Anakana Schofield won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction in 2013 for her debut novel Malarky. Malarky was also nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and named on many Best Book of the Year lists for 2012 and 2013. Martin John, her critically acclaimed second novel, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Schofield contributes criticism and essays to the London Review of Books Blog, The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Globe and Mail and more.
- Read more about Martin John.
- Anakana Schofield writes hilariously for the LRB blog about applying for jobs, here.
- Read a CBC Q&A with Anakana Schofield here.
- Anakana Schofield’s debut novel Malarky won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction in 2013.
The New York Times
‘Deploying some serious literary gumption, Schofield’s frequently hilarious, and distinctly modernist, linguistic games are always gainfully employed in the uneasy, indelicate task of placing her reader nose to nose with the humanity of a sex offender . . . addictively reflexive, and potentially lethal.’
‘In Martin John – more than the detailed research into sexual deviancy that has gone into creating a terrible life with its own nauseating logic and rules – it is the invisible maker, shaping and endlessly fiddling with the content of the story, who draws us in and makes it real. Schofield gives us a portrait of someone who is not only believable, but understandable.’
‘This is literature serving its most essential function: illuminating the darkest recesses; dragging the unspoken and suppressed to the foreground of our consciousness; throwing light across the blackest of humanity’s vistas. This is writing at its most fearless: visceral and searing, yet textured and nuanced; the darkest of comedy and the deepest of insight, combined in a manner unique to Anakana Schofield.’
‘Martin John is a work of marvellous contradiction: the uncomfortable content belied by ravishing style, irresistible rhythm and exquisitely murky humour. This is risk-taking fiction at its most insightful.’
‘Ambiguous; funny; distressing and complicated . . . this novel challenges our reactions to what Martin John does, to what men do.’
‘Schofield writes without judgment, making her new novel an exceptional, albeit uncomfortable, reading into the mind of a paranoid, compulsive sex offender . . . Schofield shows her skill through precise, singular and forceful prose. Five stars.’
‘Be warned: regardless of one’s views on sexual deviants who prey on women . . . Martin John will make you ill with laughing but also guilty for smiling at a human tragedy . . . Many writers have brazenly wandered into the minefield of mental illness, but few with Schofield’s peculiar decency and candour.’
Mail on Sunday
‘Schofield tells the story from inside [Martin John’s] anxious mind, in a voice jagged, funny and unsettling . . . Irresistible and humorous.’
‘A grown-up tale of how blighted lives carry on . . . fizz[ing] with surface humour . . . this is a book about social breakdown as well as mental breakdown, with a portrait — almost in passing — of a no-questions-asked migrant labour market in which Martin John can be tolerated but not helped.’
The New Yorker
‘Frenetic, risk-taking . . . deliberately cryptic and bleakly funny, Martin John puts you inside the mind of a person you’d strive to avoid in real life, but also points to the fundamental elusiveness of character.’
The Wall Street Journal
‘Eerie and elliptical . . . Ms. Schofield renders Martin John’s consciousness through a kind of staccato anti-poetry.’
Publishers Weekly, starred review
‘Schofield eschews an excess of detail to terrific effect. The novel’s harsh, sometimes broken language, paired with a minimum of punctuation, crafts a deliberate and effective sense of confusion, as if entering a mind or minds in the midst of great turmoil . . . This is an important and brilliantly unconventional work.’