Whitfield wins Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award for 'compelling' debut

Whitfield wins Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award for 'compelling' debut

Debut author Clare Whitfield has been awarded the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2021 for People of Abandoned Character (Head of Zeus), a fresh take on the Jack the Ripper story.

Founded in 2017 by David Headley, the co-founder and m.d. of Goldsboro Books, the Glass Bell is awarded annually to a novel of any genre with "brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised".

Whitfield's novel follows the perspective of the newly married Susannah, who begins to wonder whether her abusive and volatile husband might be responsible for the Whitechapel murders. She won praise from the judging team for her "fresh and unique" approach to the story, calling it "a thoughtful and compelling exploration of the endless violence faced by women of all walks of life".

She was announced as the winner at a party hald at Goldsboro Books this evening (30th September), beating Colum McCann’s 2020 Booker-nominated Apeirogon (Bloomsbury), The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Sceptre) and The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven Books), the second novel from Costa-winner Stuart Turton. Also shortlisted were Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi (Penguin) and The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (HarperCollins).

Whitfield was awarded £2,000 and a hand-made glass bell. Goldsboro Books staff said: “The decision was pretty much unanimous. Clare Whitfield’s thrilling debut impressed the whole team for its fresh and unique take on the Whitechapel murders. Told from the point of view of a woman who wonders whether her violent and manipulative husband could be Jack the Ripper, it ’s also a thoughtful and compelling exploration of the endless violence faced by women of all walks of life. We’re delighted to award this year's Glass Bell to Clare Whitfield, a hugely exciting new name in fiction. We know that she will go far."

Last year, the American novelist Taylor Jenkins Reid was awarded the Glass Bell for her "immersive" and "captivating" Daisy Jones and the Six (Hutchinson), which told the story of the rise and fall of a fictional 1970s rock band.