Happy Publication Day to Rachel Ward

A very happy publication day goes to Rachel Ward, whose first work of adult fiction, The Cost of Living is released today from Sandstone Press


When a young woman is attacked walking home from her local supermarket, Bea Jordan, a smart but unfulfilled checkout girl, is determined to investigate. Colleagues and customers become suspects, secrets are uncovered. While fear stalks the town, Bea finds an unlikely ally in Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee, but risks losing the people she loves most as death comes close to home. The Cost of Living is a warm, contemporary story with likeable leads, an engaging cast of supporting characters and a dark thread running throughout.

Rachel Ward is a best-selling writer for young adults. Her first book, Numbers, was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. An avid reader of detective fiction, The Cost of Living is her first book for adults. Rachel lives in Bath with her husband, and has two grown-up children.

‘Unlikely friendships and quirky wit make this the most warm-hearted of crime debuts.’
-Lucy Diamond

‘Utterly fab, fresh and real.’
-Fleur Hitchcock

‘A breath of fresh air, Ant and Bea are fabulous creations.’
-Sophia Bennett

Claire Tomalin's 'A Life of My Own' receives rave reviews

Claire Tomalin's personal memoir, A Life of My Own, has brought in some fantastic reviews since its release last week.

A Life of My Own cover.jpg

The Guardian's Anthony Quinn said ‘You will find it hard not to be amazed,' and that it's 'impossible not to be moved by the indomitable spirit which drives this memoir…She comes across like the heroine of a great novel…a hugely entertaining book’. Whilst the Times exclaims that Tomalin '...should be a heroine to modern snowflakes who melt at the first hurdle. Tomalin is like a glacier: unstoppable, inexorable, gathering resolve as she goes… The book is poised and beautifully paced.’

Kate Kellaway of the Observer said the memoir was ‘absorbing, moving and marvellously written.’ While the Sunday Times described the book as ‘... peppered with fascinating pen portraits and anecdotes… she has tried, as Pepys did in his life, to give the ‘texture’ of a life. This she has achieved quite brilliantly.’

The Evening Standard said that ‘It is not Tomalin’s professional life that impresses most in this memoir but her survival through personal tragedy, or rather, her remarkable ability to articulate its bleakness… She speaks from the heart but retains a sort of privacy, and is all the more powerful for it.’ 

Make sure you get a copy to call your own here.


M G Leonard's BEETLE BOY Featured in Tom Fletcher's W H Smith Book Club


We're thrilled to share that M G Leonard's Beetle Boy has been selected for Tom Fletcher's newly launched children's book club. 

The McFly member turned children's author has launched a children's book club exclusively with WH Smith. The book club titles will get promotion in-store, online and on Fletcher's YouTube channel, which has over 625,000 subscribers.

The new club follows that WH Smith already runs with YouTuber Zoella.

The 10 selected titles, chosen for Fletcher's first book club, target 7-11 year olds of varying reading abilities - ranging, according to Fletcher, from the "brilliantly bonkers to heart-warmingly wonderful" - offering something for every child to read.

Each of the 10 titles will feature exclusive Tom Fletcher book club stickers when purchased from WH Smith and be displayed in unique promotional bays. 

The book club launches across WH Smith High Street stores today. A launch video published on Fletcher’s YouTube channel introducing the books and featuring a song written by Fletcher.

Fletcher, Penguin Random House children's author behind The Christmasaurus and The Creakers, commented it could be tricky for children to find the right book and he hoped the recommendations would inspire children, whatever their current engagement with reading.

“I am immensely excited to announce my book club with WH Smith," he said. "There are so many incredible children’s books out there but every child is different and finding the right book is tricky! Get the wrong one and it can turn someone off reading for life and they might end up joining a band or something horrendous like that! So here are ten books that I think are pretty awesome. They range from brilliantly bonkers to heart-warmingly wonderful and I hope there’s a book in this selection that will inspire children whether they are new to reading or fully-fledged bookworms. Happy reading!”

