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Kendal author lifts lid on youth hostel romps
A CONTROVERSIAL author whose book features sexual encounters in squeaky youth hostel beds claims he has been unfairly censored.
Steven Freeman, 48, of Kendal, said his novel Black Sail is based on real life events from his time as warden at the remote Lakeland bunkhouse in 1998.
The book is based around the life of a fictional character, the ‘ornamental hermit’ Sol.
However, Mr Freeman said the book, which features strong language and several sex scenes, was inspired by his time as a warden at the Ennerdale hostel.
Mr Freeman added that sexual escapades at the Black Sail were inspired by his own experiences at the hostel in the 1980s when he was a single man.
Mr Freeman says his work is being unfairly censored by the Youth Hostel Association, which he claims ordered his promotional posters to be taken down from several Lake District youth hostels.
“I can only presume this is because the book contains warts ‘n’ all material that doesn’t conform to the squeaky clean public image that the YHA wants to project,” said Mr Freeman.
YHA’s head office has denied any knowledge of the posters.
“The book is quite coarse in parts; but that reflects real life,” said Mr Freeman.
“Some people might not like any suggestion of sexual activities or bad language, but it’s all done with a bit of humour.
“I don’t think it’s going to put people off using youth hostels.”
The novel details Mr Freeman fell running around Great Gable and includes a vision he said he had on the fells about the beauty of the Lakes.
“Below me ridge after ridge of wild high ground poked above the great blankets of white cloud.
"It was the first time I had experienced anything like this, and I was profoundly moved."
Mr Freeman, who now works at an outdoor shop in Ambleside, added: “It's a shame that the stance of the YHA should be prudish and censorial.”
Duncan Simpson, the YHA’s head of corporate affairs and policy, said: “I wasn't aware that Steve was trying to promote his book through YHA or that anyone had said we should take his posters down.
“We're certainly not interested in censoring books so if Steve wants to get in touch we can look at this.”
n Black Sail is published by New Generation at £7.99.