Claire Prentice is the author of Miracle at Coney Island, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island, Doctor Ice Pick, and Curse of Riches (which will be out in Summer 2022). She has contributed to the BBC, NPR, ABC Australia, NY1 TV and Arte Television, The Times, the Washington Post, SmithsonianMag.com, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.
Her first book, The Lost Tribe of Coney Island, unearthed the true story of the 50 Igorrote natives who were transported from the Northern Philippines and put on display at Coney Island in New York in 1905. It was a New York Post must-read, an Amazon best-seller and Editor’s Pick Best History. The New York Times described it as “well-researched and engrossing,” the Philippine Daily Enquirer called it “a magnificent book about a terrible time” and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King described it as “historically meticulous … [it] provides a fascinating glimpse into the heart and soul of America at the turn of the 20th Century.”
In her second book, the best-selling Miracle at Coney Island, Prentice uncovered the story of Martin Couney, “the Incubator Doctor,” who saved thousands of premature babies through his incubator exhibits at fairgrounds and amusement parks. Prentice traveled across America to meet some of the “babies” he saved. Her interviews with these men and women, now in their seventies, eighties and nineties, featured in her critically-acclaimed BBC radio documentary, Life Under Glass.
Prentice’s fascination with hidden histories and the compelling, often flawed characters at the center of them can be seen in her new book, Doctor Ice Pick. It tells the true story of Walter Freeman, inventor of the “ten-minute lobotomy,” and his state-sponsored campaign to empty psychiatric hospitals in West Virginia using his controversial procedure.
Prentice was awarded a 2019 Krakow UNESCO City of Literature International Residency in Poland, and has been a Virginia Humanities Fellow, a Fellow of the Dora Maar House, and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow. She has appeared as a guest speaker at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.
Due out in Summer 2022, her newest book, Curse of Riches reveals the epic true story of the Wendels, one of Gilded Age New York’s wealthiest and most dysfunctional families. Theirs is a tale of secrets and lies, lunacy trials, fear and forbidden love affairs, and a spoiled little dog called Tobey.
In the words of the New York Times best-selling writer Abbott Kahler, “Prentice has a reporter’s nose for a good story, and a novelist’s flair for telling it.”
Claire’s work has appeared in
The BBC, The Washington Post, The Times, the Daily Telegraph, The Smithsonian Mag, Huffington Post, Sydney Morning Herald, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, The Sunday Herald, Grazia, Marie Claire Australia, Cosmopolitan