In August, The Guardian unveiled its shortlist for their 2017 Not the Booker prize, with a surprise selection by Elizabeth Strout entering the race soon after with Anything Is Possible, rounding out the competition on August 14.
Today (October 16), the pub bestows Winnie M Li with the award for her novel Dark Chapter. Curated by journalist Sam Jordison, who also reads and reviews each book for the annual competition, after a unanimous public vote and judge consensus, Li’s novel stood victorious with 130 public votes, just 24 votes ahead of its forerunner, Harriet Paige‘s Man With a Seagull on His Head, which fell second with 106 votes; and Rowena Macdonald‘s The Threat Level Remains Severe claimed third with 103 votes.
About Dark Chapter:
Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society. He has grown up in a family where crime is customary, violence is a necessity, and everything–and anyone–can be yours for the taking.
As Vivian looks to find her calling professionally, she delights in exploring foreign countries, rolling hillsides, and new cultures. And as a young, single woman, she has grown used to experiencing life on her own. But all of that changes when, on one bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, Vivian’s path collides with Johnny and culminates in a horrifying act of violence.
In the aftermath of the incident, both Johnny and Vivian are forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack. Vivian must struggle to recapture the woman that she was and the woman she aspired to be, while dealing with a culture and judicial system that treats assault victims as less than human. Johnny, meanwhile, flees to the sanctity of his transitory Irish clan. But when he is finally brought to reckon for his crimes, Vivian learns that justice is not always as swift or as fair as she would hope.
— Winnie M Li (@winniemli) October 16, 2017