top of page

What You Could Have Won

Rachel Genn

November 4, 2020

After Henry Sinclair’s supervisor steals his research, he tries to rejuvenate his career by turning his girlfriend into a drug experiment. Astrid is a rising young singer. From her New York City apartment to a rehabilitation facility in Paris and a nudist camp on the Greek island of Antiparos, she struggles between her passion for Henry and her need to make her own decisions. Throughout this non-linear story, Astrid and Henry watch the box set of Sopranos, each affected differently by the ongoing violence and Tony Soprano’s bullying. Ultimately, What You Could Have Won (And Other Stories, 2020) is a novel about resilience and self-discovery in the face of control.

Rachel Genn is a senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School/School of Digital Arts and is currently creating a course on the neuroscience of Reverie. She earned a PhD in Psychopharmacology from the University of Durham, worked some years as a neuroscientist, and completed an MA in Writing at the Sheffield Hallam University, after which she completed her first novel, The Cure<, 2011. In 2016, Genn was a Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence, and she has written for Granta, 3AM, and Hotel Magazine. She lives in Sheffield after spending a good deal of her academic career in North America/Canada with a Royal Society Fellowship to the University of British Columbia, where she studied the neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of motivated behaviors. On her return to the UK she worked on the genetic bases of attentional mechanisms at the Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College in London. Genn follows a Sufi path, and her short documentary PING PONG SUFI premiered in 2020 at the Muslim Film Festival in Sydney, Australia. She has two daughters Esther and Ingrid (to whom this novel is dedicated “that they may know their own power”). She enjoys outdoor swimming, hill walking and snowboarding.

bottom of page