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2023 - Winner
How do you summarise a loved one’s entire life in a couple of measly paragraphs? In The Eulogy — cleverly structured around a fictional instructional manual on how to write one — Jackie Bailey shows us what an impossible, absurd and even cruel task this can be.
This raw and surprisingly funny auto-fictional account of one grieving woman’s attempt to make peace with her past is wide in its scope — racism, childhood trauma and mental health are recurrent themes — but there is a lightness and deftness of touch here that makes for an ultimately rewarding experience. As promised by a quote on the cover, your heart will be broken and put back together again. Bailey is an exciting new writer to watch.
The Eulogy stood out from the other submissions for its ability to reveal vulnerability without ever becoming cloying, and its ability to tackle big themes without ever resorting to preaching. The result is a nuanced, accomplished novel that encourages readers to feel deeply and think broadly.