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The Crack Magazine


Eliza Clark at The Biscuit Factory

It takes a talented and confident writer to set a story that takes place in a modern setting. It requires tackling the pleasure and torment of social media, as well as the constant and vast political and social change; if the extraordinary success of her 2020 novel Boy Parts showed us anything, its that Eliza Clark is more than equipped. Speaking about her new not-so-‘true’ crime novel Penance at The Biscuit Factory, Eliza highlighted her interest in interrogating the truth, whether that be through her characters, the audience, or even herself as a writer. She asks what exactly a writer’s relationship with the truth is, and whether the audience really want to know it, what she finds is that it is most often fractured. Inspired by the eery nostalgia of British seaside towns, namely Scarborough, Eliza expresses how the setting is the perfect place to balance chaos and order. Penance is not only a book for crime readers and lovers of an interesting narrative to seek their teeth into, but also an important commentary on the zeitgeist around frivolous true crime narratives, the role of social media and young people’s lives, and the slippery binary between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. From listening to Eliza speak about herself both as a writer and a reader, it is clear that she constantly wants to keep asking questions: who is the storyteller? why and how are narratives framed in a particular way? and should we believe it? It is this unyielding curiosity that not only makes her a fascinating and funny person to listen to, but also the fantastic writer she is, and we can all bear witness to that in the pages of Penance.

Imogen Mole