Samantha Shannon's epic fantasy attracts foreign sales

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We are thrilled to share that translation rights in The Priory of the Orange Tree, the most anticipated high fantasy title for 2019, by the internationally bestselling author Samantha Shannon, have sold to SQN in Poland, Host in the Czech Republic and after two strong pre-empts, will also be published by Penhaligon in Germany and Roca in Spain. The book continues to attract a great deal of foreign interest.

Bloomsbury will publish 26th February 2019, it will be their super-lead title. The Priory of the Orange Tree reveals an epic world on the brink of war with dragons, and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

Samantha Shannon is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of THE BONE SEASON SERIES and one of the most exciting writers of her generation. THE BONE SEASON SERIES has sold over 500.000 copies globally and has been translated into 26 languages. Film and TV rights for THE BONE SEASON SERIES have been acquired by Imaginarium Studios. This is her first novel outside the series.

You can watch the book trailer HERE.  

A world divided.

A queendom without an heir.

An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction - but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Omar Robert Hamilton wins Betty Trask Prize

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We are thrilled to share that Omar Robert Hamilton has won the Betty Trask Prize for a first novel by a writer under 35 for his book, The City Always Wins, which was published by Faber & Faber last summer.

Hosted by Stephen Fry and with an introduction by the president of the Society of Authors, Philip Pullman, eight awards were presented to 31 writers. Among the winners were host of debut names along with recognised writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to share a prize fund of £98,000.

The ceremony, which took place on Thursday (19th July) at the Royal Institute of British Architects, saw over 400 guests from across the publishing industry come together as the winners of the Betty Trask, McKitterick, Tom-Gallon Trust and Somerset Maugham awards were revealed in addition to the Cholmondeley Awards for outstanding contribution to poetry, the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, five Travelling Scholarships and the Eric Gregory Award for a collection of poems by poets under 30.

Omar was awarded £10,000 for "a furious, frenetic novel that captures a pivotal moment in history. It conjures the whispers and screams, from the Cairo streets and the homes of a city unravelling, as its residents battle through their grief", according to the judges.

Congratulations, Omar! Don't forget to pick up a copy of his incredible book here, today.

Happy Publication Day Rebecca Ley

Wishing a very happy publication day to Rebecca Ley, whose gorgeous debut novel, Sweet Fruit, Sour Land is out in the world today from Sandstone Press!

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When a wealthy client visits Mathilde’s dressmaking shop, she finds herself drawn into the only surviving circle of luxury left in a barren London. Attending parties offers a welcome escape from life governed by ration cards and a strictly enforced child policy. Here she meets enigmatic government minister, George, and piano-playing Jaminder, with whom an intense friendship blossoms. As their relationship grows stronger, George’s grip on Mathilde tightens, as she tries to discover where the illicit food is coming from, where women disappear to, and what price she must pay to avoid bringing a child into a cruel, ever-changing world.

Pick up a copy of the book here.

Many congratulations, Rebecca!

Lisette Verhagen Returns to DGA

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We are delighted to announce that Lisette Verhagen will be returning to DGA from Susanna Lea Associates having accepted the post of Head of Foreign Rights (including the US) and Agent with the brief to develop her own list of clients and to work alongside David Godwin in the handling of his clients.

She will continue to handle translation and US rights for Galley Beggar Press. During her time at SLA, Lisette managed all of DGA’s foreign rights and sold Arundhati Roy’s latest novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness in 47 territories. 

DGA will continue to work alongside SLA on selected titles in the US. Lisette will start on 2nd August and can be contacted at lisette@davidgodwinassociates.co.uk. Welcome back, Lisette!

Macmillan Children's wins six-way auction for series by Leonard and Sedgman

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We're very happy to share the news that Macmillan Children’s Books has won a six-way auction for a series by M G Leonard, author of the Beetle Boy trilogy (Chicken House), and digital producer Sam Sedgman.

The series, provisionally entitled Adventures on Trains, will follow the journeys of eleven-year-old Harrison Beck and his uncle Nathaniel Bradshaw, a travel writer. The pair go on a different adventure in each book and become embroiled in a story about a jewel thief in the first title, The Highland Falcon.

Venetia Gosling, publisher of Macmillan’s Children’s Books’ 6+ list, acquired world rights to four titles from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA. The books will be edited by Lucy Pearse and published in March and September in 2020 and 2021.

