Debut novelist Christina Dalcher has been awarded The Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019 for her thought-provoking and suspenseful dystopian thriller VOX, which imagines a near future in which an evangelical sect has taken control of the US and women have been limited to speaking just a hundred words a day.
VOX won against five other novels, including Belinda Bauer’s Booker-long-listed Snap, for the Glass Bell Award, which rewards ‘compelling storytelling with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised’ in any genre. Also shortlisted were Dalcher’s fellow debut novelists Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott for Swan Song, a fictionalised account of the rise and self-inflicted fall of Truman Capote, and Heather Morris, author of the million-copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz; M.W. Craven for his Gold Dagger-shortlisted Cumbrian thriller The Puppet Show, and Louise Candlish, for ‘property thriller’ Our House, which went on to win the British Book Award Crime & Thriller of the Year.
Dalcher was awarded the Glass Bell at a party held at Goldsboro Books in central London on the evening of Monday 16thSeptember, receiving £2,000 and a handmade, engraved glass bell. The prize was judged by Goldsboro Books founder David Headley and his team at the bookshop.
David Headley said: ‘Hard-won rights sometimes feel like a luxury that we can never take for granted, and VOX is an urgent and timely reminder of this. A terrifyingly plausible yet dazzling thriller which prompted passionate discussions during the judging, it’s a story about the importance of communication, the power of language and a lesson that freedom is continually being fought for around the world. I set up the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award to celebrate stories like this – which challenge us, frighten us and stimulate us.’
Founded in 2017 by David Headley, Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, the Glass Bell Award is given annually to a compelling novel with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised. Now in its third year, the Glass Bell is the only award to reward storytelling in all genres, from romance and crime to historical and speculative. The winner receives £2,000, as well as a beautiful, handmade, engraved glass bell.
The inaugural winner was Chris Cleave, for his extraordinary Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre), the moving and unflinching novel about the profound effects that the Second World War had on ordinary citizens back at home in Britain. Last year, the award went to John Boyne for his sweeping, poignant and comedic odyssey of post-war Ireland, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Transworld).