Arundhati Roy, Amazon's 'Best Book of the year so far'

The Amazon (US) Editors have chosen Arundhati Roy's bestselling second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness as their '#1 pick for the best book of 2017 so far' and we love to see it up in lights as a banner. 

"To read The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is to immerse yourself in years of India’s religious, political, and cultural changes and to feel it all through the narrative of an incredible cast of characters. What becomes apparent throughout their individual stories is that power and belief are malleable, that suffering does not end but merely changes hands, and what is revered can easily become reviled. The latter shows up most clearly for Anjum, formerly Aftab, who becomes a famous Hijra in Delhi, only to later find herself keeper of a graveyard sanctum for others who are no longer welcome in the new society. Yes, there is a lot of violence and heartbreak in this novel, but Roy also suffuses it with humor, irony, and --more than anything-- the ability of love and acceptance to heal the broken. Even when, or perhaps,especially when, it comes from places one would never expect. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is complex and compassionate, and the heart and soul that Arundhati Roy so obviously gave to it is worth every one of the many years it’s taken to give us another fictional masterpiece." --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review

The book has now sold in 34 territories and counting.

Congratulations Arundhati!

Richard Fortey wins Richard Jefferies Literary Prize

Congratulations go to the fantastic Richard Fortey, who has won the Richard Jefferies Society & White Horse Bookshop Literary Prize!

The prize is awarded annually to the author of the publication considered by the judging panel to be the most outstanding nature writing published in a given calendar year. The winning work will reflect the heritage and spirit of Jefferies’ countryside books.

An annual prize of £1,000 is awarded to the winner and nominations may be made by anyone. This year the prize was awarded to British palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and broadcaster Richard Fortey for The Wood for the Trees (William Collins) which best met the criterion of reflecting themes or topics broadly consistent with Jefferies’ writing.

John Price, Chairman of the Richard Jefferies Society said: “With a strong sense of place in Fortey's recording of the passage of the year in the woodland, we felt that the book was a worthy successor to Jefferies' writing.”

Angus Maclennan, Manager of The White Horse Bookshop added: “In this golden era for nature writing we are delighted to award Richard Fortey for his intimate portrait of our environment and our place within it. It strikes the perfect balance between science and sensibility.”

Following his retirement, Fortey bought 4 acres of ancient beech and bluebell woodland in the Chilterns, near Henley. The book chronicles, month by month, his developing relationship with the wood, investigating the range of species living in his territory, then expanding to consider the socio-economic history of the area, and issues involved in the maintenance of the woodland as a thriving ecosystem. The author's academic background allows for scientific accuracy in recording species, and the holistic approach to describing the woodland echoes Jefferies' approach to writing about the area around Coate, near Swindon.

Jefferies (1848 – 1887) last published work was an introduction to Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne. He wrote: “I did not come across Mr. White's book till late in the day, when it was in fact, too late, else it would have been of the utmost advantage to me.” John Price said: “We feel that this could also apply to Richard Fortey's book, so all budding naturalists, and would-be nature writers should be alerted. White, Jefferies, and Fortey, all demonstrate the enormous interest that can be obtained from the study of a relatively small area of land over an extended period.”

Congratulations Richard! Get hold of a copy of the book here.

Lara Pawson shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2017

We're so pleased to share that Lara Pawson's This Is The Place to Be (CB Editions) has been shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2017, a prize for memoir and life writing.

The PEN Ackerley Prize was established in memory of Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967), the author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. The prize is awarded annually to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the UK in the previous year. The PEN Ackerley prize is judged by biographer and historian Peter Parker (chair), writer and painter Colin Spencer, author Georgina Hammick and writer and critic Claire Harman. The winner receives a cheque for £3,000.

Peter Parker, chair of judges, said:

The judges called in 36 books published in 2016, from which they drew up an extremely varied longlist of eight titles. Although the Prize is open to British writers only, we travelled long distances with our authors, visiting amongst other places the Soviet Union, Libya, the Orkneys, New York, Jamaica, and Angola and Vietnam during the wars there. And that was only for the longlist.

