June 28, 2014—Katherine Reay’s highly acclaimed first novel, Dear Mr. Knightly, represented by Alive Literary Agency, has won the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut Novel of the Year. The INSPY team of judges gave this explanation for their choice:
Katherine Reay’s contemporary epistolary, Dear Mr. Knightley is one of the most brilliant character studies to come about in literature in years. Sometimes you are given a gift that everyone assures you will be delightful but you aren’t entirely sure the contents will be to your liking. This is a book where the hype holds up. All the references to classical literature – from Great Expectations to Austen to Narnia, could have made the novel seem detached, but Reay uses them with such talent and creativity, you understand the characters on a deeper level because of them and because Dear Mr. Knightley’s heroine was less “figment” and much more, real. Above all, those qualities are this debut’s crowning glory – it’s more than just an expert piece of fiction. Not only is Dear Mr. Knightley the perfect debut, it’s a must read for any lover of classics, particularly Jane Austen.
Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. Visit their website at www.inspys.com. – DC