Former Luton teacher up for BAFTA award

Author and BAFTA nominee Mike Carey
Author and BAFTA nominee Mike Carey

A post-apocalyptic zombie horror film written by a former Luton Sixth Form College teacher is in the running for a BAFTA award on Sunday (February 12).

The Girl With All The Gifts has also had four BIFA (British Independent Film Awards) and two Critics’ Circle nominations.

Author Mike Carey - who spent several years working in the town – is ecstatic.

He said: “I’ve been thrilled at how well it’s been received and the BAFTA nomination is the most wonderful thing of all.

“But what was important really was making the film, the experiences I gained from it and the friendships I formed.”
He originally wrote the book as a short story, then pitched it as a movie and novel at the same time. He got the green light on both ventures and is delighted at the way they turned out.

He said: “Colm McCarthy is a visionary director, the cast we assembled was perfect and it all felt entirely authentic.

“Post-apocalyptic fiction has always fascinated me, because it’s so very topical and subversive while pretending to be escapist. Most post-apocalyptic novels are political manifestos of one stripe or another.”

Liverpool-born Mike, 58, was a popular member of staff at the College where he worked from 1985 to 1989 and again from 1992 to 1997 teaching English, communication and media studies. It was his first post.

Former colleague Marc Hulbert – now director of teaching and learning – said: “Mike is probably one of the cleverest people I’ve ever met and so gifted in that wonderfully understated way.

“He could turn his hand to anything, was a brilliant teacher and students loved him. He was so supportive of them.”

Mike – a father-of-three – has fond memories of his time here and believes Luton’s ‘crap town’ moniker is undeserved. He said: “What makes any place is the people who live in it - and in that respect Luton is pretty awesome.”

In fact it’s the setting for the first chapter in his next novel, The Boy on the Bridge – a prequel to The Girl With All The Gifts. It takes place 10 years after the zombie apocalypse when hoardes of Hungries are roamimg the town . . .