Based on real events, Adam Foulds’ deeply affecting and brilliantly imagined novel portrays an intense chapter in the life of the poet John Clare.

In 1840, after years spent struggling with alcohol, critical neglect and depression, the great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach Asylum. The asylum, built within Epping Forest, is a place of disorder and unpredictable dramas. At the same time another poet, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and becomes entangled in the life and catastrophic schemes of the asylum’s owner, the peculiar, charismatic Dr Matthew Allen.

The Man Booker Prize 2009
Published by
Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Adam Foulds

Adam Foulds

About the Author

Adam Foulds received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.
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