A.L. Kennedy

A.L. Kennedy’s novels include Original Bliss.

In December 1968 two girls, one aged 11 and the other 13, were put on trial for murder. They were accused of killing two very much younger boys. For nine days in a Newcastle court, evidence showed how apparently normal youngsters might murder without warning. The older girl was acquitted of both charges. Nevertheless, this pretty and patently likeable child was revealed as more than a passive bystander at one murder and a participant in a chain of other destructive, if not sadistic, acts. The younger girl, Mary Bell, was equally pretty but eerily self-controlled and thought to be the more intelligent and influential of the pair. Bell was found guilty on both counts of murder. She was described as ‘psychopathic’ and ‘very dangerous’. Referring to the second murder, she said in the open, adult court: ‘I was full of laughter that day.’‘

Her name is Hannah Luckraft, and she is an alcoholic. Not that the narrator of A.L. Kennedy’s latest novel would ever tell you that herself. This isn’t because she’s in denial...

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Britain’s policy towards Hitler in the later 1930s is one of those historical topics that are dead but won’t lie down. The supply of relevant facts has virtually dried up. But what to...

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We stop the words: A.L. Kennedy

David Craig, 16 September 1999

Near the start of A.L. Kennedy’s latest novel, its chief character and overriding consciousness, Nathan Staples, a successful writer of horror fiction, emerges slowly from a bout of...

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Warming My Hands and Telling Lies

Dinah Birch, 3 August 1995

One of the most convincing inclusions in Granta’s list of the 20 best young British novelists, A.L. Kennedy has composed a distinctive voice out of youth and national identity. She was born...

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Glasgow über Alles

Julian Loose, 8 July 1993

‘Something really weird was happening in the Gorbals.’ The opening sentence of Swing Hammer Swing!, Jeff Torrington’s great, boisterous first novel, might serve as a headline...

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