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The Hopkins Conundrum

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‘Simon Edge’s novel offers laugh-out-loud set pieces as well as a remarkable glimpse of the poetic sensibility, a humane vision of the religious life, and a warm portrait of romance. It is not, perhaps, a novel to take on a sea cruise. But anywhere else it is perfect – engaging, fascinating and (by turns) funny, moving and eye-opening’

Much Ado Books

‘I love this novel. It pulls off the three-card trick of being entertaining, genuinely touching, and a fascinating insight into Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry’

Harriett Gilbert, presenter of BBC Radio 4s A Good Read


‘A pleasurable literary thriller. Edge wears his Hopkins learning lightly, sprinkling the book with snippets while avoiding didacticism or handholding’

The Spectator

‘The novel seesaws between comedy and calamity, present and past. It pokes fun at pretension but also

gives an insight into why a Catholic poet such as Hopkins – so weird, so spiritual and so intense – deserves his claim to greatness. The result is a novel enjoyable on every level’

Daily Express

‘By turns gripping and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a great read for anyone who has ever reached the end of a Vatican thriller with an eyebrow raised’

Press Association

‘A stunning new voice, Simon Edge crafts a send-up

that both masters and subverts genre conventions

to reveal a unique point of view and a warm,

beating heart’

Foreword Reviews

A comedy with a touching emphasis on the importance of truth in human relationships’

The Tablet

‘A riotous read’

Nicola Heywood Thomas, BBC Radio Wales


This remarkable, upbeat book is a healthy, positive novelty to Hopkins literature and Hopkins people’

Dr Norman White, author of Hopkins: A Literary Biography


‘The debut novel from Simon Edge is a funny, genre-fusing page-turner... written with verve and poise’


‘This is a hugely entertaining book that beautifully captures the characters individual voices and characters. And if Hopkins leaves you cold, Edges excoriating analysis is an utter delight’

WI Life

‘A remarkable debut, cleverly blending three very separate strands into a story that’s at turns witty,

touching and romantic. Warm, tragic and wonderfully written’

The Bookbag

‘This is amongst other things a novel that takes poetic composition and poetic theory very seriously, but with a very light touch’

RTE Arena

‘A delicious read... One of those odd books which deliver more than you’d expect’


A literary comedy, The Hopkins Conundrum blends

a satirical modern-day story with two historical narratives featuring the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and the shipwrecked nuns who inspired his best-known poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland.

Click on the arrow above to watch a one-minute trailer.

A reader heard me recite the first stanza of
The Wreck of the Deutschland on the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4, and suggested I should record the whole thing. With the help of Adam Jones-Lloyd and Lightning Books, I made it into a video.


Click on the arrow to hear or watch it. Follow the text here.

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