We ended up, unusually, with an all-women shortlist – three compelling, fearlessly honest and wonderfully written books.

Lara shares the shortlist with Amy Liptrot's The Outrun (Canongate) and Decca Aitkenhead's All at Sea (4th Estate).

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 5 July 2017 at a special prize event at the Free Word Centre. Congratulations Lara!

Happy Publication Day Arundhati Roy - The Ministry of Utmost Happiness released today

We'd like to wish Arundhati Roy a very, very happy publication day. Her second novel in 20 years, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is out today!

'Roy's second novel proves as remarkable as her first' - Financial Times

'A great tempest of a novel... which will leave you awed by the heat of its anger and the depth of its compassion' - Washington Post

The first novel in 20 years from the Booker-prize winning author of The God of Small Things

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a journey of many years-the story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, where war is peace and peace is war, and where, from time to time, 'normalcy' is declared.

Anjum, who used to be Aftab, unrolls a threadbare carpet in a city graveyard that she calls home. A baby appears quite suddenly on a pavement, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter. The enigmatic S. Tilottama is as much of a presence as she is an absence in the lives of the three men who loved her.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes with a laugh. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, mended by love-and by hope. For this reason, they are as steely as they are fragile, and they never surrender. This ravishing, magnificent book reinvents what a novel can do and can be. And it demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts.

'A novel that demands and rewards the reader's concentration, this is a dazzling return to formIndependent

'This novel is a freedom song. Every page has the stamp of Roy's originality. Such brutality, such beauty' Amitava Kumar, the author of Immigrant, Montana

'Intricately layered and passionate, studded with jokes and with horrors... This is a work of extraordinary intricacy and grace' Prospect Magazine

'Ambitious, original, and hauntingPublishers Weekly starred review

'A masterpiece. Roy joins Dickens, Naipaul, García Márquez, and Rushdie in her abiding compassion, storytelling magic, and piquant wit. An entrancing, imaginative, and wrenching epicBooklist starred review

Buy the book here, today.
 

Congratulations Arundhati!

Tracey Thorn to be published by Canongate

We're thrilled to share that Canongate is set to publish singer and writer Tracey Thorn after publishing director Francis Bickmore acquired world rights to Another Planet.

The book is an exploration of suburbia generally and a portrait of growing up on the urban outskirts in the 1970s and 1980s. In it, Thorn looks at how and why she didn’t fit in, ideas of conventionality, repression and secrecy – the way in which suburbia is built on secrets and lies, on things being hidden and not spoken of. She examines the suburban code of behaviour which taught her to repress everything, in contrast with her discovery of art and music, which helped Thorn to escape, to find herself and her voice.

The deal was brokered through Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. Thorn has previously published two books with Virago - Naked at the Albert Hall: The Inside Story of Singing and Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star.

Bickmore said: "Tracey’s unique voice and way of seeing the world will make this exploration into the conscious and unconscious of suburbia a must-read. Caitlin Moran called Tracey 'the Alan Bennett of pop memoirists' and Another Planet will have some of that understated wit. But this will also be a provocative book about creativity, influence, youth and age and the links all of these have to environment. As a Goldsmiths and Baileys Prize judge, Tracey very much has her finger on the pulse of modern writing and we’re thrilled to welcome her to Canongate."

Thorn added: "The new book is a portrait of growing up in suburbia in the 1970s, based partly on my diaries from 1976–1981 – which tell a story of a story of teenage frustration and unrelenting routine – intercut with writing from the present day in which I try to work out what suburbia means, how it formed me and how I escaped. I’m really excited to be working with Canongate, who have published some of my favourite books of the last couple of years."

Canongate will publish in hardback in spring 2019. Congratulations Tracey!

Clover Stroud's THE WILD OTHER on Wainright Prize Longlist

We're so pleased to share the news that Clover Stroud's beautiful memoir, The Wild Other, is on the longlist for the Wainright Prize.

wainwrightprize.png

Now in its fourth year, The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, is awarded annually to the book which most successfully reflects the ethos of renowned nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s work, to inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.

