Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize!


We are delighted that Sarah Krasnostein’s extraordinary debut The Trauma Cleaner was shortlisted for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize, and while it might not have won the prize itself, we’re over the moon that it won the Shadow Panel!

Sandra Pankhurst started life as an abused adopted son in a working-class family. Following marriage, fatherhood and divorce, she made the transition to living as a woman. Now, as a trauma cleaner she helps those at life’s dark extremes. Sarah Krasnostein’s account of Sandra Pankhurst’s extraordinary story is a compelling account of a fascinating life, and an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

Please contact or call +44 (0)20 7405 7422 for details.

The Wellcome Book Prize is an annual award, open to new works of fiction or non-fiction that explore or engage with some aspect of medicine, health or illness. You can read more at and follow the prize on Twitter at @wellcomebkprize.

Praise for The Trauma Cleaner:

‘Sarah Krasnostein’s writing is warm and curious. And, carefully, it draws a portrait of Pankhurst you’ll remember long after you’ve finished reading—a woman who is quietly, wonderfully triumphant while standing at the middle and centre of despair.’—The Pool

‘Krasnostein’s playful yet heartfelt debut is one of the most arresting works of biography you will read in a long time.’—The Guardian

 ‘A book that is as hard to read as it is hard to put down. A story of pain and loss and loneliness, of trauma and transformations and sassy humour. And cleaning...It is a hilarious and poignant tale of a woman who defies all labels...Krasnostein is a very fine writer. Her debut book is a compelling and honest story of human survival, and love.’ —The Australian

A ‘one-of-a-kind biography’– Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

‘Through countless encounters with the fetid, the neglected, and the downright tragic, Parkhurst has found meaning and peace, and [author] Krasnostein a singular subject whom she approaches with well-deserved awe.’—Booklist (starred)

‘A transgender former prostitute cleans up the fetid houses of the psychotic, the hopeless and the murdered. Sounds like some dubious TLC special, but it’s a fascinating bio of Sandra Pankhurst… Revelatory.’—People

‘Compelling and fascinating.’—Oxygen

‘Intriguing...A complex protagonist makes for engaging material.’—Publishers Weekly

Australian Prizes for The Trauma Cleaner:

  • Winner, NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction, 2019

  • Winner, Victorian Prize for Literature, 2018

  • Winner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 2018

  • Winner, ABIA General Non-Fiction Book of the Year, 2018

  • Winner, ABDA Designers' Choice: Cover of the Year: W. H. Chong, 2018

  • Winner, Dobbie Literary Award for a first time published author, 2018

Read an extract here



Text Publishing