Shortlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown
It is 31 March 1836. A new monthly periodical is launched entitled The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Conceived and created by the artist Robert Seymour, it contains four of his illustrations. The words to accompany them are written by a young journalist, under the pen-name Boz. The journalist's real name is Charles Dickens.
The Pickwick Papers soon becomes a phenomenal, unprecedented sensation, read and discussed by the entire British Isles. Before long, its success is worldwide.
Stephen Jarvis's novel tells of the dawning of the age of global celebrity. It is a story of colossal triumph and of the depths of tragedy, based on real events - and an expose of how an ambitious young writer stole another man's ideas.
An outstanding debut novel.
This is a masterpiece of imagination supported by a mountain of research.
A novel as crowded, rude and brilliantly inventive as the great pre-Dickensian caricatures it celebrates.
Some may view this book as a remarkable piece of literary detection, others a dazzlingly written and superbly imagined exposition on how art and writing are gestated and born. Or both.