Dark Chapter

Dark Chapter


Dark Chapter

Author: Winnie M Li

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence. In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

Original language

ENGLISH (US & Canada) | Polis Books
ENGLISH (UK & Comm. excl. Canada) | Legend Press

Translation rights

CZECH | XYZ / Albatros Media
DUTCH | HarperCollins Holland
KOREAN | Hangilsa Publishing Company
GERMAN | Arche Verlag
ICELANDIC | Bokafelagid
ITALIAN | Newton Compton
SPANISH | Rey Naranjo
SWEDISH | Norstedts

  • Nominated to the Edgar Awards 2018- Best First Novel
  • Shortlisted – Best First Novel Award 2018
  • Not The Booker Prize Winner 2017
  • Shortlisted for SI Leeds Literary Prize 2016 
  • Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger 2015
  • Shortlisted for Pat Kavanagh Prize 2015
  • Shortlisted for Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize 2015  

«I highly recommend Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li – post-rape numbness, stifled rage, female victim alternating with rapist – how circumstances and accident come together tragically (based upon author’s experience, but it has been transformed into fiction.)» Joyce Carol Oates

«I have never found myself rooting for a heroine with more urgency than in Dark Chapter» Kate Rhodes

«Winnie Li is a rare talent with an explosive and timely story. Do not miss it.» Marti Leimbach

«An important and moving book» Cathy Rentzenbrink

«An impressive debut novel (…) a tense dramatic reading experience… conveyed with skill and emotion»  Guardian

«What is striking about this acclaimed first novel (highly recommended for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger) is that not only is it based on an incident in the author’s life, but the facility with which Li is able to intertwine the life stories of Vivian and Johnny, giving each substance and depth, sacrificing her own biases to create a clear sight line for the reader. Li skilfully compels the reader to examine life stories that have converged through a nightmarish act of violence.» Library Journal

«That Li was able to write this novel, as both personal catharsis and public service, speaks volumes about her inner strength. Li’s novel is both a valuable social document and a riveting page-turner.» Kirkus

«Li does a fine job exploring how one incident can change the course of a life in this astute psychological study.» Publishers Weekly

«This debut, based on true events, is a thoughtful, empathetic portrayal of the challenges rape victims face when seeking justice.» Booklist

«Complex and rewarding» Stylist

«A must-read…. Stunning’ Erin Kelly

«Her refusal to be silenced — accompanied by a compelling, at times lyrical prose style — makes this book not only highly readable but also incredibly important… It is also deeply courageous.» Wasafiri

«Brave, raw, strikingly original, it is a story that will resonate for many years.» Daily Mail Review

«If I think about any of the unputdownable crime novels I’ve read (John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Ruth Rendell), it is as unputdownable. It is gripping. (…) Dark Chapter is a book that has the potential to change the world through changing minds.» Emily Jacob

«Lyrical, haunting and hypnotic… A must read.» Irenosen Okojie

«An accomplished debut, an honest and unsparing story» Cath Staincliffe

«An unflinching lens on the sexual assault landscape and one that should be applauded.» Ali Land

«A powerful story, compassionately told.» Ros Barber

«Brave, raw and visceral» A.D. Garrett

«Extremely well written… an impressive and powerful debut» Isabel Wolff

«Not just an important book, it is a very, very good one, and the first, you feel, of many from Winnie M Li» Glenn Patterson

«Not only a beautiful book, but a very important one too.» Madeleine Black, author of Unbroken

«…fresh and original. The writing is direct, assured and compelling»CWA Debut Dagger 2015 Judges

«An engaging and important story.» SI Leeds Literary Prize 2016 Judges

«This is a book about survival. Dark Chapter should be seen as a beacon of hope, as well as a tale of how sadistic and destructive male violence really is.» Julie Bindel

«A brave and unflinching novel» Bernardine Evaristo

«Writing about rape is never easy, yet Winnie Li handles it with sensitivity and without over-sentimentality… an engrossing story.» Kadija Sesay, SI Leeds Literary Prize Chair of Judges

«A fine debut from an exceptional talent.» Stuart Neville, award-winning author

«A shocking yet thought-provoking insight into the impact of rape on both victim and perpetrator. There are important lessons to be learnt… a book to be read and discussed.» Canon Ed Newell

«Gripping, intense and exhilarating. This book should find its way to the hands of every man who has ever downplayed the magnitude of such a matter.» JJ Bola

«A tour de force… a definitive novel about trauma after violence» Trina Vargo

«Winnie Li’s novel, like those by Roxane Gay, Cara Hoffman, and Jessica Knoll, is an important addition to the literary landscape… a unique and unflinching story about sexual violence.» Sarah Knight, internationally bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

«Dark Chapter is equal parts terrifying and gripping, confronting and illuminating, shocking and insightful… a brave and brilliant piece of writing.» Bidisha, broadcaster and journalist

«Affecting and powerful, Winnie Li’s work as both a writer and activist shows incredible depth and passion. An important story, beautiful and brutal equal measure, which addresses a vital topic from a rarely told female perspective.» Tiff Stevenson, Award-winning Comedian, Actor, and Writer

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