You must have been somewhere far away, warm and oblivious to not know that the wonderful Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe has been announced as a shortlisted titled for the 2017 Gordon Burn Prize yesterday.
Showcasing some of the most interesting contemporary writing in its wide-ranging selection of titles, The Gordon Burn Prize celebrates work that is far-reaching, eclectic and provocative. The other brilliant titles on the shortlist include:
- 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)
If you’re not familiar with Adelle’s latest work, get up close and personal with it here. Telling Andrea Dunbar’s story in print for the very first time, it’s a tale of the North/South divide and of how a shy teenage girl defied the circumstances she was born into to become one of West Yorkshire’s greatest dramatists.
Dunbar, of course, wrote Rita, Sue and Bob Too!, scandalous at the time not just for its notorious tagline ‘Thatcher’s Britain with Her Knickers Down.’ It was a box-office smash, but fame brought anxiety and Dunbar found herself struggling with the media attention, pressures of family life and writer’s block. Succumbing to the pitfalls of drink, she spent her last days in her local pub The Beacon where she completed her final script based on a gang of unscrupulous debt collectors. In 1990, aged 29, she collapsed from a fatal brain haemorrhage.
A bittersweet literary depiction, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile explores a world whose themes are more relevant today than ever. It also marks the arrival of one of the UK literary underground’s best kept secrets.
Adelle Stripe was born in 1976 and grew up in Tadcaster. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University and is the recipient of the 2016 K Blundell Award for Fiction. She teaches at MMU.
Adelle is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry, the most recent, Dark Corners of the Land, was 3:AM Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in publications in the US and UK including The Guardian, Stool Pigeon, Caught by the River, Penny Dreadful and Chiron Review.
The winner will be announced at Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12 October 2017, tickets available from the Durham Book Festival website now – wish us all luck!