Fletcher will continue to upload weekly review videos for each title to his YouTube channel, while fresh unseen content from the books, short stories, exclusive blog posts and videos from the books' authors will populate the WHSmith Blog.

Frankie Adams, WH Smith books business unit director, added: “We are delighted to launch the new Tom Fletcher Book Club across our stores. By combining the brilliant Tom Fletcher with some of the most fantastic, leading children’s authors we’re confident we will get more kids reading and enjoying books.”

A Life of My Own, a memoir by Claire Tomalin, out today

Claire Tomalin's personal memoir, A Life of My Own is published today by Viking Books (Penguin Random House). A very happy publication day to Claire! 

A Life of My Own cover.png

As one of the best biographers of her generation, Claire Tomalin has written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life.

This enthralling memoir follows her through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin. When he was killed on assignment as a war correspondent she was left to bring up their four children - and at the same time make her own career.

She writes of the intense joys of a fascinating progression as she became one of the most successful literary editors in London before discovering her true vocation as a biographer, alongside overwhelming grief at the loss of a child.

Writing with the élan and insight which characterize her biographies, Claire Tomalin sets her own life in a wider cultural and political context, vividly and frankly portraying the social pressures on a woman in the Fifties and Sixties, and showing 'how it was for a European girl growing up in mid-twentieth-century England ... carried along by conflicting desires to have children and a worthwhile working life.'

Buy a copy here.

Happy Publication Day Sarah Ward


A very happy publication day to Sarah Ward whose third DC Childs crime novel, A Patient Fury, is out today from Faber & Faber.

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.

Sarah Ward is an online book reviewer whose blog, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She has also reviewed for Eurocrime and Crimesquad and is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. She lives in Derbyshire

Do not miss out - get hold of a copy here and keep up to date with all of Sarah's news by following her on Twitter - @sarahrward1

Don't miss Richard Holmes - Radio 4 Pick of the Week

Copyright © 2017 BBC

Copyright © 2017 BBC

Don't miss BBC Radio 4's Pick of the Week, which sees biographer Richard Holmes exploring unconsummated love, passion, poetry and talented lives cut short as he discovers how John Keats' life and poetry continues to resonate in literature, music, film and science -nearly 200 years after his death at the age of 25.

Keats doubted his own immortality as a poet. He even suggested his own epitaph, "here lies one whose name was writ in water'"

"'If I should die, I have left no immortal work behind me - nothing to make my friends proud of my memory - but I have lov'd the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remember'd."

But as Keats' actual life fades away from us through time, the "plaintive anthem" of his whole story - his youth, his love, his letters, his poetry - the echo of his famous nightingale, only deepens and spreads.

Richard talks to director Jane Campion about how she fell in love with Keats by reading his searingly painful and passionate letters to Fanny Brawne, which led to her making the film Bright Star. And he talks to geneticist Steve Jones, a lifelong fan of Keats, about the complexity of the scientific response to Keats' work.

He visits Keats House, the setting for Keats and Fanny's love affair, and a place of pilgrimage for fans today. He also goes to Guys Hospital, where Keats trained as an apothecary, to talk to medical students inspired by his legacy.

And Olivier Award-winning actor Luke Treadaway reads Keats' wonderful meditation on nature and immortality, Ode to a Nightingale.

Amitava Kumar is released in India to brilliant reviews

Aleph Books has published Amitava Kumar's novel, The Lovers, in India and some fantastic reviews have come in. The book will be released by Faber in the UK and Knopf in the US next year under a different title, Immigrant, Montana.

The book is "a story of modern love set in the murky terrain of desire and cultural mishaps, braiding together the pleasures of fiction and non-fiction" says Scroll.in, "His writing is a sharp blend of fiction, non-fiction, myth-making and history, telling a story that perhaps only Kumar can. [...] the different sections open up slowly, yet enticingly, like a curtain being drawn back to reveal a mirror gradually, but only for us to see that the mirror was stained all along." Read the full review, here

Get hold of a copy here, today.