The judging panel for the 2017 prize will be chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Joining Julia on the judging panel are: fellow TV presenter Matt Baker; editor of the National Trust Magazine, Sally Palmer; chair of both Gardener’s Question Time and the Wainwright Society, Eric Robson; Mail on Sunday journalist, Sarah Oliver; and ex-Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Peter Waine.

The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize celebrates the resurgent genre of nature writing and the 2017 longlist is proof that British nature and travel writing is in good health.

Chair of judges, Julia Bradbury comments; “I’m delighted to be chairing the judging panel for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize this year, it really is a thought-provoking prize. The books that my fellow judges and I have longlisted capture many different aspects of the natural world whilst displaying the strength and variety in nature writing in the UK today. I’m excited that through this prize, we are helping to celebrate these books and the natural landscapes and creatures that have inspired them.”

A powerful and beautifully written memoir from journalist Clover Stroud, about grief, motherhood, depression and the healing power of nature and horses.

'There is so much richly evoked life here... beautifully written.' Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times

'This redemptive memoir will steal your heart; it will return it bruised but emboldened.' Mail on Sunday

'Beautifully written...I love this book.' India Knight

'Compelling and candid, deftly weaving together past and present... a heart-wrenching story told in haunting, lyrical prose.' Tatler

'I have huge admiration for the spirit of this memoir, and its author: full of heart, bravery and adventure. A moving, gripping read.' Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

Clover Stroud's idyllic childhood in rural England was shattered when a horrific riding accident left her mother permanently brain-damaged.

Just sixteen, she embarked on a journey to find the sense of home that had been so savagely broken. Travelling from gypsy camps in Ireland, to the rodeos of west Texas and then to Russia's war-torn Caucasus, Clover eventually found her way back to England's lyrical Vale of the White Horse.

The Wild Other is a grippingly honest account of love, loss, family and the healing strength of nature. Powerful and deeply emotional, this is the story 

of an extraordinary life lived at its fullest.

Clover Stroud is a writer and journalist writing for the Daily MailSunday TimesDaily Telegraph, and Conde Nast Traveller, among others. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and five children.

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY TO TOM JACKSON AND HIS BOOK, POSTCARD FROM THE PAST

A perfect summer's day to celebrate the publication of Postcard From the Past. Tom Jackson has gathered a collection of the funniest, weirdest and most moving real messages from the backs of old postcards and curated them into a wonderful, touching book. It also includes a foreword by Mark Haddon.

The interplay between the images and words has a wonderfully wistful, nostalgic effect, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the people who wrote the cards, and cumulatively, the project forms a kind of alternative social history. It has been called 'lovely' by Mark Haddon, 'sad and sweet' by Holly Walsh and 'a masterclass in dialogue writing' by Jason Hazely, author of the Adult Ladybird series.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Publication day to Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy

A very happy publication to Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, whose fantastic book, The Exile is now out in the world for all to read. 

The book is an extraordinary look at inside story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in the years after 9/11.

Following the attacks on the Twin Towers, Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, eluded intelligence services and Special Forces units for almost a decade. Using remarkable, first-person testimony from bin Laden's family and his closest aides, The Exile chronicles this astonishing tale of evasion, collusion and isolation.

In intimate detail, The Exile reveals not only the frantic attack on Afghanistan by the United States in their hunt for bin Laden but also how and why, when they found his family soon afterm, the Bush administration rejected the chance to seize themhim. It charts the formation of ISIS, and uncovers the wasted opportunity to kill its Al Qaeda-sponsored founder; it explores the development of the CIA's torture programme; it details Iran's secret shelter for bin Laden's family and Al Qaeda's military council; and it captures the power struggles, paranoia and claustrophobia within the Abbottabad house prior to the raid.

A landmark work of investigation and reportage, The Exile is as authoritative as it is compelling, and essential reading for anyone concerned with history, security and future relations with the Islamic world. 

Get hold of a copy here. 

