black Country town of Sedgemere Heath.

Set against a backdrop of the pubs and social clubs of Stourbridge, where its author grew up, the book is a collection of short stories tied together by the escapades of a group of unlikely heroes.

Fuzz is welcomed into her working life by Roy, a man who claims to have been a secret agent, world-class footballer and rock star before ending up among the pens and protractors of a stationery storage depot. Lea’s suspicions about voice-activated technology are confirmed when he opens a direct channel to the most unlikely of recipients and Pete dreams of riches as he pans for gold in the shadow of shuttered foundries.

Stourbridge News: The book cover for Heathens. Image by Phil LoachThe book cover for Heathens. Image by Phil Loach

Heathens is a story of struggle, fulfilment and the importance of hanging on to your dreams. Most of all, though, it’s about the never-ending battle to secure an elusive blue pallet, said Max, aged 47.

Born in Wordsley and raised in the pubs and clubs managed by his parents in and around Stourbridge, Max worked in warehouses to help pay his way through university and, after a spell clocking in at the former Stuart Crystal glassworks, he embarked upon a career in journalism.

His print career took him to the Stourbridge News and Birmingham Post and Mail before going on to titles in Wales and Surrey and a role as a sub-editor on The Independent.

Stourbridge News: Max HallMax Hall

Since 2019 he has lived in Genoa, in northern Italy, with his wife Elsa.

Heathens is being serialised weekly on the Wattpad.com website and can be found by searching for Heathens and #BlackCountry.