City's latest literary son finds some time to come up with debut work

Hull has more than its fair share of literary history.

The city can claim as its sons – naturally born or adopted -

Philip Larkin, Alan Plater, John Godber, Richard Bean. Russ Litten is the latest name to be added to the roll call.

Although a debut novelist, Litten already has a literary pedigree, having had his plays broadcast on radio and, more impressively, having contributed to the Robert Downey Jr movie version of Sherlock Holmes. It was while writing on the Guy Ritchie directed movie in 2008, that Litten wrote his first novel.

"That was a little strange," says Litten, who is friends with James Brown, the establishing editor of Loaded magazine. "I'm friends with James through football and he mentioned that there was a "guy" who was looking for some help writing scenes for a movie and James, knowing that I'm a scriptwriter, suggested that we meet.

"When I got to London for the meeting, I saw a photograph of Madonna on the desk and realised that the guy was actually Guy Ritchie," says Litten.

The author was asked to write key fight scenes for the film and he stayed in London for several weeks to work on the script. In the evenings, after working with Ritchie, Litten found himself with time on his hands. He decided to start working on a novel set around Hull Fair in the aftermath of the floods that devastated the city in 2007.

The peripatetic novel, Scream if you Want to Go Faster, takes in a sometimes bewildering range of characters, telling each of their stories in a distinctive voice.

"It's a big, sprawling story. I suppose the main characters are two young lovers but I put them at the centre of a spider's web and looked at all the other characters that would be affected by the vibrations in the web from their lives.

"It's set over a weekend in October, the weekend the fair is in town, and it tells the story of 10 lives that intersect at the fair."

The book will be launched next week after being picked up by publishing giant Random House. "I hope it's the sort of book that people who don't normally read books are tempted to read," says Litten.

Scream if You Want to Go Faster is launched at Hull Waterstone's at 6.30pm on Monday.