Macmillan will also publish the series in Australia, South Africa, India and the US.

“This is such a clever and commercial idea and I can't think of two more perfect people to write and promote it,” said Gosling. “We are so excited to work with Maya and Sam to build this into the leading fiction series it totally deserves to be.”

Leonard and Sedgman met whilst working at the National Theatre and have worked on various digital projects for the cultural sector.

“My oldest son loved Thomas the Tank Engine – and all trains – when he was little. His vocabulary was rich with railway terms, but when he was ready to read by himself I couldn’t find stories that would utilise this passion for trains to begin a love of reading,” said Leonard. “I wanted to create those stories for him and other children who love locomotives, but I didn’t know the first thing about trains. One evening I told my colleague and writer friend, Sam Sedgman, about the idea, because I knew he was a fan of railway maps and the London Underground. He became excited about the story possibilities and we spent the evening spit-balling the idea. I suggested we write Adventures on Trains together, as I knew I could never write it on my own, and he, rather wonderfully, agreed.”

Leonard is also writing another children’s book for Chicken House, due for publication in 2019, and is adapting her Beetle Boy series for TV.

Sedgman is a digital project manager for the National Theatre, where he also hosts and co-produces their podcast.

Congratulations Sam and Maya!

Keep up to date with their news here - @MGLnrd & @SamuelSedgman

Lucy Ellmann's novel, Ducks, Newburyport to be published by Galley Beggar Press

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We are delighted to announce that Galley Beggar Press will be publishing Lucy Ellmann’s eighth book, Ducks, Newburyport, in the summer of 2019.

Galley Beggar co-director Eloise Millar is “over the moon” at the acquisition, saying that this novel – “so eloquent and insightful about the contemporary female experience” – promises to “revolutionise that traditionally masculine phenomenon, the Great American Novel.”

She goes on to say, “If you look at many of those lists out there – and except the inclusion perhaps of To Kill A Mockingbird and Beloved – what you’ll get in any discussion of the Great American Novel (and aside from many other issues) is an overwhelming round-up of male authors: Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Faulkner, and more latterly Wallace, Franzen, De Lillo. “Well, in Ducks, Newburyport, Ellmann kicks that door wide open.” A 750-page novel told in a single-sentence (the inner thoughts of a middle-aged housewife from Ohio) – the book simultaneously offers a brilliant portrait of domestic life, whilst also capturing a particular, Trump-era point in American history.

Calling the novel an “exquisitely accessible modernist masterpiece”, Millar’s husband and co-director Sam Jordison says: “The first things you notice about Ducks, Newburyport are its ambition and artistry and how much has been packed into this wonderful, vibrant, bursting book. It feels like all life is there – and that it’s rendered in one beautiful, breathless, eminently readable sentence just makes it feel dizzyingly virtuoso. “As a reader, there are also other things that soon start to matter. You have to respond to the emotion and psychological insight in the novel. There’s wonderful humanity in this portrayal of a woman battling her way through the twenty-first century. It’s haunting and resonant and deeply moving. It’s also worth stressing that it’s very, very funny.”

David Godwin, Ellmann’s agent, described Ducks, Newburyport as “phenomenal”. He also said he was “thrilled” at the new partnership between Ellmann and Galley Beggar Press, “who are proving to be the publisher of radical, innovative and important books”.

Lucy Ellmann, who is the daughter of James Joyce's biographer Richard Ellmann, won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her novel Sweet Desserts. Her 2003 novel Dot In The Universe was longlisted for the Orange Book Prize.

Ellmann said: “In an age catastrophically averse to art and thought, Galley Beggar is a powerhouse of serious writing. And their books are seriously beautiful.” Galley Beggar plan to publish Ducks, Newburyport on 4 July 2019, the anniversary of American Independence Day.

MG Leonard signs TV deal for Beetle trilogy

We have wonderfully exciting news to share - MG Leonard’s Beetle trilogy (Chicken House) has been optioned for TV by Nevision, with Leonard signed on to write the script.

Nevision, an independent producer, negotiated the deal with Kirsty McLachlan of DGA and is developing a live-action adaptation. Nigel Pickard is acting as executive producer and Ceri Barnes is development executive.

