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TO write Wasteground veteran journalist Dennis Apperly draws on his many years of experience investigating and reporting on crime and social deprivation on the streets of a tough city in the Midlands. The five main characters in the book - Midnight Sam, Scots Robby, The Professor, Lady Jane and Fen - form a band of homeless street-drinkers who beg, steal and borrow to survive. Their precarious existence is hard, dangerous and violent but at times both comical and tender. Besides following their often bizarre day-to-day exploits, the author delves deep into their individual backgrounds to describe how and why these unlikely comrades came to be on the wasteground. Dennis began his journalistic career in 1970 as a reporter with the South African Press Association in Johannesburg. He returned to the UK after three years and has since worked on a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Bristol Evening Post and the Birmingham Post. In 1985 he was appointed launch editor of a weekly newspaper called the Gloucester Express, during which time he organised an award-winning relief aid campaign to Umm Keddada, a remote village in Darfur, Sudan.
He then spent a number of years free-lancing before becoming crime reporter for the Gloucester Citizen. Dennis, who is married with a grown-up son and lives in Cheltenham, has written a sequel to Wasteground entitled Looking For Lady. A non-fiction - The Road to Umm Keddada - is in preparation.