In the Dark Spaces

2018 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

A backdrop of violence, filled with dialogue and behaviours, develops the comprehensive cast of well-rounded characters in this compelling work. In the Dark Spaces is speculative fiction but the story’s core stays within the known. A child is abandoned and Tamara, although a captive of the Crow People, vows to find him. She is a feisty player, and street-kid savvy. Her moral code and love are products of her relationship with Aunt Lazella and her determination to beat the Crow People —  which reveals her own journey — is beautifully constructed.

The invented language of the Crow People, and our gradual understanding of their hives are seen through Tamara’s eyes. Short chapters, great headings, quick sentences, font and design, work to thrust the story forward and achieve Black’s dedication … ‘To all young people searching for a kinder future in a harsh world’.