Hodder & Stoughton to publish Dr Fern Riddell

We're thrilled to share news that Hodder & Stoughton have acquired a biography of little-known suffragette Kitty Marion by historian Fern Riddell. The book will be based upon never before published diaries written by Kitty herself. There are only three copies of this diary in existence – two in the UK and one in New York. Fern chanced upon the diaries in the Museum of London archive and quickly realised they contained a shocking story that has been grievously overlooked and written out of history up until now. A Dangerous Woman will tell the incredible story of Kitty’s life – including the extreme acts she performed in the name of the suffragette cause. The book will be published in June 2018 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.

Fern Riddell is a cultural historian specialising in sex, suffrage and entertainment in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. She appears regularly on TV and radio, and writes for the Guardian, Huffington Post, and Times Higher Education among others, and is a columnist for BBC History Magazine. In May 2017 she completed her PHD on the life of Kitty Marion.

Editor Maddy Price said: ‘I was so excited when I started to read Fern’s telling of Kitty’s story, because it turns all of our assumptions about the suffragettes upside down. Fern’s passion for her subject and flair for vivid historical writing have fuelled my excitement further, and I am thrilled to be publishing her.’

Fern Riddell said: ‘We are still marching for the things Kitty was fighting for – rights over our bodies, not to be sexually assaulted, and for our voices to be heard. This is why Kitty’s story is so important, and why I’m excited to be sharing her experiences with readers.’

A Dangerous Woman by Fern Riddell will be published in hardback, trade paperback and ebook in June 2018.

Happy Publication Day Sarah Fraser

Sarah Fraser's The Prince Who Would Be King is also out today from HarperCollins. Congratulations Sarah!

Henry Stuart’s life is the last great forgotten Jacobean tale. Shadowed by the gravity of the Thirty Years’ War and the huge changes taking place across Europe in seventeenth-century society, economy, politics and empire, his life was visually and verbally gorgeous.

Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales was once the hope of Britain. Eldest son to James VI of Scotland, James I of England, Henry was the epitome of heroic Renaissance princely virtue, his life set against a period about as rich and momentous as any.

Educated to rule, Henry was interested in everything. His court was awash with leading artists, musicians, writers and composers such as Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. He founded a royal art collection of European breadth, amassed a vast collection of priceless books, led grand renovations of royal palaces and mounted operatic, highly politicised masques.

But his ambitions were even greater. He embraced cutting-edge science, funded telescopes and automata, was patron of the NorthWest Passage Company and wanted to sail through the barriers of the known world to explore new continents. He reviewed and modernised Britain’s naval and military capacity and in his advocacy for the colonisation of North America he helped to transform the world.

At his death aged only eighteen, and considering himself to be as much a European as British, he was preparing to stake his claim to be the next leader of Protestant Christendom in the struggle to resist a resurgent militant Catholicism.

In this rich and lively book, Sarah Fraser seeks to restore Henry to his place in history. Set against the bloody traumas of the Thirty Years’ War, the writing of the King James Bible, the Gunpowder Plot and the dark tragedies pouring from Shakespeare’s quill, Henry’s life is the last great forgotten Jacobean tale: the story of a man who, had he lived, might have saved Britain from King Charles I, his spaniels and the Civil War with its appalling loss of life his misrule engendered.

Happy Publication day Meena Kandasamy

We're having a wonderfully busy week here at DGA as we wish Meena Kandasamy a very happy publication day too, as her second novel When I Hit You is released into the world today by Atlantic Books. 

It would take Carol Ann Duffy, Caroline Criado-Perez, Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie to match Kandasamy's infinite variety - Independent

Revelations come to Kandasamy frequently and prophecies linger at her lips. Older by nearly half a century, I acknowledge the superiority of her poetic vision - Kamala Das

Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.

At once the chronicle of an abusive marriage and a celebration of the invincible power of art, When I Hit You is a smart, fierce and courageous take on traditional wedlock in modern India.

Happy Publication Day to Jessica J. Lee

Wishing a very happy publication day to Jessica J. Lee, whose debut work of non-fiction, a beautiful swimming memoir, Turning, is out today from Virago. 

