Sara Collins

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Sara Collins is a Jamaican-born Caymanian-British novelist and former lawyer. She earned a Costa Book Award for her 2019 historical fiction novel The Confessions of Frannie Langton.[1]

Life and writing[edit]

Collins was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Her family fled to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, the home of her paternal grandmother, when she was four in light of political violence following the 1976 Jamaican election.[2] She attended boarding school in England at eleven.[3][4]

Collins went on to graduate in law from the London School of Economics. She worked for 17 years as a lawyer, during which time she jointly edited International Trust Disputes. She was a partner and Head of Trust & Private Client in the Cayman Islands office of Conyers Dill & Pearman.[5] She then took a Master of Studies degree in creative writing at the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge.[6] While studying at Cambridge she was awarded the 2016 Michael Holroyd prize for non-fiction (or, as he termed it, "recreative writing") for her work Knocking on Walcott's Door, described as "a form of literary autobiography".[7]

The Confessions of Frannie Langton takes the form of the deposition of a woman charged with murder, written for her trial at the Old Bailey in London in 1826. Frannie Langton had grown up as a slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation, where her slave-owner had employed her in his research "desperate to prove that Africans aren't human". She was given to George Benham and his French wife in London, and "Then, in unclear circumstances, the Benhams are murdered".[8][9] The book was published in 2019 by Viking, who acquired it shortly before nine companies were due to bid for its rights.[10] Reviewing the book in The Guardian, Natasha Pulley praised it and said "Between her historical research, Frannie's voice and a plot that never slows to a walk, the novel pulls the gothic into new territory and links it back to its origins."[9] The reviewer in The Irish Times calls the novel "a beguiling story with strong feminist overtones".[8] Collins won the First Novel award in the 2019 Costa Book Awards.[1]

Collins was shortlisted for the 2020 McKitterick Prize, awarded by the Society of Authors to a debut novelist over the age of 40.[11][12]

In 2020 ITV announced that they had commissioned Collins to adapt The Confessions of Frannie Langton for television with Drama Republic; filming is expected to take place in London in 2021.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Collins splits her time between London and Cayman. She married Scottish lawyer Iain McMurdo in 2008. They were both single parents when they met at their law firm, McMurdo a widower with three daughters and Collins a divorcee with two.[4][14]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Collins, Sara (4 April 2019). The Confessions of Frannie Langton. London: Viking. ISBN 978-0241349199.
  • Collins, Sara; Kempster, Steven; McMillan, Morven; Meek, Alison (2012). International trust disputes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199594702.


  1. ^ a b "Archive: Past winners". Costa. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Sara Collins talks about her sublime debut". Leslie Lindsay. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  3. ^ Ho, Olivia. "A world beyond just being a slave". Straits Times. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Sara Collins". Cayman Parent. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  5. ^ "International Trust Disputes: Author information". Oxford University Press. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Meet ICE creative writing graduate, Sara Collins to mark the publication of her first novel". Cambridge Network. 2019. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  7. ^ Hatley, Josh (16 May 2016). "The Michael Holroyd Prize for 'Recreative' literature awarded at Madingley Hall". University of Cambridge: Institute of Continuing Education. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  8. ^ a b Gilmartin, Sarah (30 March 2019). "The Confessions of Frannie Langton: From the Caribbean to the courthouse". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b Pulley, Natasha (4 April 2019). "The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins review – a stunning debut". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  10. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (21 September 2017). "Viking pre-empts Collins' debut". The Bookseller. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  11. ^ "The 2020 McKitterick Prize - Celebrating debut novelists over 40". The Society of Authors. 11 August 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  12. ^ "McKitterick Prize". Archived from the original on 16 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  13. ^ "ITV commissions adaptation of The Confessions of Frannie Langton novel". ITV Press Centre. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  14. ^ Collins, Sara (1 January 2020). "Families are built by love, not biology: How new traditions made a difference to this blended family". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 2 March 2021.

External links[edit]