Matt Bishop: I wanted to honour long-lost comrades

Matt Bishop is one of the sports legendary media men, as Editor of F1 Racing magazine – when it was a great read – he pushed the limits of reporting and photography of a sport he is passionate about, which in itself would be a real tale to tell.

During his impressive career, Matt has worked both sides of the fence at the highest level of F1, and as a gifted writer it is no surprise he turned his talents to writing a novel.

The fruits of which is ‘The Boy Made the Difference’ which deals candidly with a subject close to his heart and intrinsically woven into his life, namely the tragedy of HIV/AIDS suffered by his generation.

This is what he had to say of his work, “I wrote The Boy Made the Difference because I had noticed that very few literary novels are nowadays set against the narrative backdrop of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which had a profound and lasting effect on the gay community.

“During that time I was working as a home support volunteer (aka ‘buddy’) for London Lighthouse, at the time the world’s largest HIV/AIDS centre, and, having helped many young men cope with the ravages of AIDS, often supporting them as they approached their deaths”

“I wanted to honour those long-lost comrades with a novel that would celebrate their incredible courage,” added Matt.

His publishers wrote in the book launch press release:

Matt Bishop’s beautifully written debut novel explores many challenging themes in the LGBTQ+ community’s history

The Boy Made the Difference is a gripping tale, sad yet funny, and is fast-paced and full of vibrant dialogue. Set in London between 1989 and 1991, the story starts when Rex, a husband and father, makes an unintentional error. Will he get away with his terrible, taboo-busting mistake?

This opening premise is the starting gun to a rollicking ride through London of the late 1980s and early 1990s, in a literary novel that focuses on human frailty, love, marriage, family bonds, gay-sex, betrayal, alcoholism, illness and death. Although aspects of the novel are richly ironic and even comedic, it also deals with challenging themes, not least HIV/AIDS.

Matt Bishop was born in London in 1962. He has worked in motor racing (principally in Formula 1, notably alongside Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button but now as the communications director of W Series, the international motor racing championship for female drivers only) for many years, but before that as an award-winning journalist and editor.

Bishop ghost-wrote the well-reviewed autobiography of double Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, Emmo: a Racer’s Soul (2014). In the late 1980s / early 1990s he worked as a home support volunteer for London Lighthouse, at the time the world’s largest HIV/AIDS centre. The Boy Made the Difference is Bishop’s first novel.

All of the proceeds from the book sales will be donated to his late mother’s charity – the Bernardine Bishop Appeal (which was set up to fundraise for CLIC Sargent – a charity that helps children, young people and their families who are suffering the effects of cancer).

Feedback for The Boy Made the Difference:

  • “Matt Bishop has always written with great elegance and insight… this first shot at fiction will be unmissable.” – Sathnam Sanghera
  • Fast-paced, provocative and poignant… This is remarkably deft story-telling, delivered with style and restraint.” – Emma Jacobs
  • “A fitting tribute to our long-passed gay brothers… draws on a masterful grasp of language and personal knowledge…” – James Wharton
  • “A moving and thoughtful story of family secrets and a community ripped apart.” – Cass Green
  • “An intelligent and gripping novel that will make you gasp, laugh and cry.” – Natalie Pinkham