Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley brilliantly illuminates ordinary lives with extraordinary prose that is superbly controlled, psychologically acute, and subtly powerful.

Tessa Hadley published her first novel in 2002 at the age of forty-six. Since then, she has established a reputation as one of England’s finest contemporary writers. Hadley’s meticulously crafted stories explore how ordinary life is shaped by extraordinary tensions: between accident and intention, catastrophe and routine, passion and hypocrisy. Clever Girl (2013) is a complex and vivid portrait of a woman’s life in the second half of the twentieth century, while her novel, The Past (2016) follows a quartet of siblings on a three-week summer holiday in the old house that they have inherited. Beneath the narrative's placid surface lurks a Chekhovian darkness: layers upon layers of secrets and strains that Hadley slowly, painstakingly excavates. With her poet’s sensibility and intense psychological subtlety, Hadley is, as Anne Enright has said, “the writer we didn’t know we were waiting for, until she arrived.” Hadley, who read English at Cambridge and holds a PhD from the University of the West of England, is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has twice been a finalist for the Orange Prize.

I feel honored and astonished and delighted: this generous prize will make so many things easier, it buys time and freedom. It's still marvelous to me that the words a writer dreams up in solitude can speak to strangers--winning this is so reassuring and encouraging. TESSA HADLEY