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Claire Askew Books In Order

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Publication Order of DI Helen Birch Books

All the Hidden Truths (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
What You Pay For (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cover Your Tracks (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Matter of Time (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dead Don't Speak (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Poetry Collections

This Changes Things (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
How to burn a woman (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

Multiverse: an international anthology of science fiction poetry(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Luminous Defiant(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Modern Craft: Powerful Voices on Witchcraft Ethics(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Author Claire Askew is a novelist and poet and was a Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. She was born in the year 1986 and she grew up in the rural Scottish borders; she has lived in Edinburgh since the year 2004 after she moved there to go to University.

She has a PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Women’s Poetry, a MA (Hons) in English Literature, a MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry) all of which she got from the University of Edinburgh.

Askew has won the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for her debut novel in progress, called “All the Hidden Truths”. She was longlisted for a Peggy Chapman Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award in the year 2014. Her book of poetry, “This Changes Things”, was shortlisted for a Saltire First Book Award and Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Other accolades for her work include: a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and the Jessie Kesson Fellowship.

Claire likes to collect old typewriters (having about thirty), and runs the One Night Stanza blog. She works as the Scotland tutor for different women’s writing initiatives #GrrrlCon and Write Like A Grrrl!. She was also picked as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and focused on engaging young people between the ages of ten and eighteen with reading. Claire also worked for Scottish Book Trust as the Young Adult Project Co-Ordinator, where she worked mostly with adults that struggle with literacy.

“All the Hidden Truths” was inspired, in part, by the Dunblane massacre that happened just three days after Claire turned ten. This is the first memory that she has of watching the news on television and seeing something affected her community profoundly. Her tiny Scottish primary school was changed from being a building that anybody could walk right into, to a place with coded locks on the doors and CCTV. It had a major effect on her community, school, and Scotland. This entire event felt like a real loss of innocence on both a national and personal level, and she has never forgotten it at all.

She chose to set the novel in Scotland, since Scotland has a very specific national collective memory from this event. It changed the country entirely, as a nation. Edinburgh is the last place you would think of if asked where college shootings happened.

She also sees Scotland as a crime fiction hub, and she loves it. For one, some of the best thriller and crime writers have written and lived here. Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle are two examples of this.

When writing, she writes mostly fiction, and just writes the odd poem in the time she has in between. The biggest difference is that you have to live in a novel’s world for big stretches of time. She has to sit, percolate, and plot a bit before she writes, and then go to her computer and the words are pretty much there. It means that Claire comes close to believing that her novels are real. That DI Birch is real, that if she goes by the police station on Fettes at the right time, she could be able to spot her.

With poems, she can just be struck with one immediately. She doesn’t have to think all that long about it, or whether she will write a poem that day. At times, it can just be there and demanding she write it down.

Claire Askew’s debut novel, called “All the Hidden Truths”, was published in the year 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton. Her fiction work is from the mystery genre.

“All the Hidden Truths” is the first novel in the “DI Helen Birch” series, which was released in the year 2018. During the aftermath of a tragedy, the world needs an explanation. After the Three Rivers College shooting, in Edinburgh, some things are crystal clear. They know when and they know who. But no one is able to say why.

For a trio of women, the lack of answers is unbearable. Ishbel, the mom of the first victim, who struggles to cope with her own grief. The detective that is charged with solving the case, DI Helen Birch. Finally, Moira, the killer’s mom that needs to understand what happened to her son.

While people look for somebody to blame, the truth begins to vanish.

This novel is intense right from the start, filled with emotional and shocking to read. The entire way, you are held in the book’s grip, unable to put the book down. The book gets down to the realities of those that are left behind after a college shooting, as well as those pulled into it. This takes an edifying and harsh look at our attitude to traumatic events, our social media, and our press. Claire Askew’s writing style is beautifully poetic in this book.

“What You Pay For” is the second novel in the “DI Helen Birch” series, which was released in the year 2019. Thirteen years back, Charlie, DI Birch’s little brother, who disappeared after he walked out one day and was never seen again. She joined the police force so that she could find her brother.

Two days back, Birch was a part of a raid on one of the most feared criminal organizations in all of Scotland. This was the fourteenth anniversary of his disappearance. It was a good day, as they had the chance to get a dangerous guy off of the streets.

Just yesterday, Charlie returned, after all of these years. It is no coincidence, either. Helen is told what Charlie has been doing all these years. Birch must choose between saving Charlie or her own career. How are you able to do the right thing when all of the consequences are horrible?

While she interrogates her brother, we begin to see his side, in a clever and brilliantly tense tale about what folks will do to survive and the lines they are willing to cross to keep those they love safe.

This book is emotive, tense with an authentic and a resonant central theme in it, and is proof that Claire Askew is a talented author and simply one to watch.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Claire Askew

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