WITNESS THE NIGHT shortlisted for the Author's Club Best First Novel Award


WITNESS THE NIGHT, the striking debut by Kishwar Desai, has been nominated for the 2011 Author's Club Best First Novel Award.

The Authors' Club awards the most promising first novel of the year, written by a British author and published in the UK with this prize which includes a prize money of £2,500. It will be presented at Waterstone's Piccadilly on 14th April 2011 by this year's guest adjudicator novelist Joanne Harris. Previous winners include Anthony Quinn, Nicola Monaghan and Gilbert Adair.

WITNESS THE NIGHT was published by Beautiful Books in the UK in February 2010 and is also published in Finland by LIKE and in India by Harper Collins and in the Hindi language by Full Circle. It has won the Costa Prize for Best First Novel 2010.


'The novel that gets to the heart of tradition-bound India' -- The Pioneer

'It is with no surprise that we heard about Kishwar Desai winning the Costa First Novel Award 2010 earlier this week. Her novel, WITNESS THE NIGHT is a poignant and harrowing story set in a small town in India…' -- DSC South Asian Literary Festival

'Powerful' -- Hazel Larkin, Women's View on News

'Terrific' -- Toby Clements, The Telegraph

 'A powerfully-felt, shocking and moving indictment of cruelty and oppression' -- Maggie Gee, author of THE WHITE FAMILY

'Social justice campaigner Desai's debut novel is very much an issue-based book, the issue being "gendercide" and, for those girls who survive birth, oppression in Indian society. Set in Punjab, Witness the Night begins when 14-year-old Durga is found beaten and tied to a bed inside a house which contains 13 butchered corpses. Social worker Simran Singh, independent and scandalously untraditional in her behaviour, is tasked with getting the mute and traumatised girl, who is suspected of murdering her relatives, to talk. Singh finds a web of deceit and corruption as she uncovers the way in which a family has sacrificed its female members in order to preserve status. There's a bit too much theorising, but this sad and thought-provoking tale is certainly worth the read.' -- Laura Wilson, The Guardian

'Very important themes [and a] very appealing central character.' -- Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

'Essential reading.' -- Nihal, BBC Asian Network