We’re so excited to share that the debut novel from Ashley Hickson-Lovence, The 392 has been acquired by Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT!, in a deal negotiated with Philippa Sitters here at DGA.
Set entirely on a London bus travelling from Hoxton to Highbury and taking place over just 36 minutes, the events of The 392 unfold through a cast of charismatic characters coming from very different worlds, but tied together through a shared suspicion as the threat of terrorism looms. On the 392 are all the familiar faces you might expect to see on any bus ride through inner-city London in the grips of gentrification: delinquent schoolkids, the high-flyers, the weird, the wonderful and the homeless. The 392 is primarily about uncovering the passengers’ hidden stories; agendas and ambitions. Switching between the different perspectives - told using first person – powerfully places the reader in the shoes of each character as they observe and make their way to work, school or court. The 392 is a journey through gentrified London and the experiences and feelings that gentrification creates along the way, but ultimately, it’s the story of people, places and perceptions. The roads are real; the locations mentioned are actual local landmarks and the position of bus stops are based on the real route giving the world of the fictional The 392 a brilliantly authentic feel.
27-year-old Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a former secondary school English teacher who grew up on a Hackney council estate and now lives in Norwich while he completes a Creative and Critical Writing PhD at the University of East Anglia. Hickson is also a poet, football referee and a keen marathon runner.
Philippa Sitters at DGA says, “Writing like Ashley’s doesn’t come around very often; an arresting, contemporary voice that shows no end of versatility. The range and empathy he shows writing as such an eclectic crowd of passengers is remarkable. OWN IT! are the perfect match for this innovative novel.”
Crystal Mahey-Morgan says, ‘Ashley is a rare and exciting voice with a dept skill for observation, a natural flair with words and the ability to create authentic worlds and characters. As well as an exciting new literary fiction author, Ashley offers an important contribution to the literary landscape and is the kind of unique talent that will delight readers, and that the industry is so keen to find. We’re hugely excited that Ashley joins our growing list of debut British authors and to be publishing The 392’.
OWN IT! will publish The 392 in April 2019