Leonard told The Bookseller: “I’ve always wanted an adaptation for screen of the Beetle Boy Trilogy to take my dedication to beetles seriously and commit to the complete narrative arc, and if possible I wanted to write the screen adaptation myself. The trilogy cannot be separated into three films as it takes place over a period of six months, which is why it is perfect for a live action TV adaptation.

“I knew almost immediately that the team of Ceri and Nigel were the right people to reimagine my books for the screen because they had the same vision for the series as I did, and they care as much about getting the insect detail right as the dramatic impact of the characters and storyline. I couldn’t be more excited about what this Team Beetle are going to produce."

The trilogy comprises Beetle Boy (published in 2016), Beetle Queen (2017) and Battle of the Beetles (2018) and is about a boy’s friendship with a beetle as they battle a villainess fashion designer. Beetle Boy won the Branford Boase award in 2017.

Suzanne O'Sullivan to be published by Picador

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We're really excited to share that award-winning science author and neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan will move to Picador from Penguin Random House after her “waking coma” book was snapped up at auction.

The Sleeping Beauties will be published in April 2021 and is aimed at fans of Henry Marsh and Oliver Sachs, exploring how syndromes flourish within particular cultures.

It is the neurologist’s third book –her debut, It's All in Your Head (Vintage) won both the Wellcome Book Prize and the Royal Society of Biology Book Prize and the follow up, Brainstorm (Chatto & Windus), was published in May.

Picador’s non-fiction editorial director Georgina Morley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the title from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA.

The Sleeping Beauties is an exploration of different aspects of psychosomatic disorders, mass hysteria, culture bound syndromes and the idioms of distress. Culture bound syndromes are a set of symptoms that exist only within a particular society and there are more than 200 officially listed. The book uses a particular case as its starting point: more than 400 migrant children in Sweden who have fallen into a state of apathy, with some spending months or years in a "waking coma".

Reminiscent of the work of Sachs, Marsh and Stephen Grosz, the title is billed as “a remarkable scientific investigation with a very human face” according to a Picador spokesperson. It considers who defines psychiatric illness and what shapes the manner in which distress is communicated within a society.

O’Sullivan has been a consultant in neurology since 2004, first working at The Royal London Hospital and now as a consultant in clinical neurophysiology and neurology at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and for a specialist unit based at the Epilepsy Society. She specialises in the investigation of complex epilepsy and also has an active interest in psychogenic disorders.

She said: “Physical illness still demands more respect than psychological suffering. I’m fascinated by the way society influences that disparity and shapes our expressions of distress.  I look forward to investigating it further and I really appreciate Picador’s obvious enthusiasm and support for the project.”

Morley said: “I’ve been a huge fan of Suzanne’s since I first read her brilliant It’s All in Your Head when it came out a couple of years ago and I couldn’t be more thrilled that she is coming to Picador for her new book, The Sleeping Beauties. Like her previous books, it promises to be both wonderfully humane and beautifully written, reminiscent of Oliver Sacks at his considerable best.”

Congratulations Suzanne!

Preti Taneja wins Desmond Elliott Prize

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We're completely thrilled to share that Preti Taneja has won the Desmond Elliot Prize 2018 with her debut novel We That Are Young.

The re-telling of King Lear is the second book from independent publisher Galley Beggar Press to receive the Prize, following Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing in 2014.

Preti Taneja has won the eleventh annual Desmond Elliott Prize, the “UK’s most prestigious award for first-time novelists” (the Daily Telegraph), it has been announced. Preti takes home the £10,000 Prize for her “awe-inspiring” debut novel, We That Are Young, beating fellow shortlisted authors, Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) and Paula Cocozza (How to Be Human).

A retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in modern-day India, We That Are Young explores the play’s themes of severed relationships and warring families against the backdrop of the 2011 anti-corruption riots in India. It follows a central cast of characters as they react to ageing patriarch Devraj’s decision to pass control of ‘the Company’ to his three daughters, Gargi, Radha and Sita.

The novel was chosen as the best debut of the year by a judging panel chaired by Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent (2016 Waterstones Book of the Year), who was joined by award-winning broadcaster, Samira Ahmed and Waterstones’ head of fiction and publisher liaison, Chris White.