Robert Winder's 'The Last Wolf' is making waves

"Well-crafted, reflective and quite personal, The Last Wolf is [...] original and deeply researched." says The Observer's Robert McCrum. Whereas Dominic Sandbrook of the Sunday Times describes the book as "spirited, provocative, wise, hugely entertaining."

Robert Winder's The Last Wolf: Hidden Springs of Englishness is attracting wonderful reviews. Prospect says of the author, "Winder, who in 2004 wrote a compelling book about immigration called Bloody Foreigners, expertly navigates his subject without mentioning Brexit. Yet it has a pertinent lesson for some of the more excitable Brexiteers-we have never been an island nation." 

What sort of a place is England? And who are the English? As the United Kingdom turns away from its European neighbours, and begins to look increasingly disunited at home, it is becoming necessary to ask what England has that is singular and its own.

It is often assumed that the national identity must be a matter of values and ideas. But in Robert Winder's brilliantly-written account it is a land built on a lucky set of natural ingredients: the island setting that made it maritime; the rain that fed the grass that nourished the sheep that provided the wool, and the wheat fields that provided its cakes and ale. Then came the seams of iron and coal that made it an industrial giant.

In Bloody Foreigners Robert Winder told the rich story of immigration to Britain. Now, in The Last Wolf, he spins an English tale. Travelling the country, he looks for its hidden springs not in royal pageantry or politics, but in landscape and history.

Medieval monks with their flocks of sheep . . . cathedrals built by wool . . . the first shipment of coal to leave Newcastle . . . marital contests on a village green . . . mock-Tudor supermarkets - the story is studded with these and other English things.

And it starts by looking at a very important thing England did not have: wolves.

The Last Wolf is soaring up the bestseller charts for good reason. Get hold of a copy here today.

Preti Taneja's 'We That Are Young' published this week to rave reviews

Congratulations go to Preti Taneja, whose debut novel, We That Are Young is out this Thursday 10th August from Galley Beggar Press. 

The book has already been bringing in fantastic reviews. Writing in The Sunday Times, Alexander Nurnberg said of the novel, "Taneja’s prose, whose free indirect style alights in turn on each character, ingeniously betrays their self-possession and shame, and her immersive present tense takes a story we know and makes it urgent and irresistible. This is a new voice, vivid, full of imagery and pace, and with a richness to match the vibrancy of its world."

JIVAN SINGH, the bastard scion of the Devraj family, returns to his childhood home after a long absence – only to witness the unexpected resignation of the ageing patriarch from the vast corporation he founded, the Devraj Company. On the same day, Sita, Devraj’s youngest daughter, absconds – refusing to submit to the marriage her father wants for her. Meanwhile, Radha and Gargi, Sita’s older sisters, are handed the Company… And so begins a brutal, deathly struggle for power, ranging over the luxury hotels and spas of New Delhi and Amritsar, the Palaces and slums of Napurthala, to Srinagar, Kashmir. 

Told in astonishing prose – a great torrent of words and imagery – We That Are Young is a modern-day King Lear that bursts with energy and fierce, beautifully measured rage. Set against the backdrop of the anti-corruption riots in 2011–2012, it provides startling insights into modern India, the clash of youth and age, the hectic pace of life in one of the world’s fastest growing economies – and the ever-present spectre of death. More than that, this is a novel about the human heart. And its breaking point.

Preti was born in the UK to Indian parents and spent most of her childhood holidays in New Delhi. She has worked as a human rights reporter and filmmaker on Iraq, in Jordan, Rwanda, and Kosovo, and her work has been published in the Guardian and Open Democracy. A fellow at Warwick University, in 2014 Preti’s novella Kumkum Malhotra won the Gatehouse Press New Fictions Prize. She is also the editor of Visual Verse and was selected as an AHRC/ BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker for 2014.

