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by Clare Allan
However, this week we thought we would feature the three writers chosen for the New Writers Award. Clare Allan has attracted a lot of attention with her novel Poppy Shakespeare.
Welcome to the Dorothy Fish, a day hospital in North London. N has been a patient here for 13 years. Day after day she sits smoking in the common room, swapping medication and comparing MAD money rates. Like all the patients at the Dorothy Fish, N’s chief ambition is never to be discharged. Each year, when her annual assessment comes round, she is relieved to learn that she hasn’t got any better.
But change is in the air. Brian the Butcher bursts through the door into the common room to announce that Manic Pollyanna has been discharged. Much consternation ensues as her place is filled by a new patient, the eponymous Poppy Shakespeare. But Poppy, as she keeps telling everyone, isn’t mad … .
Clare Allan was the winner of the first Orange/Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize and lives in London.
This is her first novel and is available in paperback at 12.50 euros.