A member of the same Curtis Brown Creative group as the prize-winning Nan Craig – and following in the illustrious footsteps of other former students Tim Glencross, Theresa Howes and Kate Hamer – CBC novel-writing alumnus Christopher Rickaby was presented with the Best Fiction E-novel prize at the recent Publishing Innovation Awards for his novel Shuffle – written under the pen name of James T Raydel. Held as part of the Digital Book World Conference in New York, the awards ceremony also saw a victory for Curtis Brown clients Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter – authors of The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas – in the Best Children’s E-book category.
Christopher’s novel, comprised of seven connected stories that can be read in any order, offers far more than just an innovative structure. A thread runs throughout Shuffle that links an enigmatic prisoner held deep inside the Iraqi palace of Uday Hussein, a sexually inexperienced teenage girl who escapes one puritanical cult only to fall into the sinister clutches of another, a bitter and broken would-be rock star, a lovelorn petty thief who steals a rare embryo in a desperate attempt to save her lover’s life and a deranged child-killer whose terrifying nightmares begin to infect the psychiatrist who treats him. All find themselves unknowingly caught and tightly bound to the revolutionary theories of a maverick scientist; theories that turn everything anyone had ever thought about the universe completely on its head. Where, though, you begin reading – and, indeed, where you decide to stop – are entirely up to you.
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