Tom Benn

Oxblood

SHORTLISTED 2022

Wythenshawe, South Manchester. 1985.

The Dodds family once ruled Manchester ’s underworld; now the men are dead, leaving three generations of women trapped in a house haunted by violence, harbouring an unregistered baby.

Matriarch Nedra presides over the household, which bustles with activity as she prepares the welcome feast for her grandson Kelly’s return from prison.

Her grieving daughter-in-law Carol is visited by both the welcome, intimate ghost of her murdered lover, and by Mac, an ageing criminal enforcer, a man who may just offer her a real and possible future.

And then there is Jan – the teenage tearaway running as fast as she can from her mother, her grandmother, and her own unnamed baby.
Over the course of a few days, the Dodds women must each confront the true legacy of the men who have defined their lives; and seize the opportunity to break the cycle for good.

A blistering portrait of a family on fire, Oxblood lays bare the horror of violence, the exile of grief, and the extraordinary power of love.

Tom Benn’s first novel, The Doll Princess, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Portico Prize, and longlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. Benn’s creative nonfiction has appeared in the Paris Review and he won the BFI’s iWrite scheme for emerging screenwriters. His first film Real Gods Require Blood premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the BFI London Film Festival. Born in Stockport in 1987, he now teaches on the UEACrime Fiction Creative Writing MA and lives in Norwich.

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