Twenty years ago, Liam Corwen and Dee Dee Ahmed were on the cusp of a better future, Liam as a promising footballer and Dee Dee as a singer in a girl band. Now they're both eking out an existence back in their home town.
As the old steelworks rust and the local football club limps towards relegation and liquidation, Dee Dee recalls the tragic events that changed their lives. Liam thinks back to the great players of the past, and wonders: could redemption, greatness even, still wait for them, here among the abandoned cranes and docks and housing estates?
Evoking the landscape and myth of old, forgotten England, Iron Towns is a story of our dreams of youth, football, and industrial progress - and what happens when those dreams recede into the past.
New paperback edition featuring Cartwright's acclaimed essay on the EU referendum.