Catherine Chanter was born and raised in the West Country. She won a scholarship to read English Literature at Oxford and went on to work as a lobbyist, both in the UK and the USA. Somewhat disillusioned with the political process, she returned to England where she re-trained as a teacher and has since led provision for vulnerable and excluded young people in a wide range of settings. Most recently, Catherine has worked at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in London and is currently leading on the delivery of education in an adolescent mental health in-patient service.
Catherine has written for Radio 4 and had short stories and poetry published in a wide range of anthologies and publications, including A Summary of Findings which was runner up in the Asham Award, A Boy’s Guide to Winning: No. 1 Hide and Seek which was runner up in the Bristol Short Story Prize and Photograph of a Tribesman, winner of the Yeovil Poetry Prize. Her novella and short story collection Rooms of the Mind was published by Cinnamon Press in 2011. She has a Masters, with Distinction , in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. She has just completed her first full length work of fiction, The Well, which won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, 2013.
As of October 2013, The Well has been sold to Canongate and will be published in March UK in 2015 alongside Text Publishing in Australia. Atria of Simon and Schuster will publish it in the US, with foreign publishers so far confirmed as Fischer (Germany), Ambo Anthos (The Netherlands) and Brombergs (Sweden), Bazar (Norway) and Salamandra (Spain), and further languages sold in France, Italy, Japan and Turkey.
‘One summer was all it took before our dream started to curl at the edges and stain like picked primroses. One night is enough to swallow a lifetime of lives.’
When Ruth Ardingly and her family first drive up from London in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a place, a farm that appears to offer everything the family are searching for. An opportunity for Ruth. An escape for Mark. A home for their grandson Lucien.
But The Well’s unique glory comes at a terrible price. The locals suspect foul play in its verdant fields and drooping fruit trees, and Ruth becomes increasingly isolated as she struggles to explain why her land flourishes whilst her neighbours’ produce withers and dies. Fearful of envious locals and suspicious of those who seem to be offering help, Ruth is less and less sure who she can trust.
As The Well envelops them, Ruth’s paradise becomes a prison, Mark’s dream a recurring nightmare, and Lucien’s playground a grave.
Published: 5th March 2015