Brilliant reviews for Omar Robert Hamilton's 'The City Always Wins'

Omar Robert Hamilton's debut, The City Always Wins, was published by Faber & Faber last week and has already inspired some fantastic reviews. 

'What do you do when the world stops moving forward?’ That despairing question lies at the heart of this remarkable debut novel, set in Cairo during the doomed Egyptian revolution of 2011. For young, idealistic lovers Khali and Mariam, the overthrow of President Mubarak seems to usher in a new era in the history of their country, with Cairo reinventing itself as the New York of the Middle East. Alas, revolution is followed swiftly by bitter disillusionment – a rollercoaster emotional journey that Robert Hamilton, drawing on first-hand experience, captures with thrilling immediacy.' Mail on Sunday

'Takes you to the heart of the action as the activists attempt to dodge bullets while throwing stones at the authorities. Hamilton, founder of the Mosireen Collective in Cairo, a non-profit media collective charting events during and after the Arab Spring, shows the impact of new media on the movement.' Daily Record

'There is no shirking the grim realities in this profoundly moving work, which opens in a morgue and is ultimately an elegy, not just for the loss of revolutionary hopes, but also youth and young love.' Belfast Telegraph

'Rarely does a debut novel arrive as fully realised and confidently written as Omar Robert Hamilton's The City Always Wins, the tale of an activist couple caught up in, and captivated by, the Arab Spring. After reading a few pages I had to double check it really was Hamilton's first novel, so sure-footed and pitch-perfect was his description of the enchanting and chaotic 'jazz' of Cairo ("all contrapuntal influences jostling for attention, occasionally brilliant solos standing high above the steady rhythm of the street"). Equally evocative are his close-ups of the blurred panicky horror of army attacks on street protesters, and the raging grief which weaves through the piles of dead bodies filling hospital corridors in the aftermath.

Hamilton shares with the likes of Colum McCann and Jay Mclnerney a gift for providing for his drama a landscape which sizzles with life and heat and energy...

Those readers interested in an authentic street-level view of the seismic events of the 2011 Egyptian revolution will not be disappointed; this communique offers embedded access, as stark, violent and coruscating as any of Lara Logan's dispatches. But like all good stories set to real-life backdrops, The City Always Wins is so much more than fictionalised reportage. Through an immersive stream of consciousness - its appropriately frenzied, breathless rush punctuated by tweets and newspaper headlines - Hamilton gives us the novelistic version of a personal smartphone video missive, sent out to the world in a cry for help and understanding. There is real emotional payback too; through the story of Egyptian revolutionary Mariam and impassioned Palestinian protester Khalil, we track the Arab Spring's initial leap of zeal and hope as it slows down and staggers towards heartbreak. This novel is more than a well-executed modern history lesson. It is a chronicle of injustice, betrayal and sadness. And it's much more satisfying for it.' Big Issue

The book is available no in hardback and audio book via Audible.

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

We're thrilled to see Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, making waves now that it's been released into the world. The book is published by Chicken House books and is the third novel the duo have written together after Lobsters (2014) and Never Evers (2016). 


Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

A warm, hilarious and perfectly observed coming-of-age comedy about the first year of uni from the authors of the YA Book Prize-shortlisted Lobsters; a must-read for new freshers!

Praise for Freshers 

Hilarious . . . Totally nails the chaotic giddiness of being a student. ~ Holly Bourne

Hilarious, heartfelt and honest - FRESHERS makes the university experience universal. ~ Non Pratt

Congrats Tom and Lucy! Make sure you grab a copy here.

