Hello, and welcome to my HWA page. I’m a novelist, based just outside of Cambridge on the edge of the Fens. I am published by Two Roads Books, an imprint of John Murray Press. My third novel, a story of the Enlightenment, will be published by Two Roads early in 2022.
The Year Without Summer (2020)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE HWA GOLDEN CROWN 2020
‘A STRIKINGLY SHARP AND SUBTLE WRITER’ Guardian ‘Rich in voice, beautifully told’ HWA
‘SUPERB…BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN…UNFORGETTABLE’ FT Weekend
‘SKILFUL’ Sunday Times ‘RICH, INTRICATE, IMPRESSIVELY REALISED’ Observer
‘VIVIDLY REALISED’ The Times ‘A VISION OF THE PAST AND A VISION OF THE FUTURE’ Irish Times
‘A VIVID SLICE OF HISTORICAL FICTION’ Sunday Express
1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve.
In Suffolk, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from the Napoleonic wars, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes beset by riots – rebellion is in the air.
The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora – but none could escape its effects.
The Words in My Hand (2016)
THE TIMES BOOK OF THE MONTH | SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD | THE AUTHORS’ CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD
‘Excellent . . . an entirely unsentimental love story with a memorable and engaging heroine. Clever and touching’ The Times
‘An accomplished first novel . . . Glasfurd brilliantly dissects the complex frustrations of a woman in love with a man consumed by intellectual obsessions. There is much to move us here’ Guardian
The Words in my Hand, is the story of the hidden affair between Dutch maid, Helena Jans and French philosopher, René Descartes. The novel was written with the support of a grant from Arts Council England and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and longlisted for the Prix du Roman FNAC. The novel questions the historiography around Descartes and the lack of curiosity many historians and biographers have shown Helena Jans. Helena knew Descartes at a pivotal time in his life — why, then, when their relationship is so well known, is she almost completely overlooked?