Bath Spa University Creative Writing PhD student Jack Wolf has been named winner of the First Novel Award for his book ‘The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones’.
Jack was presented with the £2,500 prize at the National Liberal Club in London by this year’s guest adjudicator and novelist, Isabel Wolff.
This year’s competition received more than 60 submissions and Jack was shortlisted alongside five other debut novelists including Bath Spa Alumni Anthea Nicholson and Lucy Cruickshanks.
Set in the mid-18th century, The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones is the story of a young man, Tristan Hunt who, at the age of 20, goes up to London to study anatomy and surgery at St Thomas’s.
Since childhood, Tristan has been subject to sudden, explosive episodes of extreme violence.
Considered a genius and a physician of extraordinary promise, he is also, alas, psychotic. Torn between the body (his uncontrollable lust for causing pain) and the mind (his insatiable intellectual curiosity) Tristan’s struggle for self-control mirrors and personifies the contradictions of the ‘Enlightenment’, and the emergence of reason as the absolute standard.
A lost, motherless boy, a sadistic monster, a philosopher, fantasist, visionary, Tristan’s story is funny, moving and frightening.
Commenting on the continued and growing success of Bath Spa’s Creative Writing courses, Dean of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Professor Steve May said: “It can be no coincidence that our Bath Spa creative writers are not only publishing in volume (44 titles have appeared since January 2013), but also with quality, as this and awards, such as Nathan Filer’s Costa Book of the Year winning novel The Shock of the Fall, testify.”
Jack’s novel has received a number of endorsements including: “Wolf is a superb storyteller who sucks the reader into his fascinating imagination” (The Times) and “There is no doubting the talent, I might even say brilliance, of the author, Jack Wolf…I simply cannot imagine whence came the idea for such a beautifully bizarre story” (S.J Bolton).
The number of successful students and graduates of the University’s Creative Writing courses continues to grow.
Many of the teaching staff and Professors of Creative Writing are successful and established authors including Naomi Alderman, David Almond, Aminatta Forna, Philip Hensher, Tessa Hadley, Kate Pullinger and Fay Weldon CBE.