English Literature and Creative Writing Professor Rebecca Stott has been awarded the Costa Biography Award for her memoir In the Days of Rain.

The book was released last summer through 4th Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishing. It details Professor Stott’s childhood experiences being born into the fundamentalist Christian sect The Exclusive Brethren, an organisation which generations of her family were heavily involved in, prior to their departure from it in 1972.

The release was met with great acclaim from publications such as The Sunday Times, The Spectator and The Guardian. It has also featured in Amazon’s bestseller charts under the Religious and Women’s Biography categories. Costa’s judging panel called the memoir “a stand-out winner,” stating they were “all gripped and astonished by this unique life and the exquisite way she tells it.”

Speaking to Concrete on her win, Professor Stott said: “In the Days of Rain is a family story about growing up in a cult. It was important to me not just to describe that experience honestly and carefully but to write a book about the dangers of unchecked male power. I also wanted to try to understand how good people can get caught up in bad systems.

“2017 was a year in which many courageous women made a difference by speaking out about harassment and bullying so winning the Costa this year, and for this book, is especially gratifying.”