Happy Publication Day Omar Robert Hamilton

A very happy publication day to Omar Robert Hamilton, whose debut novel is released into the world today from Faber & Faber

The City Always Wins has already brought in blisteringly good reviews, such as Robin Yassin-Kassab's Guardian review today. The book is described as "... a tale of defeat and dashed dreams and of hope’s persistence told in a poetic prose. The style is at once pared down and highly expressive. The tension between exuberance and restraint fits the subject matter and defines Hamilton’s method." He calls it an "astounding debut novel". Read the full review here.

We've been doing the same thing for hundreds of years. Marching, fighting, chanting, dying, changing, winning, losing . This time will be different. This time the future can still be made new.

This is a revolution. On the streets of Cairo, a violent uprising is transforming the course of modern history. Mariam and Khalil, two young activists, are swept up in the political fervour. Their lives will never be the same again.

Brave, visceral, and electric with tension, Omar Robert Hamilton's debut novel uniquely captures the feverish intensity of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. From the euphoria of mass protests to the chilling silence of the morgue, The City Always Wins is the only novel that allows readers to pierce to the bloody heart of the uprising. Intensely lyrical, yet uncompromisingly political, Omar Robert Hamilton's writing is set to become the defining voice of a revolution that promised so much to so many.

Praise for The City Always Wins

'Omar Robert Hamilton brings vividly to life the failed revolution of 2011 on the streets of Cairo, in all its youthful bravery and naive utopianism.' - JM Coetzee

'The City Always Wins is a stirring, clear, humane and immensely savvy novel about political innocence and fearlessness. Its fictive portrayals of the Egyptian 'revolution' of 2011 are nothing less than ground-breaking.' - Richard Ford

'I finished this novel with fascination and admiration. It gives a picture of the inside of a popular movement that we all saw from the outside, in countless news broadcasts and foreign-correspondent reports, a picture so vivid and powerful that it gives a passionate life and reality to what might have been perceived only as abstract principles. A thousand vivid details print themselves on the reader's memory: it will be a long time before we read anything so skilfully brought to life.' - Philip Pullman

'Few writers could capture the frenetic speed of an Internet-fuelled uprising alongside the time-stopping corporeal reality of bullet-ridden bodies, all while never losing sight of the love that powered Egypt's revolutionary moment. Omar Robert Hamilton can do all that and more. Crossing borders and generations, he brings us into the movement's effervescent hope and its crushing heartbreak, probing timeless questions about what the living owe to the dead. UnbearableUnmissable. A dazzling debut.' - Naomi Klein

'From the chaos and torment of a revolution, and the perpetual struggle with despotism, Omar Robert Hamilton has drawn a novel of great emotional and intellectual power. The City Always Wins is a rare fiction that reminds us, with its wisdom about violence and inequality, grief and loss, how politics is for many today a way to live - and die.' - Pankaj Mishra

'The hope, the excitement, the arrogance, the disillusionment, the renewal of hope - this novel is fast, thought-provoking, and hugely entertaining.' - Roddy Doyle

M G Leonard's The Beetle Collector's Handbook to be published by Scholastic

We're really pleased to share that Scholastic will publish an “innovative and genre-busting” companion volume to M G Leonard’s acclaimed Beetle Boy as an “in-world, non-fiction introduction to the wonderful world of beetles”.

The Beetle Collector’s Handbook will follow up Leonard’s award-winning debut which was published by Chicken House in March 2016, as a “covetable, full-colour hardback companion” with a description of every beetle in the original.

Miriam Farbey, UK publisher and global non-fiction publisher at Scholastic, made the deal for world with Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA. It will be published in summer 2018.

In the middle-grade Beetle Boy series, Darkus Cuttle and his friends learn everything they needed to know about beetles from a book, The Beetle Collector’s Handbook, passed down from Darkus’s father. The title is described in the original book as “an old red book with a gold stag beetle embossed on the cover”.

Leonard revealed she had researched insects extensively for a decade whilst writing Beetle Boy, for which editors Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon won the Branford Boase Award last month along with Leonard.

