Born on February 13th 1993, I arrived at Warwick University, got sent to an insane asylum after writing an essay about marijuana, jumped off an eighty-foot bridge & into a two-month coma, got kicked out of Warwick University, then started to write a novel and sing my poems. I haven't taken illegal drugs for a few years, but I am still schizophrenic and suffer from depression sometimes.
I am now 27 years old and have worked a variety of jobs, finding that I am only slightly impaired by my physical disability. These jobs include writing articles for Magic Care, volunteering in the British Heart Foundation, and working in an admin role for the Selby Trust. Once upon a dream, I was member of the RADA Youth Company. At Camden School for Girls, I played the title role in Farquhar's 'The Recruiting Officer'. I still love going to the theatre with my dad.
I got 7A*s & 2 As at GCSE. I took Maths onto AS Level & got an A. I got an A in Drama/Theatre Studies A-Level and A*s in English Literature and History. I won the Reuel International Prize for Upcoming Poet in 2017. My song 'Flu Blues' was featured on a BBC-World service programme about mental health & music also in 2017.
As a reader and a writer, I'm fascinated by the sound of language and the art of storytelling, particularly how they have developed through time. There is something inextricably human about all great literature.
I have read all the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald & Haruki Murakami & Jack Kerouac & Fernando Pessoa. I also love the poetry of Allen Ginsberg & Frank O'Hara & Leonard Cohen & Alexander Pope & Elizabeth Bishop & Bob Dylan & John Keats & Shakespeare.
After years of consciously integrating the stylistic influence of other writers into my own poetry and prose, I have found my own voice. As a student of creative writing, I am especially interested in the exercises of the French surrealists and also the connection between music and words. I’ve performed my poetry, stand-up comedy and music at around twelve London venues, both terrified and exhilarated by the prospect of immediate feedback.
I have released two albums, ‘Welcome to Planet Earth’ and ‘Worlds That Lovers Bent’. I play guitar & a bit of keyboard & sing. I recently finished my first novel, "God's Pretty Game of Grotesque Puppets". This autobiographical epic is a series of vignettes: 'The Sun Always Sets in the West', Happy Tears in Love with a Cold', 'The Inauguration of Insanity', 'The Mother of Infinity'', and 'The Devil Can't & God Won't' . I'm Dominic Francis, or Walking Doctor Tonnan, and I wish you the best.
"Francis, (or ‘Walking Doctor Tonnan’ his adopted identity for the tale) already belongs in the company of Henry Miller, William Burroughs and J.P. Donleavy – and for me, Martin Millar. The ability to make sex, death and madness entertaining as well as challenging; to get the laughter essential to our humanity woven into the narrative, is a rare skill."
- Bruce Abrahams, Books Editor of Erotic Review Magazine.
"So readable and full of surprises; you never know where it's going to go next."
- Eliza Gearty, author of 'On the Doors'
"His style is reminiscent of Henry Miller’s semi-autobiographical novels – an admixture of philosophy, surrealism, mysticism and sex. I was mesmerized by the lyrical cadence, and the way the words dance and prance at the writer’s bidding. Whether his words do a crazy dance or a somber, meditative one, it was a pure delight keeping pace with his steps."
- Santosh Bakaya, Academician-poet-novelist-essayist-Ted Speaker, critically acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mohandas K Gandhi, 'Ballad of Bapu'
"Francis has delivered a visionary novel that seems to have come from the very centre of the cosmos. A series of surreal vignettes, with a rock 'n' roll energy that evokes both Burroughs and Bukowski, but is also a unique voice that is entirely Francis' own creation."
- Book Junky, Amazon Review
"It's marvellous. I was reminded of Swift at places and it feels thoroughly English too. I don't know if it's just the music or the presentation really. I also liked how matter-of-factly things were stated with wit and nonchalance."
- Udita Garg, poet, on the Audiobook
EXTRACTS FROM "GOD'S PRETTY GAME OF GROTESQUE PUPPETS"
When two humanoids meet for the first time on Restralardin, in formal circumstances it’s considered polite for each to pluck three hairs from their head and give them to the other to swallow. It’s rather rude to refuse to consume another’s hair and the ritual represents the notion of personal sacrifice for the sake of oneness. Rockland is my fellow medical undergraduate and his hair tastes like a bashful blend of stale-vanilla-fudge & halloumi. I quite like it, you know.
"I had mind-blowing sex with this girl, then everyone clapped, then I ate macaroons, then I cleaned a cat, then I got arrested, then I took acid, then I uncovered a conspiracy, then I forgot the conspiracy, then I picked up this phone call,” I tell her, anxiously.
The sentimental, sentient sense of an impending doom hangs heavy over the harbour of dreams tonight. A lonely couple of fishing boats are anchored to your right, swaying violently with the unbridled pull of the tide, which could climax into a deafening crescendo at any point. The horizon is a heroic haze of two adjacent planets. Photograph it and your camera will melt.
My favourite bit of the Animal Circus is the end, which is a Meet & Greet with the animal stars. I meet the dancing frog, the somersaulting parrot, the laughing penguin, and all kinds of cool characters. Each animal star seems genuinely thrilled to be where they are. I expect the ape in a gown to break character when I ask him a serious question about the ethics of the Animal Circus, but all he does is mime a weep.
“I refer to the housewife who likes to waltz with me when her husband is away on business, the postwoman to whom I sometimes deliver post, and my neighbour who has funny eyebrows,” I say straightforwardly, knowing a full-disclosure of the facts will be enough to satisfy Zelda’s inquiries yet enough to maintain an air of mystery. “How about you? Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?”