Blessed Assurance is the debut novel from writer and journalist, Stewart Ennis. A coming of age novel set against the backdrop of a small close-knit evangelical community in the fictional Scottish village of Kilhaugh in the last 1960s, Ennis explores character and community with this tale.

The story takes place over six soul searching days in the life of God-fearing dog-thief and arsonist, 11 year-old Joseph Kirkland, in his hope of being saved. The book also incorporates his carefree friend Archie Truman, as the self-conscious redemption-seeking Joseph attempts to put right what he believes to be the most terrible of lies. With a wonderfully vibrant character and setting, and bizarre humour and synopsis at times, Blessed Assurance is a journey for the character, whilst exploring friendship and faith.

Born in Bridge of Weir Stewart Ennis began his career as a journalist and a nurse, but is now an established writer, actor, lecturer and occasional photographer. A founding member of the acclaimed Benchtours theatre ensemble with whom he created many touring shows throughout the nineties and noughties. For several years he was creative writing lecturer at HMP Shotts and is presently working with Vagabond Voices on an anthology of prison writing.

Joseph as a character is flat for a protagonist, we know less about him than we do Archie Truman or his sister. But this seems deliberate. We manoeuvre this fictional village through Joseph, inhaling the colour and the community. Kilhaugh seems sparkling and flamboyant, and Ennis captures the glint in the eye of this village. A tome that flows through these six days almost too quick, Ennis’ work is accessible yet glimmers with Scots. Although a debut, there is much to get from a read of Blessed Assurance.

Blessed Assurance is out now, via Vagabond Voices