'A genuinely impressive debut. Boxer Handsome does everything great fiction should... revealing a world that most people will never even think about. If you can't see what it is that people need from boxing, or why it somehow persists into the 21st century, then read this' -- Guardian
Boxing runs in Bobby’s blood. His Irish dad was a boxer. So was his Jewish grandfather. Yanked up by their collars at Clapton Bow Boys Club, taught how to box and stay out of trouble.
So Bobby knows he shouldn’t be messing in street brawls a week before his big fight with Connor ‘the Gypsy Boy’, an Irish traveller from around the way. They’re fighting over Theresa: a traveller girl with Connor’s name all over her. But Bobby’s handsome, like his dad; boxer handsome.
Set against the backdrop of contemporary East-End London, Boxer Handsome is an unsung hymn to tribal boxing history and to an angry and austere Britain, a community up against itself, ‘all fighting a corner; all fighting for space. All up for a fight.’
For Bobby, the ring is everywhere and he can’t afford to lose.
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Boxer Handsome tells the story of young Clapton boxer, Bobby, in the run up to the fight of his career. Whitwham is pitch-perfect on physicality, brutality and the pressures of masculinity at the heart of the sport, as well as authentically depicting a working-class community. - Herald Scotland
A genuinely impressive debut. Boxer Handsome does everything great fiction should, offering up characters who stay with the reader long after the end of the book, giving an almost filmic vision of places and people, and revealing a world that most people will never even think about. If you can't see what it is that people need from boxing, or why it somehow persists into the 21st century, then read this. - Guardian
Bristles with machismo... The prose – punchy and pungent – and Boby’s terse, frustrated voice keep you in your ringside seat - New Statesman
This story is just as much about territory and escaping who you are, as it is about boxing. Full of sober realism and broken dreams, she's got the sort of narrative that would make Shane Meadows sit up. - The Times
Rich in detail and elegantly written... Whitwham has considerable talent - Sunday Telegraph
A compelling debut novel which beautifully explores the heart, physicality and working-class origins of boxing in East London - Huffington Post UK
About the Author
Anna Whitwham was born in 1981 in London, where she still lives. She studied Drama and English at the University of California, Los Angeles, Queens University Belfast and at Royal Holloway, London. Boxer Handsome is her first novel. It is a world Anna knows well: her grandfather, John Poppy, was a young featherweight boxer at Crown & Manor Boys Club in Hoxton. He is the inspiration behind this book.