Return of Bradford’s Bad Lass

black teeth cover

I’ve kept this news under wraps for a while but I can finally announce that my debut novel will be published by Wrecking Ball Press in July. It is longlisted for the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize and received the K Blundell Trust Award for Fiction.

The book launches at Bradford Literature Festival and is available via all good bookshops and online retailers. It will be published as a limited edition trade paperback with a pink foil cover. Wrecking Ball are the Black Sparrow Press of Northern England and I’m honoured to be joining the esteemed company of Ben Myers, Tony O’Neill, Dan Fante, and Helen Mort.

Here’s the official blurb. You can pre-order copies via your local bookshop, Wrecking Ball Press, Caught by the RiverWaterstones, Hive or Amazon.


Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile

by Adelle Stripe

“You write what’s said, you don’t lie. Or say it didn’t happen when it did all the time…”

Inspired by the life and work of the Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is a slice of kitchen sink noir that tells Dunbar’s story in print for the very first time. Featuring a cast of real and imagined characters, it is the result of four years’ painstaking research that has unearthed the hidden story of one of the North’s most enigmatic cultural figures. It is a tale of the north / south divide that reveals how a shy teenage girl defied the circumstances she was born into to become one of West Yorkshire’s greatest dramatists.

Set in the Thatcher era, it maps the extraordinary rise of a young woman from the Buttershaw estate, who is discovered via a Women’s Aid refuge. She is propelled into the London theatre establishment and an adapted screenplay of two of her early plays brings her wealth, accolades and notoriety, while raising three young children as a single mother.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too! is a national scandal upon its release, and its tagline ‘Thatcher’s Britain with Her Knickers Down’ ensures it is a box office sensation. Fame brings anxiety however, and Dunbar is unable to cope with the media attention, pressures of family life and writer’s block. She slowly succumbs to the pitfalls of drink and spends her last days in her local pub The Beacon, where she completes her final script based on a gang of unscrupulous debt collectors. In 1990, aged 29, she collapses from a fatal brain haemorrhage.

As one of the most important writers of her generation, this remarkably stubborn ‘genius straight from the slums’ recorded the everyday realities of working-class life. Dunbar’s unflinching autobiographical plays included themes of domestic violence, underage sex, poverty, racism, alcoholism and the declining status of men. By using frank and expletive-ridden dialogue she created a no-holds-barred account of the underclass composed in the tradition of social realism.

A bittersweet literary depiction, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile explores a world whose themes are more relevant today than ever. It marks the arrival of one of the UK literary underground’s best kept secrets.



‘An impressively accomplished and important first novel. In a beautifully rendered double narrative Adelle Stripe gives voice to a lost genius. Heartfelt, passionate and profoundly relevant.’ ~ Jake Arnott, The Long Firm

‘This outstanding debut novel is told so naturally that it feels that we are there alongside her. A great achievement.’ ~ Jenni Fagan, The Panopticon

‘Everything about this novel, the stuff of it, is wondrously, awfully, beautifully alive, as teeming and seething and tragic as Andrea Dunbar’s own wild work and life. My book of the year so far.’ ~ Niall Griffiths, Sheepshagger

‘An affecting portrait of the making and unmaking of a complex writer that marks the arrival of a powerful new northern female voice.’ Kester Aspden, The Hounding of David Oluwale

‘Adelle Stripe writes with an abundance of life, from the casually joyful to the casually harrowing but always profoundly empathetic. In twenty years, I have not read a writer like her.’ ~ Darran Anderson, Imaginary Cities


  • Pages : 182
  • Language : English
  • Publisher : Wrecking Ball Press
  • ISBN : 978-1-903110-56-0
  • Released : 1st July 2017
  • Distributor : InPress
%d bloggers like this: