A former University of East Anglia student is celebrating the release of his debut novel this week.

Rob Perry, from Mattishall, studied creative writing at the UEA and has always had a love for reading and writing after encouragement from his mum.

Rob, 36, said: “After I did that, I knew it was what I would always want to do.”

His book, Dog, focuses on an 18-year-old who stumbles across an unfamiliar dog who refuses to leave him alone.

As he learns more about the dog’s past as one of the fastest greyhounds in the country who was mistreated, Benjamin does everything in his power to protect the animal.

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In 2020, his story was short-listed and highly commended in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award.

Dereham Times: Rob Perry's debut novel, DogRob Perry's debut novel, Dog (Image: Rob Perry)

His inspiration for the story came from his own funny experience, as Rob said: “I saw a couple chasing a greyhound down my road, and the lady was shouting ‘Gary!’.

"I’m not sure if she was shouting at her partner or the dog but it was then that I came up with the idea.”

Rob has collected numerous prizes for his pieces of short fiction, including being a winner of the Nottingham Short Story Prize in 2012 and a winner of the National Centre for Writing’s Escalator Programme in 2019.

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He is a personal fan of funny stories, adding: “I think the really tricky bit is saying something meaningful in the background. That’s what I am always aiming for and what I most enjoy in other people’s writing.”

Dereham Times: Former UEA creative writing student Rob PerryFormer UEA creative writing student Rob Perry (Image: Rob Perry)

A sold-out launch event and book signing is being held at the Book Hive, in London Street on Thursday, where signed copies will also be available to buy from Friday.

Rob added: “I am about halfway through another novel, and about halfway through writing the screenplay for Dog. I’d love to turn it into a film.”