The Canadian writer’s novels and short-stories combine the strange and the everyday. She was longlisted for The Romantic, her tale of a lifelong, and unrequited, fixation.

According to Carol Shields, herself a Booker Prize nominee (1993), Gowdy ‘writes like an angel’. That said, there is often a darkness in her work to offset any angelic traits. One of her novels, Helpless (2007), about a stalker who kidnaps a nine-year-old girl, was adapted for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and led readers to complain that it was so disturbing, sleep had proved impossible. The Romantic is about another nine-year-old who, abandoned by her mother, latches on emotionally to the boy who lives opposite. Undercurrents swirl.  

Barbara Gowdy

All nominated books

The Romantic