Title The Balls of Alban
Author(s)/Editor(s) Carl Gent
Publisher Monitor Books
Dimensions 154 x 213 mm
Format Pamphlet
Year 2022

‘St. Alban and I were playing strip poker but neither of us had any cards. We both sat there, balls out. Me, because I was losing. Him, well he just turned up like that...’

Gripping and singularly anachronistic, The Balls of Alban continues Carl Gent’s ludic project to rehistoricise and refictionalise the sidelined figure of Cynethryth, eighth century Queen of Mercia. Part riotous short story, part historical survey, Gent’s work is a subversive excavation of how we tell stories and the Anglo-Saxon imaginary.

‘I read The Balls of Alban, then I read it again, and again, and then I dreamt it: Carl Gent facing off a third or fourth century martyr in a cross-civilisation, trans-cosmological game of strip poker. One of the best pieces of writing I’ve read this year.’
— Isabel Waidner

‘The Balls of Alban is fierce, funny, hot, and most many. It’s also brilliant beyond belief. Its leaps of logic and tightness of syllables, its situational comedy and acts of speech, its shifts of addresses and addressees, of scores and sources of times and tastes all demonstrate that what we offhandedly call ‘the surreal’ is an essential tool of responsible historicising, just as “imagination [is] an essential constituent of knowledge.”

Gent is an arranger extraordinaire. They cast the chronicler as sculptor, the sculptor as historian, the historian as storyteller, the storyteller as time, time as a decapitated mud bust, as them, as I. “History remains unwritten.” But if it was written, it would read something like this.’
— Sophie Jung

‘Carl Gent writes a work of herstoriography that takes to task revivifying the fable of the queer and feminine “condemned to the tyranny of men”. The language & legend that weave together our so-called Enga londe are unravelled and illuminated with tender possibility and insistence.’
— Paige Murphy

Carl Gent is an artist and writer from Bexhill-on-sea. They have exhibited their sculptures, songs, vehicles, and printouts at Jupiter Woods, Flatland Projects, Wysing Arts Centre, ICA, Somerset House, Goldsmiths CCA, the De La Warr Pavilion and the Museum for English Rural Life. Felon Herb, an iteration of their ongoing manufacture of absinthe as art, was published by Kelder Press in 2022, and in 2021 All Us Girls Have Been Dead for So Long, the script to their climate-apocalypse musical extravanganza co-produced with Linda Stupart, was published by Arcadia Missa.

Found in: Monitor Books