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JL George

The Word

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  • £9.99


Winner of the International Rubery Book Award 2022

Winner of New Welsh Writing Award 2019


'George has that talent that all novelists wish for: the ability to keep you reading because you desperately want to know what happens next.' – Cheryl Morgan, Salon Futura


One idea can jinx a whole country in less than a lifetime...

Rhydian is one of five teenagers born into his generation with the Word – a preternatural power that enables them to compel other people to obey. Along with his best friend Jonno, almost-grown-up Rachel, and Cadi, he is studied and experimented on in a facility called the Centre. When they learn that the Centre's purpose is to turn them into weapons of war, the teens go on the run.

How did this brutal fortress Britain emerge? Here, babies are stolen from mothers whose identities are stripped away at will. Protesting crowds are mesmerised, and children who disobey are killed in cold blood. Exploring themes of coercive control, disinformation and fundamentalism, The Word shows how kindness can emerge when we resist power, practise resistance, and show vulnerability. Combining speculative elements and emotional truths, it is essentially a coming-of-age story, in which brave young individuals fight to keep hold of who they are in a dehumanising world.


JL George was born in Cardiff and raised in Torfaen. Her fiction has won a New Welsh Writing Award, the International Rubery Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition. In previous lives, she wrote a PhD on the classic weird tale and played in a glam rock band. She lives in Cardiff with her partner and a collection of long suffering houseplants, and enjoys baking, alternative music, and the company of cats.