Charles Lambert’s PRODIGAL shortlisted for the Polari Prize 2019

PRODIGAL by Charles Lambert UK cover.jpg

Charles Lambert’s novel PRODIGAL, published by Gallic Books in August 2018, has been shortlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. The prize honours writers “whose work explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction, or nonfiction”. While there has previously been a Polari First Book Prize, this year is the first time that there will be an award given to an established writer also. The winner will be announced 22 October 2019 at the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival, in an event headlined by Tracey Thorn.

VG Lee, author and one of the judges of the prize, said: “Six very different and exciting voices make up the shortlist for The Polari Prize, taking us from the English countryside to Soviet Russia and Post 9/11 New York, a Brighton garden to music-making in Berwick-on-Tweed, and a teenage rites of passage towards selfhood. Any one of these books is a potential winner because each is perfect in its own right.”

PRODIGAL is a fearless, elegantly written exploration of family, trust, death, and what we do to one another in the name of love, told within the wider context of a beautiful yet troubling, queer coming-of-age tale.

Jeremy, a hapless man in his late 50s, scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside.

Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family’s chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch family fell apart.

It’s a journey composed of revelations, of secrets disclosed and not disclosed, and of something that might, or might not, be reconciliation...

Read a Q&A with Charles on PRODIGAL here.

Last year Charles’s novel THE CHILDREN’S HOME was included in a New York Times list of 13 Haunted Books to read before watching THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.

Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. His first novel, LITTLE MONSTERS, a Good Housekeeping selection, was published in 2008 by Picador, the same year as THE SCENT OF CINNAMON AND OTHER STORIES (Salt Publishing), the title story of which was an O. Henry Prize winner. His second novel, ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador), was described by the Telegraph as 'a slow-burning, beautifully written crime story that brings to life the Rome that tourists don't see - luckily for them.'

In 2014, Charles’s experimental autobiography WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART (The Friday Project) was one of the Guardian's top ten books of that year. THE CHILDREN’S HOME, a dystopic story of a haunted house, was published in 2016 to widespread praise, followed by TWO DARK TALES, in 2017, both by Gallic Books.

Praise for Charles Lambert

‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ — Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' — Dame Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ — Patricia Duncker

‘Charles Lambert is a terrific, devious storyteller.’ — Owen King


‘A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention …compulsively readable…A one-of-a-kind literary horror story.’ – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

‘Lambert carefully constructs the restricted sphere that Fletcher inhabits, leaving the chaotic larger world and the source of his family fortune largely a mystery. After slowly unfolding Fletcher’s story, Lambert then accelerates the pace to a breathtaking climax. THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.’ – Booklist, Starred Review

‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME is like a strange dream in which you can’t quite tell if you’re awake…The resulting story is a weird, poignant journey reminiscent of Calvino that explores fear, power, revenge and redemption. Lambert’s story is addictive … its potent, often brutal, images have a lasting power.’ – Sheri Bodoh, BookPage

Visit Charles’ blog

You can also follow Charles on Twitter.

Dima Alzayat Shortlisted for Prestigious Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award


Short story writer, Dima Alzayat, has been shortlisted for the Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award, a prize set up to support first-time writers working on their debut book. Dima’s stories, including The Daughters of Manat, have been selected by judges Anne Enright, Jenny Uglow and Pete Hobbs, on a shortlist of just three. Chair of judges, Anne Enright, said, “The judges are delighted with this varied and hugely interesting shortlist which shows the vigour and range of writing in English today. New work is always so heartfelt.  It is a privilege to witness talent at this early stage.”

Dima won the Bristol Short Story Prize in November 2017 with her story Ghusl, and is now writing a collection of short stories alongside completing her PhD on Arab American Fiction, and teaching creative writing at Lancaster University.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 16th May, and will also appear at Hay Festival on Sunday 27th May. Read more about the Award here.


EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell shortlisted for CrimeFest 2018's eDUNNIT Award

EXQUISITE final cover April 2017.jpg

Sarah Stovell’s darkly thrilling EXQUISITE has been shortlisted for the 2018 CrimeFest eDUNNIT Award, recognising the best ebooks in the crime genre. The novel follows the relationship between two women, a successful author and an aspiring writer, who meet at a writing retreat. What starts as a nurturing friendship soon becomes something more, and as infatuation turns to obsession things take a sinister and unexpected turn.

Bo Luxton has it all - a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers' retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops... Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, EXQUISITE is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

The winners will be announced at the CrimeFest Gala Awards Dinner hosted by Robert Thorogood, creator of DEATH IN PARADISE on Saturday 19th May.

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and lectures in Creative Writing at Lincoln University.

She is the author of MOTHERNIGHT (Snowbooks, 2008) and THE NIGHT FLOWER (Tindal St Press, 2013).

Her first thriller novel, EXQUISITE, was published in June 2017.

Praise for EXQUISITE:

‘Satisfyingly complex. The prose is assured, the plot structure is tightly and effectively controlled, while the characterisation of the two protagonists is quite extraordinary. Tension oozes out of every page’ — The Lady

‘EXQUISITE is a powerful and assured debut thriller. Slickly claustrophobic and delicately wrought this arch story of obsessive forbidden love taken to the extreme will have you squirming in your seat even as you're driven to turn the next page. A must-read for 2017’ — Sarah Pinborough, author of BEHIND HER EYES

‘Cunningly constructed and gorgeously written, this is outstanding.’ – Sunday Express

Sue Moorcroft’s romantic summer novel JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS shortlisted for the 2018 Romantic Novel Awards!


JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS, Sue Moorcroft’s dazzling summer story, is shortlisted for the RoNA Romantic Novel Awards 2018. There are seven award categories identifying the best in romantic fiction, and JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS is nominated for best Contemporary Romantic Novel.

The winners of each category will be announced on Monday 5th March 2018 at an Award Ceremony held at Gladstone Library. The overall winner will be awarded the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year and a prize of £5,000.

In JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS, what should be a glorious, peaceful stint under the French sun turns into the holiday from hell. From teenagers and divorce to unexpected pregnancies and misplaced attachments, everything about Leah Beaumont’s holiday spells disaster. Leah is struggling to keep her sister’s family together, which is difficult under normal circumstances, but it’s even more difficult when there’s Ronan, the engaging helicopter pilot next door. He’s handsome. And he’s got all this baggage, and Leah’s scared of commitment. And yet, Leah can’t help but get involved...

My Weekly praised the book saying, ‘Sue’s gift for description and characters and a well-paced, funny yet tender plot makes this the ideal holiday read.’ In 2016, her festive novel THE CHRISTMAS PROMISE was a Kindle No.1 bestseller and her most recent release, THE LITTLE VILLAGE CHRISTMAS, reached No.6 in the Sunday Times bestseller charts.

You can follow Sue on Twitter here.

Or visit her website here.


‘A must read.’ – Saturday Magazine

‘A zesty-paced contemporary page-turner that sparkles with compelling family drama, heart-warming pathos and delightful humour, JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a breezy summer read that is absolutely perfect for losing yourself into. Full of characters that leap off the pages with ease, gripping twists and turns and poignant romance, if you only take one book with you on holiday this summer, then make sure it’s Sue Moorcroft’s fabulous JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS!’ — Julie B, Bookish Jottings

‘Sue Moorcroft’s novel provides easy-going pleasures for your own holiday reading.’ — France Magazine

'A perfect page-turner when soaking up the sun' — Asda Magazine