The Brighton-based author, who is also freelance digital media producer, said: “I am over the moon to be able to use the entomological research and learning I’ve acquired during the writing of my beetle trilogy, to create a non-fiction book for beetle lovers everywhere, reminiscent of the nature books published in the early twentieth century.”

She described Scholastic as the “perfect publisher” to frame her fictional narrative with fact.

She said: “Scholastic immediately understood my vision, my desire that the wonderful facts be framed by a fictional narrative that relates to the Beetle Boy stories, and I know they’re the perfect publisher to produce the beautiful book readers and beetles deserve.”

McLachlan praised Scholastic’s ability to conjure a ‘world within a world’. She said: “I couldn’t be happier that Miriam and her team are publishing Maya’s [Leonard's] first non-fiction book. The combination of great passion and professionalism meant Scholastic was the obvious choice for Maya’s ‘world within a world’.”

Farbey predicted tens of thousands of fans would clamour to read the volume. She said: “In a truly innovative and genre-busting idea, M. G. Leonard has created the in-world nonfiction book from her brilliant and bestselling Beetle Boy series, with margin notes scribbled by Darkus Cuttle himself. This will have huge appeal for tens of thousands of M G Leonard's existing fans, and for young nature lovers everywhere.”

Leonard’s fictional follow-ups to Beetle BoyBeetle Queen, was published in April 2017 and Battle of the Beetles follows in January 2018, both published by Chicken House.   

Arundhati Roy longlisted for Man Booker Prize 2017

It's with a huge amount of excitement that we can announce that Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has a place on the Man Booker Prize longlist! 

This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges: Baroness Lola Young (Chair); literary critic, Lila Azam Zanganeh; Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist, Sarah Hall; artist, Tom Phillips CBE RA; and travel writer, Colin Thubron CBE. The list was chosen from 144 submissions published in the UK between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK. A shortlist of six books will be announced on 13th September and the winner on 17th October at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall broadcast by the BBC.

So well deserved, and from all here at DGA, congratulations Arundhati!

Lara Pawson shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2017

We're so happy to share that Lara Pawson's This is the Place to Be has been shortlisted for the Gordon Burns Prize 2017. The book, published by CB Editions is a "fearless memoir [...] told in fragmentary sections that explore [Lara's] experiences working as a war reporter in Angola and the Ivory Coast, her upbringing in England and intimate aspects of her personal life. The book’s structure creates a collage of memory, juxtaposing questions about the nature of war reporting alongside thoughts about daily life and the nature of close relationships. This is the Place to Be is characterised by Pawson’s unshrinking honesty as she approach the themes of identity, race and class across different continents."

The Gordon Burn Prize is a partnership between the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Durham Book Festival and Faber & Faber. The winning writer receives a cheque for £5,000 and is offered the opportunity to undertake a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

The shortlist will be announced in July and the prize itself will be awarded at the Durham Book Festival on Thursday 12th October. Get hold of a copy of the book here.

Congratulations Lara!


The Sunday Times printed a spectacular review of Robert Winder's The Last Wolf: The Hidden Springs of Englishness in yesterday's paper. Calling the book a "spirited, provocative and thoroughly entertaining investigation of Englishness", Dominic Sandbrook tells us that "In his final pages, he produces as convincing a description of Englishness as any I have read. Forget all the stuff about “values”, he says. Englishness is an “approach”, a “knack” of “negotiating a path between extremes”: land and sea, city and countryside, earnest and frivolous, new and old. To be English is to flirt with excess, but always to return to the “sensible middle ground”."

Read the full review, here.

Published on 3rd August, The Last Wolf asks, what sort of a place is England? And who are the English? As the United Kingdom turns away from its European neighbours, and begins to look increasingly disunited at home, it is becoming necessary to ask what England has that is singular and its own.

