Nigel Jarrett, according to Martin Amis, is someone he’s never heard of. Despite phone calls to all three, Julian Barnes, Germaine Greer and Clive James also admitted not having come across him or his work. To put this quartet of nobodies out of their misery (revise if they ring back -NJ), Nigel Jarrett won the Rhys Davies Prize for short fiction. He has been music critic of the South Wales Argus since 1987 . His poetry, stories and journalism have appeared all over the place since the Mesozoic era and were in recent issues of Poetry Wales, The Salisbury Review, Agenda, Planet and Envoi. Since 2009 he has been reviewing poetry for Acumen magazine and jazz for Jazz Journal. Parthian is publishing his debut collection of stories, Funderland, in Sept/Oct this year. The writer and critic Jon Gower says the stories represent Jarrett ‘writing out of his skin’. Alan Ross, of London Magazine, said they take people ‘out of their comfort zone’. But Jarrett is keen to reassure comfort-zone inhabitants and the skin-covered that their £8.99 for the book will be well spent on Flahavans Irish Porridge and bottles of Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2001. Jarrett went to Cardiff University to study natural sciences but left without a degree. He would like to have gone to Newport Art College but couldn’t get a pair of sandals to fit and was allergic to yellow ochre. Despite the angst of working for years on a daily newspaper, his best moments were spent thinking about how many people were reading his words each night (approx 27, including a chap called Charlie who may have been stalking him). Being a man with a certain gravitas, they were mostly words of more than three syllables. He lives in M———– with his wife, Ann, a former teacher. When the novelist Anthony Burgess was given all this information he famously said: ‘So what? I couldn’t give a shit.’ But fame, elusive quantity, remains the spur.