Still Barred – an anthology of 25 tales – exceeded its target on 3 November having received the backing of 191 investors, including comedian Andy Hamilton and writer Nick Hornby, after a crowdfunding effort spanning the past year.
In April 2016, the list of customers barred from the Half Moon pub in Herne Hill, south London, went viral on Twitter after it was shared by a former employee and local singer songwriter Rumer.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, John Mitchinson, co-founder and chief publishing officer of crowdfunding publisher Unbound, took up the challenge to commission a 25-story anthology of fictional back stories for each name on the list – which included the likes of ‘One armed Kieth’, ‘Mickey Two Suits’ and ‘The Glaswegian’ – in a single afternoon.
The list – which reads like a list of “drunk Avengers” according to GQ – will now form the basis of a collection of short stories to be published as a paperback original and e-book in spring 2018.
Mitchinson, who is editing the book, said: "The [list of barred names] was discovered by Gill O'Neill who had worked at the pub. It went viral and everybody who saw it thought it was such a classic list of names so we came up with the idea of developing backstories for these people.
“The whole idea was that we'd commission it all in an afternoon – which we did. There were 25 stories in the book so we commissioned 25 authors.
"There's been a certain amount of scepticism among some of the locals but in general people have been incredibly positive."
The “really good list of people” who are collaborating on the project after answering Mitchinson’s call on Twitter have been assembled from a wide variety of media backgrounds. They include BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Matthew Sweet; author of The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla; co-writer of the Ladybird books for grown-ups Jason Hazeley; and award-winning novelist Lissa Evans.
Of the stories he’s already seen, Mitchinson highlights Evans’s story as one to look out for: "The Lissa Evans story – which is about Gus and his mate Mark – is a really funny story about two blokes sitting in a pub bantering."
Still Barred will be the latest entry in the Half Moon’s literary history because the pub was once a regular haunt for writers John Ruskin and Dylan Thomas. The current building dates back to 1896 and, during the past 40 years, has established itself as one of London’s premier rock pub venues – winning fame as the place Chris Blackwell of Island Records first heard U2.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, the Half Moon closed its doors for two years after severe flooding but reopened in summer 2016 as part of the Fuller’s stable after renovation plans were given the green light.
Updates on Still Barred and a full list of authors can be found here.