It is often assumed that the national identity must be a matter of values and ideas. But in Robert Winder's brilliantly-written account it is a land built on a lucky set of natural ingredients: the island setting that made it maritime; the rain that fed the grass that nourished the sheep that provided the wool, and the wheat fields that provided its cakes and ale. Then came the seams of iron and coal that made it an industrial giant.

In Bloody Foreigners Robert Winder told the rich story of immigration to Britain. Now, in The Last Wolf, he spins an English tale. Travelling the country, he looks for its hidden springs not in royal pageantry or politics, but in landscape and history.

Medieval monks with their flocks of sheep . . . cathedrals built by wool . . . the first shipment of coal to leave Newcastle . . . marital contests on a village green . . . mock-Tudor supermarkets - the story is studded with these and other English things.

And it starts by looking at a very important thing England did not have: wolves.

Robert Winder was literary editor of the INDEPENDENT for 5 years. He has written two novels.

Pre-order the book here.

Scribner to publish Nancy Campbell's 'THE LIBRARY OF ICE'

We're very pleased to share that Simon & Schuster imprint, Scribner is set to publish Nancy Campbell's debut non-fiction title, The Library of Ice.

Scribner's Rowan Cope said that the book “demonstrate[s] the vibrancy of British narrative non-fiction at the moment”. 

Nancy Campbell

Nancy Campbell

The Library of Ice combines memoir with scientific and cultural history. The poet and writer spans the northern reaches of Greenland and the British Museum via the ice houses of Calcutta and the ice hockey rinks of the Middle East as well as offering insights into Arctic communities and European archives of ice.

A spokesperson said: “The Library of Ice evokes the interplay of people and their environment on a fragile planet, and a writer’s quest to define the value of her work in a disappearing landscape.”

Cope acquired world English language rights from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA, and it is due to be published in hardback in late 2018.

Cope said: “All of us here are delighted to welcome Nancy Campbell [...] to Scribner." "Nancy demonstrate[s] the vibrancy of British narrative non-fiction writing at the moment.

"[She also shows the] power of the personal narrative to illuminate issues – such as [...] the environmental crises we face – that can have deep resonance and urgency for us all."

Congratulations Nancy!

M G Leonard wins the Branford Boase Award!

We're delighted to share that M G Leonard and her editors, Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon of Chicken House have won the 2017 Branford Boase Award for Beetle Boy! The award is given annually to the author and editor of the outstanding debut novel for children.

On a shortlist that reflects the current boom in original, inventive, well-written books for children aged 8 – 12, M G Leonard’s thrilling adventure of a boy and his beetle, and the array of wonderfully villainous adults lined up against them, stood out for its humour, characters and plotting and because of Leonard’s special understanding of her young audience.

Beetle Boy fuses science and sleuthing. When Darkus’s dad goes missing a giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue, but can the two solve the mystery of his dad's disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery?

The book is already an international bestseller with rights sold in more than 30 different countries and has thousands of young fans in the UK who love this rollicking adventure.

On winning the award Leonard said: 

‘My heart is brimming over with joy and delight that Beetle Boy has won the Branford Boase Award. I would never have dreamed such a prestigious award was within my reach, because my literary beginnings were extremely humble. I wrestled unsuccessfully with the English language at school and didn't get to university until my late twenties, doing my first degree with the Open University. My route into higher education, writing and storytelling was provoked and inspired by my love of the theatre.

The language of entomology was new to me when I began writing Beetle Boy, and the vocabulary alien. I worked for the best part of a decade, researching coleoptera, writing and rewriting the story to introduce the reader to this new language without alienating them. I love my subject, I love my characters and I'm over the moon that the award will help put the book into the hands of more children. I hope the story will inspire children to go outside, turn over a stone, or look amongst the flowers and marvel at the wonder of the insect world.

I am particularly happy that this award is shared with my editors Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon. Everyone who writes a book knows it is a team effort. My editors have taught me a great deal, and helped me to develop confidence in my writing. I am excited about our partnership and what stories we might bring into the world together in the future.’

