Wednesday, February 07, 2007

First-time novelist Stef PENNEY wins the Costa!

FIRST-TIME NOVELIST Stef Penney has clinched the inaugural 2006 Costa Book of the Year Award with The Tenderness of Wolves (Quercus Publishing, 2006), a murder mystery set in the snowy wastelands of Canada in the 19th century, beating such favourites as William Boyd for Restless (2006) and Brian Thomson for Keeping Mum (2006). Penney is a perfect example of a writer who creates stories set in a landscape foreign or alien to her. She has not been to Canada. Of course, by now everyone knows that the Costa Awards used to be called the Whitbread Awards. This win also heralds the arrival of independent publisher Quercus Publishing on the literary landscape. However, I must confess that I have yet to read her prize-winning book despite the fact that I have a copy of it with me. I must get to it soon.

The Tenderness of Wolves was published by Quercus Publishing, a small, independent publisher, in 2006


Anonymous Kenny Mah said...

"Penney is a perfect example of a writer who creates stories set in a landscape foreign to her. She has not been to Canada."

Another writer who does this a lot is Jim Crace, author of Being Dead and Quarantine. He is well-known for his vivid descriptions of landscapes, but he has said he makes them all up. (At one point, I was Googling for manac beans before I realised they didn't exist in the real world.)

Now that's what I call the power of imagination. ;)

Thursday, February 08, 2007 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Hello Kenny - Thanks for stopping by. Yes - the power of our imagination is astounding if we allow it to soar. Sid Smith has a new novel out now called China Dreams (2007). Smith set his first novel, Something Like a House (2001), in China without ever having set foot in the country. He went on to win the Whitbread First Novel Award. I enjoy Jim Crace's books as well, especially Being Dead.

Friday, February 09, 2007 2:20:00 AM  
Anonymous pizzo said...

I am always fascinated by sci-fi writers. They had never been to any of the planets, galaxy and star system, but they sure know a lot about the social issues happening there. 3;P~>

Saturday, February 10, 2007 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Kenny Mah said...

Heya back, Eric!

I'm gonna try and get myself a copy of Sid Smith's books. Seeing as I have yet to visit China, I believe the authenticity is proven by the calibre of his writing, and not necessarily any prior experience or knowledge I may possess of it.

Still, there's no harm in writing about what one does know. It doesn't have to be all made up to be good fiction... ;)

Saturday, February 10, 2007 7:00:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Pizzo - I do not read fantasy or science fiction BUT I do believe they demand fantastic leaps of the imagination from the writers in writing them.

Kenny: Yes - you are absolutely right. Writers can write about what they are familiar with and still do a great job. Katharine Davies’s A Good Voyage (2004) is a first novel of the write-what-you-know school of thought, but she carries it off with a light, confident touch and exquisite pacing.

Sid Smith has written a trilogy of novels (though they work as stand-alone novels, too): Something Like a House (2001), A House by the River (2003) and China Dreams (2007).

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2007 7:57:00 PM  

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