Anita Sethi has interviewed six shortlisted writers (including myself) for this year’s Portico Prize for the Observer New Review… with portrait photographs by Richard Saker (this one was taken in Mytholmroyd on a cold, blustery December afternoon)
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile has made it onto this year’s £10,000 Portico Prize for Literature shortlist, an award for writing that “best evokes the spirit of the North”. Other shortlisted titles include Saltwater by Jessica Andrews (Sceptre), Ironopolis by Glen James Brown (Parthian), The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson (Lightning Books), The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney (Picador), and Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place by Benjamin Myers (Elliott & Thompson).
Here’s what the Bookseller had to say about it:
The shortlist of six was revealed on Monday (9th December) and was praised by the judges for celebrating “the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North”. It comprises four fiction titles, three of which are debuts, and two non-fiction titles, while the ratio of books from mainstream publishers against independents is 50:50.
The six books were whittled down from a longlist selected by the Portico Prize’s newly formed Society of Readers and Writers. They were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by journalist and broadcaster Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads.
Savidge said: “This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North. These books celebrate the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North…”
Lisa Holdsworth’s stage adaptation of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile (with Freedom Studios) is touring across Yorkshire in June. It has received a series of extraordinary reviews in the press this week. These are just a few…
“Vibrant and unsentimental, a shining example of site-specific work” ★★★★ The Observer
“A celebration of fierce, resilient women ” ★★★★ The Guardian
“Poignant and resonant… a relevant and emotive caution against the one-size-fits-all approach of the privileged theatre industry” ★★★★ The Stage
“The real deal” ★★★★ The Times
“A funny, desperately sad tale of a young woman whose blazing talent made her a once-in-a-generation dramatist” ★★★★ Mail on Sunday
“Compelling and totally believable… it honours Dunbar’s legacy in a manner of which she surely would have approved” ★★★★ Yorkshire Post
“Powerful and convincing” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub
“A deeply human celebration of a young, female, regional, working-class voice who was important not in spite of, but because of, the life she led and the place she came from” ★★★★ Broadway World
“This brutally honest and beautifully written work, performed by a cast who really get it, would have had Andrea raising a glass to them in The Beacon” ★★★★ North West End
Lively, engaging and packs one hell of a punch” British Theatre Guide
“A really impressive feat of acting and staging” The Culture Vulture
“The truth does hurt, but thank goodness Dunbar chose to tell it” The Independent
I’m pleased to announce that my novel Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is being adapted for the stage by Lisa Holdsworth and Freedom Studios in 2019. Chris Wiegand wrote a feature about the new play in today’s Guardian, “A new drama is to revisit the life and early death of Andrea Dunbar, the playwright who became a sensation with Rita, Sue and Bob Too, a dark comedy inspired by the Yorkshire housing estate where she lived. The play, written by Lisa Holdsworth, will be staged in a pub in Dunbar’s native Bradford in May next year. It is adapted from Adelle Stripe’s strikingly atmospheric novel about Dunbar, which captures Dunbar’s experience of poverty and abuse, her quick wit and her flair as a playwright. Holdsworth says her adaptation doesn’t give a voice to the men who mistreated Dunbar but instead focuses on ‘women’s relationships and how they quietly get on with things and get things done…'”
Visit Freedom Studios‘ website for tickets and further information
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is shortlisted for the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize. This news has made me happier than Rita and Sue watching House of Fun on a pink leather sofa.
Here’s a bit of info from New Writing North if you’re curious to find out more…
In the spirit of the Gordon Burn Prize, the shortlist is far-reaching, eclectic and provocative. It includes two debuts, four works of fiction and two of non-fiction, with a third of the list published by two small presses as the resurgence of the independent publisher in the UK continues.
“The Gordon Burn Prize shortlist continues to showcase some of the most interesting contemporary writing in its wide-ranging selection of titles. Six titles were selected by judges Petina Gappah, Allan Jenkins, Ian Sansom and Cosey Fanni Tutti to go forward:
- Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe (Wrecking Ball Press)
- Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta Books)
- First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books)
- The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
- This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan (Faber & Faber)
- This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions)
Ian Sansom, one of the judges, commented:
‘Gordon Burn was unique and the Gordon Burn Prize is unique. It recognises what so many prizes fail to recognise: that literature, like all art, is in a constant process of reinvention and renewal and that the novel is a truly bastard form. The Gordon Burn Prize is a celebration of the art of possibility. This year’s shortlist includes hybrid works in many forms – autofiction, memoir, biography, travel writing and crime — and draws attention to brilliant and truly inventive work that might otherwise be overlooked. All ye that are weary and heavy burdened, gaze upon these works and wonder!’
The winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2017 will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12 October 2017. Tickets are on sale from the Durham Book Festival website from 10 August.
Discover the titles at gordonburnprize.com”