She swims to explore the natural history of fresh water and to examine her own place and identity in the world. Turning is a nature memoir chronicling Jessica J. Lee's year of swimming.

'The water slips over me like cool silk. The intimacy of touch uninhibited, rising around my legs, over my waist, my breasts, up to my collarbone. When I throw back my head and relax, the lake runs into my ears. The sound of it is a muffled roar, the vibration of the body amplified by water, every sound felt as if in slow motion . . .' Summer swimming . . . but Jessica Lee - Canadian, Chinese and British - swims through all four seasons and especially loves the winter. 'I long for the ice. The sharp cut of freezing water on my feet. The immeasurable black of the lake at its coldest. Swimming then means cold, and pain, and elation.'

At the age of twenty-eight, Jessica Lee, who grew up in Canada and lived in London, finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is there, ostensibly, to write a thesis. And though that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.

This is the story of a beautiful obsession: of the thrill of a still, turquoise lake, of cracking the ice before submerging, of floating under blue skies, of tangled weeds and murkiness, of cool, fresh, spring swimming - of facing past fears of near drowning and of breaking free.

When she completes her year of swimming Jessica finds she has new strength, and she has also found friends and has gained some understanding of how the landscape both haunts and holds us.

This book is for everyone who loves swimming, who wishes they could push themselves beyond caution, who understands the deep pleasure of using their body's strength, who knows what it is to allow oneself to abandon all thought and float home to the surface.

She's celebrating the launch tonight at Daunt Books, Hampstead.  Have a brilliant time and happy swimming!

Frank Trentmann Awarded Humboldt Prize for Research

We're delighted to share the news that the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has awarded Frank Trentmann their Humboldt Prize for Research (Humboldt-Forschungspreis). The €60,000 prize is awarded “in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future”. Wonderful news.

Frank Trentmann's Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First is available to buy now, and is published by Penguin's Allen Lane. His next book, The Germans: A Moral History, 1943 - 2020, is set to publish in Autumn of 2020 by Allen Lane in the UK, Knopf in the USA, Fischer Verlag in Germany, De Arbeiderspers in Holland and Corpus in Russia.

 

 

 

Jennifer Killick - ALEX SPARROW AND THE REALLY BIG STINK

Congratulations to Jennifer Killick, whose first book, Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink was launched into the world last night at Waterstones Uxbridge from Firefly Press. It's now available through Waterstones and will be released widely next week. The book has been selected for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017!

Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess - who can communicate with animals - they must find out why their friends, and enemies, are all changing into polite and well behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all. This is a humorous tale full of smells, jokes and superhero references. Oh, and a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where kids' flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day.

Get hold of your copy here.

Shashi Tharoor's INGLORIOUS EMPIRE no.6 on Sunday Times Bestseller List

We're delighted to announce that Shashi Tharoor's Inglorious Empire: What The British Did to India is at number 6 on The Sunday Times Bestseller List this week. Congratulations Shashi!

In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial ‘gift’ – from the railways to the rule of law – was designed in Britain’s interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on India’s deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.

In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain’s stained Indian legacy.

Get hold of a copy here. 

Adaptation of Alan Warner's The Soprano's wins Olivier Award

We are utterly delighted to announce that Vicky Featherstone and Lee Hall's Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, an adaptation of Alan Warner's 1998 novel The Sopranos, has won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy! 

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Scott M. Delman and Tulchin Bartner Productions is a National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre production.

Following seasons at the National Theatre of Great Britain, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a UK Tour, the smash hit, award-winning new musical Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour has been transferred to London’s West End for a strictly-limited season.

From the creator of Billy Elliot (Lee Hall) comes the uplifting and moving story of six Catholic choir girls from Oban, let loose in Edinburgh for one day only. Funny, heartbreaking and raucously rude, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is adapted from Alan Warner’s brilliant novel, and directed by Vicky Featherstone.

Featuring the songs of ELO, Our Ladies is a glorious anthem to friendship, youth and growing up disgracefully.

Prepare thyself for 24 hours of holy chaos. 

