Sophie Lancaster story is inspiration for novel

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , .

AN acclaimed author has written a novel inspired by the murder of Haslingden woman Sophie Lancaster.

‘Hate’, by Alan Gibbons, is a fictional story which follows a girl called Eve, who discovers her boyfriend, Antony, was present when her sister was killed.

The writer, whose books have sold more than a million copies, wrote ‘Hate’ with the blessing of Sophie’s mum, Sylvia, who he met at a conference two years ago.

Next week, Mr Gibbons will join Sylvia at Sophie’s old school, Haslingden High, to talk to students about prejudice and bullying.

Mr Gibbons said going to see Black Roses, the play based on Sophie’s murder, made him even more determined to write a novel about the events.

He added: “That night I went home to my own wife and kids.

“Rarely have I appreciated the preciousness of human life and the ease with which it can be snuffed out.

“I didn’t want my novel to tread the same ground so I invented the character of Anthony and from there re-imagined the aftermath of the attack Sophie suffered through the eyes of a number of invented characters.

“Hate is the result.

“I hope it does Sophie justice and honours all victims of bigotry and prejudice.”

Sophie died after she and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, were attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, in August 2007 because they dressed in Gothic-style clothes.

Mr Gibbons said: “It was an unprovoked assault.

“Rob and Sophie dressed alternatively.

“The attackers called them ‘moshers’ and ‘freaks’.

“Sophie didn’t die because of something they had done or said.

“She died because of the way they dressed.

“Hate crime comes in many forms: racism, sexism, prejudice against the disabled and the form it takes in this book, homophobia.”

The radio version of Black Roses, written by poet Simon Armitage, will be broadcast to MPs during a listening party in the House of Commons today .

n ‘Hate’ will be released on April 10 through Orion Books.

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