For a memoir, it's the stuff of pure fiction: homeless heroin addict is befriended by stray cat; man writes book about their relationship which brings him redemption; book becomes massive bestseller. To date, A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen has sold over 350,000 copies in the UK, and has been published in 25 languages.
“Every morning I pinch myself,” says Bowen, 34, who has adapted the book for children due to popular demand. A sequel to the adult version, meanwhile, is out in July.
The story made it on to the page courtesy of Mary Panchos, the literary agent who helped steer American writer John Grogan's Marley & Me – essentially the tale of one man and his dog – to millions of sales and a Hollywood film adaptation. Panchos would see Bowen busking in London, with Bob perched on his shoulders, and knew that literary magic could strike twice.
'Bob: No Ordinary Cat', the children's version, is out now