Former local journalist bags book deal

Former entertainment reporter for the Weekender, Joe Shooman, has scored a book deal in the U.K.

The 41-year-old Welshman, who already has five music books under his belt, recently completed the final draft of a music biography of U.S. pop-punk band All Time Low. The deal is with Music Press Book, an imprint of John Blake Publishing.

As the music journalist explained, “I was looking for projects to take on and as it happened, John Blake bought the publisher that’d released my previous books before my Cayman adventure. So it was a mutually perfect touch point as it turned out.”

Despite working on his dissertation for a PhD in creative writing at Bangor University in Wales, he was able to juggle both his academic commitments with the professional assignment. Having signed the deal in July, Shooman has just sent the manuscript to the publishers.

The book is due for release in spring 2016.

The author’s other biographies are of Trivium, Kasabian, Blink-182, and Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson. The last of these is now out in seven countries in translation, including Sweden, Greece, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Bulgaria. He also wrote a study of MySpace in 2006 when “that site seemed to change the way the music industry worked forever,” he said.

Before working in Grand Cayman, Shooman freelanced for years. Titles he worked on include “Mixmag,” “Metal Hammer” and “Record Collector.” As well as working for several food, lifestyle and entertainment magazines, he has also worked as a radio journalist/presenter for the BBC.

The music writer worked for the Cayman Weekender for four years. While in Cayman, he took an interest in the local music scene and covered a diverse range of Caymanian musicians “like Notch, my good mate Stuart Wilson, the Swanky Kitchen Band and Natasha Kozaily. I’m a big fan of reggae, so it was a huge thrill to see the flag being flown by those guys at things like the Winter Festival.

“What I enjoyed the most as a participant was learning pans with Earl La Pierre and, subsequently, whilst reporting from a tourism conference in Trinidad I got the chance to play with the band in the yard he grew up learning pans in. Amazing!”

He plans to continue as a writer once he has finished his course, which includes crafting an 80,000-word novel.

“I am scheduled to finish studying in 2018. I would love to be able to work in fiction and hopefully the novel [about an expat living in a small island] can find a publisher. I need to finish it first! I will always write – the book has a lot of music in it too.”

The author won the 2010 Best Tourism Feature award from the Caribbean Tourism Organization while at the Cayman Compass.


Mild-mannered reporter by day … – Photo: Stephen Clarke


… and punk band biographer by (sort of) night. – Photo: Ron Shillingford

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now