My Own Worst Enemy

Robert Edric

‘A small masterpiece’ The Spectator

My Own Worst Enemy is a wry and moving memoir of a working-class childhood in 1960s Sheffield, and the relationship between a touchy, tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

With a novelist’s eye, Robert Edric vividly depicts a now-vanished era: of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was in the home. And he brings to colourful life his family, both close and extended – though over all of it hovers the vanity and barely-suppressed anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait both of particular time and place – the Sheffield of half a century ago – and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.


ISBN: 9781800750814

Published: February 24, 2022


ISBN: 9781800750838

Published: September 1, 2022


ISBN: 9781800750821

Published: February 24, 2022


Reviews for My Own Worst Enemy

Held me rapt … Edric’s hyper-precise detailing of his working class Sheffield childhood and appalling father is utterly compelling and deserves many a prize’ – Patrick Gale

‘A brilliant portrait of growing up in 60s Sheffield … [a] beautifully written, wonderful little book a powerful account … The cover of this book describes it as a ‘masterpiece’. You cannot argue with that’ – Roger Alton, Daily Mail

‘In astonishing detail, the novelist Robert Edric’s boyhood in 1960s Sheffield – and his bullying father – burst off the page … An absolute masterclass in how to set a scene‘ – Rachel Cooke, The Observer

‘A painfully honest, almost Orwellian account of a struggling family expected to meet the every need of their demanding father, who never lets them forget that he deserved better in life’ – Chris Nancollas, The Tablet

‘The historical novelist Robert Edric deserves to be much better knownterrific account … brilliantly fixes in the mind a time and place that are now both utterly lost’ – Sunday Times

‘A rather remarkable – and remarkably un-depressing – memoir’ – Clare Jenkins, On Magazine

Praise for Robert Edric

‘The brilliant Yorkshire author Robert Edric has terrific range and versatility — memoir, historic fiction, detective stories; he does the lot, superbly’ – Alan Johnson, The Times

‘Edric’s novels constitute one of the most astonishing bodies of work to appear from a single author for a generation’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Much contemporary fiction seems inconsequential and fleeting by comparison’ Guardian

‘Edric is a novelist who makes his own rules and can’t be compared with anyone else’ – The Times

‘This historical novelist’s poignant look back at his 1960s childhood is a little gem … summons up with great care a world that is now so unfamiliar that is feels like another planet … a book that feels as rich and carefully observed as any one of Edric’s historical novels … should finally make Edric as celebrated as he so clearly deserves to be‘ – Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times


Robert Edric

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner, 1986), A New Ice Age (Guardian Prize Runner-up, 1986), The Book Of The Heathen (WH Smith Literary Award, 2000), Peacetime and Gathering the Water (both longlisted for the Booker Prize) and In Zodiac Light, shortlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC award. He lives in Yorkshire.