Happy Publication Day to M G Leonard!

Wishing an incredibly happy publication day to M G Leonard, whose book, Beetle Queen is released into the world today from Chicken House Books. 

In the second of the Beetle trilogy, cruel beetle fashionista, Lucretia Cutter, is at large with her yellow ladybird spies.

When Darkus, Virginia and Bertolt discover further evidence of her evil, they’re determined to stop her. But the three friends are in trouble. Darkus’ dad has forbidden them to investigate any further – and disgusting crooks Humphrey and Pickering are out of prison. Hope rests on Novak, Lucretia’s daughter and a Hollywood actress, but the beetle diva is always one scuttle ahead …

Beetle Queen is the sequel to the bestselling Beetle Boy, a previous Waterstones' Children's Book of the Month.

Get hold of the book here today! 

Nikki Gemmell appears on The Australian Story

A week ahead of publication, Nikki Gemmell has appeared on The Australia Story, recounting the events of her mother's death. Do catch up online and make sure you put 27th March in your diaries, when After will be available to buy in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia's bravest and most honest writer explores the devastating aftermath of her elderly mother's decision to end her own life.

Nikki Gemmell's world changed forever in October 2015 when the body of her elderly mother was found and it became clear she had decided to end her own life. After the immediate shock and devastation came the guilt and the horror, for Nikki, her family, relatives and friends. No note was left, so the questions that Elayn's death raised were endless. Was the decision an act of independence or the very opposite? Was it a desperate act driven by hopelessness and anger, or was her euthanasia a reasoned act of empowerment?

After is the story of Elayn Gemmell - and the often difficult, prickly relationship between mothers and daughters, and how that changes over time. As anguished as it truthful, as powerful as it is profound, After is about life, death, elderly parents, mothers and daughters, hurt and healing, and about how little, sometimes, we know the ones we love the most.

A deeply intimate, fiercely beautiful, blazingly bold and important book.

Catch up on Nikki's episode of The Australian Story here. 

TV rights for After have been optioned, and French rights sold to Au Diable Vauvert. It is on submission in the UK and US.

Jacob Ross wins Jhalak Prize for Books of the Year by a Writer of Colour

We are thrilled to share that Jacob Ross has won the inaugural Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour for his crime novel The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree).

Ross, a poet, novelist, short story writer and tutor who was born in Grenada but has lived in the UK for over 30 years, won the £1,000 prize for a novel described by the judges as "by turns thrilling, visceral and meditative, and always cinematic". The Bone Readers is the first in the Camaho Quartet and set on the small Caribbean island of Camaho.

Founded by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla in conjunction with Media Diversified, the award exists to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour.

The judging panel, consisting of Singh, YA author Catherine Johnson, author and poet Alex Wheatle MBE, poet and broadcaster Musa Okwonga and Man Booker prize-longlisted fiction writer Yvvette Edwards, chose Ross’ book in a "close contest and after much heated discussion".

Singh said: “The final decision was very difficult and very close. The entire shortlist is so extraordinary that any and all of them are deserving winners. For me Jacob Ross's The Bone Readers stood out not only as an exemplar of the genre but for rising well above it. The book engages - and with a masterly, feather light touch - with history as well as contemporary politics of the Caribbean. Complex issues of memory, identity and, individual and collective sense of self, are stunningly woven into this beautifully written novel. As the first of the Camaho Quartet, it hints at the expanse and scale of the forthcoming books. But it also stands alone as a breath-taking, thoughtprovoking, and yes brilliant read. I know this is a book I shall go back to again and again.”

Johnson added: “Ross's novel is one that effortlessly draws together the past and the present, gender, politics and the legacy of colonialism in a top quality Caribbean set crime thriller. The Bone Readers is a wonderful read and a massively worthy winner."

Ross' novel beat off competition from The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House), A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker), Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda), Black And British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (Macmillan), and Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge (Faber).

The winner was announced at a special event at The Authors’ Club on Friday (17th March 2017).

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi withdrew from the longlist in January saying she wanted her writing to be "inclusive" to all her readers.