Author(s): Carol Birch
This is the story of Margaret Catchpole, born into a smugglers' world in Suffolk in the late 1700s. As the valued servant of a wealthy family and a friend of criminals, Margaret leads a double life that inevitably brings about her downfall, and she is sentenced to hang not once, but twice. But she escapes the gallows and is transported with other convicts to Australia.
A wonderful adventure story, Scapegallows takes inspiration from the life of the real Margaret Catchpole. A woman who lived by her wits, she was a slip-gibbet, a scapegallows.
Winner of East Anglian Book of the Year Award 2008. Shortlisted for New Angle Prize for Literature 2009.
** 'Birch deftly tells a story spanning several decades, with an intensity that is ... lyrical ... and evokes the period without compromising her complex diachronic concerns' TLS ** 'A rich portrait of a shadowy world of 18th century sailors and smugglers, full of characters both charming and fatally flawed. Fans of Margaret Atwood's ALIAS GRACE will enjoy this engaging and compassionate tale' PSYCHOLOGIES ** 'Birch is a naturally literary writer who can, with a simple image, evoke the deepest emotion' GUARDIAN ** 'It is an intelligent and gripping novel (and gnarly enough to make your knockers curl)' INDEPENDENT ** '[Birch has] a first class voice ... An exciting and evocative fictional version of the life of Margaret Catchpole ... The novel is a triumph of texture and historical detail' SUNDAY TIMES ** 'Birch tells an exciting and surprising tale' THE GLOSS ** 'A rollicking tale ... An intelligent and gripping novel with more than enough fast-paced twists and permutationsot make your hair curl' IRISH EXAMINER
Carol Birch was born in Manchester. Author of seven novels, she has won the David Higham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was longlisted for the 2003 ManBooker Prize. She lives in Lancaster.