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Clare Allan was the winner of the first Orange/Harpers short story prize. She lives in London. Poppy Shakespeare, an arresting account of madness set in a North London day hospital, is her first novel.
Photograph Â© Mark Pringle
This is a brilliantly tantalizing debut novel, interweaving madness into the stunning story of two women who meet in a mental institution. The two chief characters provide an emotional plotline which is troubling and frightening by turns; one of them has been in the hospital for years and never wants to leave; the other has just arrived and doesnâ€™t believe she should be there at all. This novel provides incredible, jolting insights into insanity, reality, and the grey areas in between where they meet.