Last year’s winner, Horatio Clare, a judge for the 2017 award said: ‘Beetle Boy is a wonderfully funny, energetic and involving story. It combines classic story-telling with a tremendous sense of fun and excitement. I expect children will be reading it with huge pleasure and interest for many years to come.’ He added, ‘This win is good news for books and beetles!’

Chair of the judges, children’s literature expert Julia Eccleshare said, ‘The UK children’s book market is booming, and our shortlist reflected all the new vigour and excitement in the market. M.G. Leonard is a classic storyteller, in the tradition of Roald Dahl or Dodie Smith, but an original voice. We predict that once again the Branford Boase Award judges have recognized an author who will be thrilling young readers for decades to come.’

The Branford Boase Award is the only award to recognise the role of the editor in nurturing new talent.

Winning editors Rachel Leyshon and Barry Cunningham said: ‘We were so lucky to find in Maya one of the best debut authors we’d ever come across – one who knew the story she wanted to write, and who was then so willing and able to beetle away on it, editorially speaking. We are thrilled that she has received this hugely important recognition of her talent and originality, and feel sure that this marks not just a celebration of one book, but also the launch of a famous career.’

The 2017 winners of the Award were announced on Wednesday 5 July at a ceremony at Walker Books in London. Frances Hardinge, who won the Branford Boase in 2006 and went on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award, presented M.G. Leonard with a cheque for £1,000 and both Maya and Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon received a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

Happy Publication day Clementine Beauvais

A very happy publication day to Clementine Beauvais whose children's book, Piglettes, is released today from Pushkin Press

The summer three girls found love, friendship and sausages...

Awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze trotters after a vote by their classmates on Facebook, Mireille, Astrid and Hakima are officially the three ugliest girls in their school, but does that mean they’re going to sit around crying about it?

Well… yes, a bit, but not for long! Climbing aboard their bikes, the trio set off on a summer roadtrip to Paris, their goal: a garden party with the French president. As news of their trip spreads they become stars of social media and television. With the eyes of the nation upon them the girls find fame, friendship and happiness, and still have time to consume an enormous amount of food along the way.

Clémentine Beauvais (born 1989) is a French children's author living in the UK. She started reading children's books early, and somehow never stopped. Now she writes her own, in both French and English, for a variety of ages, and is a lecturer in English and Education at the University of York. Piglettes won four prizes in France, including the biggest children's book prize, the Prix Sorcières. Film and stage versions are also in production. Now Clémentine has translated her book into English!

Make sure you grab a copy, here, today.

Firefly Press acquire two titles from Jennifer Killick

Wales-based children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press has acquired world rights to two new middle-grade stories by Golden Egg Academy alumna Jennifer Killick, from Kirsty McLachan at DGA following the launch of her May 2017 debut Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink which was a selected title for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017. The second in the series, Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury will publish in spring 2018 and a third title, Mo, Lottie and the Junkers, in 2019.

Firefly publisher Penny Thomas said she was "delighted" to have acquired Jennifer's books, "Jennifer has a real comic talent and Alex Sparrow is proving hugely popular with readers..."

Firefly Press has also launched a writing and drawing competition with new children's magazine, Scoop for children aged 7-12 to create an animal character who will appear in Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury. The winner will see their animal character written into the book, an advance signed copy, their name in the acknowledgements in the book and a school visit from the author. The deadline for entries is 29 September 2017. For further details visit www.fireflypress.co.uk.

Jennifer has always wanted to be a writer, but really got started when she applied for a Creative Writing MA at Brunel University, which is where she first got the idea for Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. 

Firefly Press is an independent children’s and YA publisher based in Cardiff and Aberystwyth. Set up in 2013, Firefly is one of the only dedicated children’s publishers in Wales and publishes quality fiction for 5-19 years olds. Firefly Press was shortlisted for IPG Best Newcomer Independent Publisher Awards 2017.