Book for November 2007
Group 1
Mardale, the remote British hamlet where Hall's remarkable debut novel is set, is a close-knit community of tenant farmers "where grand events and theatrical schemes rarely take place." So when a handsome stranger arrives in 1936, suspicions run high among the hardworking villagers. Jack Liggett is up-front about his plans for Mardale: he has come to inform the villagers that their homes would soon be at the bottom of a massive reservoir. According to Liggett, the dam associated with the project will be a "wonderful piece of architecture and engineering." But the villagers, who view the project as "so strange and vast that at first it was not taken seriously," resist, setting off a losing struggle between the insular community and the modern world. Caught in the middle is Janet Lightburn, the daughter of a local farmer, who begins a tempestuous and tragic romance with Jack. Hall?s story, with its undertones of loss and grief, tugs at the heart.
About the Author
Sarah Hall
is an English novelist, and poet. Her critically acclaimed second novel, The Electric Michelangelo, was nominated for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. She currently lives in Norwich, in eastern England.

She obtained a degree in English and Art History from Aberystwyth University before taking an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews, where she briefly taught on the undergraduate Creative Writing programme. She still teaches creative writing, regularly giving courses for the Arvon Foundation.She began her writing career as a poet, publishing poems in various literary magazines.

Her debut novel, Haweswater (2002), is a rural tragedy about the disintegration of a community of Cumbrian hill-farmers, due to the building of a reservoir. It won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book).

Her second novel, The Electric Michelangelo (2004), the biography of a fictional tattoo artist, is set in early twentieth century Morecambe Bay and Coney Island. The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, and again for the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2005. In France, it was shortlisted for the Prix Femina Étranger 2004.

Her third novel, The Carhullan Army (2007), a science fiction novel, won the 2007 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and was shortlisted for the 2008 Arthur C. Clarke Award. In America, the novel was published under the title Daughters of the North. She was invited to become writer-in-residence by the Grasmere based Ullswater Trust – an organisation which supports and encourages writers – while working on the book.

Her most recent novel, How to Paint a Dead Man (2009), was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

All her novels are published by Faber and Faber; she participates in writing tuition classes during in-residence writing courses run by The Faber Academy. Sarah Hall has lived in both the United Kingdom and in North Carolina.