Sally J Morgan has been named the winner of this year’s Porico Prize, taking home the award for her book Toto Among the Murderers.

Mostly set in Leeds and Sheffield in 1973, the story is based on her own experience of being offered a lift by serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

“It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems.” The book’s synopsis reads.

Gary Younge, chair of judges for the award said: “Toto Among the Murderers vividly evokes a period in recent history with themes that carry clear, if painful echoes, to today — a time when women in the North, in particular, lived in mortal fear of sexual violence made explicit by daily headlines about mass murderers targeting vulnerable women. But what comes through is the determination of Toto, the main character, to refuse to allow the fears to define her as she lives a life of reckless adventure, longing and love.”

To be eligible for the award, entrants had to have a central theme or subject that engaged with some aspect of the North. After being crowned the winner, Sally receives £10,000, along with an artwork by local artist Barry Anthony Finan.

Find out more about Sally, her book and order yourself a copy here.

Image credit: The Portico Library

Thu 20 Jan
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Mon 24 Jan 2022