At Barlinnie jail in Glasgow, they don't do art by halves. Its best-known graduate, Jimmy Boyle, famously transformed himself into a prolific sculptor and author. Now, from the other side of the bars, parole and probation officer Helen FitzGerald will publish not one but two novels in the same spring.
Born in Australia, one of 13 children, FitzGerald took a Masters' in social work at Glasgow University and has worked with offenders for a decade. Her first novel, 'Dead Lovely', came out in 2007. At Barlinnie, she helps prepare prisoners for release.
That professional life informs 'My Last Confession', due from Faber, in which a parole officer becomes entangled with a client's case. Meanwhile, Polygon has issued 'The Devil's Staircase', a scary and stylish slice of urban noir that plunges a naive Aussie traveller into the decadence and danger of a boho London squat.
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