J. L. Firbank

Poetry, Prose, Play


A small selection of smaller works.


This slapdash site is briefly serving as a portfolio, each text can be expanded by clicking upon it. An author's bio. can be found below.



Jonathan L. Firbank has been writing since his age was in the single digits, proudly winning regional poetry and journalism competitions in primary school while happily neglecting the rest of his studies. He studied English Literature at the University of Exeter and received a first class award for his work in narrative non-fiction, under the tutelage of novelist Professor Sarah Moss.


From there he went to Bristol in order to write a play that was largely in verse and wholly performed by puppets. Putnam and Joy is a dark comedy that brings its titular characters into contact with aspects of the 'four horseman'. The couple fights through syphilitic love, famine and violence before meeting the raw spectre of mortality, personally. It was written in four acts and played on four separate stages surrounding the audience, who sat on cushions as children would to watch Punch and Judy. Directed by Taz Burns, a Tokyo based performance artist and Exeter alumni. The play is the culmination of their most involved research up until that point: the 14th-17th century apocalypticism explored by Jonathan and the history of puppetry Taz had committed her dissertation to.


Since then Jonathan has a produced a labyrinthine collection of short stories and poetry, either recreationally or as a means of honing his craft. He has spent much of the past decade having strange adventures as he travelled through over 20 different countries, accumulating some publication credits along the way by writing advertising copy for local newspapers and magazines.


Now able to write on a regular basis, Jonathan is currently finishing his first full novel. It's a 'low fantasy', set in a lost Bronze Age. It seeks to combine the lurid horror and frenetic pace of the best genre fiction with Jonathan's love for poetry and the dramatic landscapes that helped formulate it. Appropriately, the text depicts women and men fighting to turn transience into stability. Primordial echoes are made manifest around them until their very environment is rendered an enemy. Taking some cues from the world building of Robert E. Howard, the setting is hard bitten and owes much more to pre-history and deepest mythology than to the tried and tested fantasy tropes we have become used to. The novel will be named on completion.