Bristol novelist sweeps literary board

Novel Nights Press Release

Novel Nights presents Jane Shemilt: best-selling Bristol novelist

Thursday November 20, 8pm, The Lansdown, Bristol

Jane Shemilt, a former Bristol GP, is achieving critical acclaim and commercial success with her first novel, Daughter, recently published by Penguin. She is due to appear at Novel Nights to read from and discuss her work.

Her debut psychological thriller is a Richard and Judy Autumn Book club choice, and is in the top ten of the Sunday Times Best Seller List. The rights to the book are being snapped up worldwide and there is an option for TV development, with Waterstones choosing Daughter for their Paperback of the Year award.

“We absolutely loved this book about a GP and her family and the sudden horror that devastates their lives when their 15-year-old daughter disappears one night.” Richard and Judy’s Review.

While working as a GP, Jane completed a post-graduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the M.A. in creative writing at Bath Spa University, gaining both with distinction.

She says, “The transition from doctor to writer was smooth; I had reconnected with a childhood passion. I don’t regret one second of that career, but writing was like coming home.”

The inspiration for the novel came from her patients. In an interview with Richard and Judy, Jane said: “At the heart of the patient–doctor encounter is a story. So many patients come with a story underpinned by grief or loss. Loss of someone they loved, a child, a partner, a parent; loss of something central to themselves, their physical or their mental health and all the losses that may follow from that: relationships, job, identity, and peace of mind.

“I began to wonder how they coped, what gave them the strength to endure and carry on, often with extraordinary grace. This was the starting point for Daughter, a book that set out to explore both loss and resilience.”

Jane is editing her second book, due for publication in 2015, and is writing her third novel. Jane and her husband, a Professor of Neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

Jane Shemilt is appearing at Novel Nights on Thursday 20th November at 8pm, The Lansdown, 8 Clifton Road, Bristol. She will be reading and discussing Daughter and signing copies. For press passes and information contact Grace Palmer: 


‘Ostensibly a suspense novel about the disappearance of a teenage girl, this taut and thought-provoking debut novel explores a working mother’s guilt, something all-too familiar to many of us’ – Woman & Home

 ‘Taut and thought-provoking’ – Sunday Mirror

 ‘Utterly gripping. A tautly coiled spring of suspicion and suspense which builds to a devastating ending’ – Mail on Sunday

 ‘Thrilling’ – Sunday Express

About Novel Nights:

Novel Nights is a monthly literary event showcasing both published and unpublished novelists from Bristol and Bath. We feature guest speakers to inspire fellow writers and readers and have an open mic slot. It is organised by Grace Palmer and friends, and takes place at the Lansdown Pub, Clifton, Bristol

Tickets £4

Guest speakers have included:

  • Nathan Filer, winner, Costa Award 2013 for  ‘The Shock of the Fall’
  • Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls, based on his trilogy, ‘Here Be Monsters’
  • Sarah Hilary, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’, a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice
  • Anna Freeman, ‘The Fair Fight’, about women boxers in Bristol,1799
  • Dr Sanjida O’Connell, author of four novels & Bristol Short Story Prize Judge
  • Lu Hersey, winner of the Mslexia Novel award for ‘Deep Water’
  • Helen Hart, author and publisher at Silverwood Books
  • Lucy English, poet, novelist and lecturer of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing

About Richard and Judy:

The Richard and Judy Book Club titles have sold in excess of 10 million and generated over £60 million in book sales. Its featured titles are known to increase sales by as much as 3,000 per cent overnight, and it has turned at least eight authors into multi-millionaires.