Taneja’s triumph marks the second time independent publisher Galley Beggar Press has produced a Desmond Elliott Prize-winning novel. The first was Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing in 2014, which also won the Women’s Prize for Fiction and went on to become a major commercial and critical success. The Norwich-based Press publishes just four novels a year and is run by co-founders and husband-and-wife-duo, Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar.

In a speech at the Prize ceremony, Sarah Perry said, “Samira, Chris and myself were absolutely unanimous in our love and admiration for this novel, whose scope, ambition, skill and wisdom was, quite simply, awe-inspiring … all three of us sat together, shaking our heads, saying, ‘If this is her first novel, what extraordinary work will come next?’”

Before trying her hand at fiction writing, Taneja was a human rights correspondent and reported on Iraq and in Jordan, Rwanda, and Kosovo. Her work has been published in various titles including the Guardian, the New Statesman and Open Democracy. Taneja was born in the UK to Indian parents and spent many childhood holidays in New Delhi.

The Chairman of the Prize’s Trustees, Dallas Manderson said, “It is with great pride and privilege that my fellow Trustees and I present our judges’ choice of winner this year. We That Are Young is exactly the kind of novel that the Desmond Elliott Prize exists to discover and promote; this extraordinarily accomplished debut has flown somewhat under the radar thus far, not having received the attention and wide-spread acclaim that it so rightly deserves. Our hope is that winning the Prize will help guarantee Preti’s long-term future as an author, as we’re sure it will be bright.”

He continued, “It is particularly gratifying, too, to witness the on-going success of Galley Beggar Press. I know Desmond, who launched his own independent publishing house, Arlington Books, and dedicated his career to promoting new writers, would be delighted to see that a Prize in his name is championing similarly small-but-mighty institutions.”

The Desmond Elliott Prize has a track record of spotting exceptionally talented novelists at the very beginning of their careers. Last year, the Prize was awarded to Francis Spufford for his debut novel, Golden Hill, and other past-winners include Lisa McInerney, Claire Fuller and Eimear McBride.

Congratulations, Preti!

 

Ambreen Razia's Diary of a Hounslow Girl adapted for BBC Three Pilot

Very exciting news has been announced this week. Ambreen Razia's one woman play, Diary of a Hounslow Girl is set to be adapted into a pilot episode for BBC Three, as a part of their Comedy Slice platform.

Now in their sixth year, the Comedy Slices are the vital place to develop the next generation of British on and off screen comedy talent. Today three brand new BBC Three pilots from three female rising stars have been announced, which includes Diary of a Hounslow Girl written by and starring Ambreen Razia, which has been commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three.

Shaheeda, Tash and Leonie are three West London college students with big dreams, big attitudes, and big plans. From fights on the night bus to yet another ‘family’ wedding, mosque class to fake IDs, new hijab swags to cooking up schemes on Hounslow High Street, these girls are determined to have the best time - fun first, consequences second. Bouncing between being good, modern Muslim girls and living their best lives, they are three smart, young, Asian women in a bold, provocative, new comedy.

Diary of a Hounslow Girl is written by and stars Ambreen Razia (BBC Talent Hotlist 2017), inspired by her smash hit play, and is produced by CPL Productions Ltd and is script edited by Holly Walsh, produced by Charlie Coombes and executive produced by Arabella McGuigan & Danielle Lux for CPL Productions. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Alex Moody.

Watch Ambreen discuss her journey on BUILD Series LDN, here. 

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Omar Robert Hamilton Shortlisted for Betty Trask Prize

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We're thrilled to share that Omar Robert Hamilton has been shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize, with his debut novel, The City Always Wins. The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35.

Judges Ben Brooks, Joanne Harris and Samantha Shannon said of the shortlist; "The Trask shortlist is always very strong, very original, and this year is no different - six books reflecting the excellent quality and diversity of new writers today." Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and award fund is £26,250.

The prize will be awarded alongside winners of the McKitterick, Tom-Gallon and Somerset Maugham awards at The Authors’ Awards on Thursday 19th July, a unique night with all the awards judged by authors for authors. 

Omar Robert Hamilton is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. He has written for the Guardian, the London Review of Books, Mada Masr and Guernica. He is a co-founder of the Palestine Festival of Literature and the Mosireen media collective in Cairo., where he lives.

The City Always Wins takes place on the streets of Cairo, where 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, his 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.

Joanne Harris, Betty Trask judge says: "Tough, bleak and relentless, this is a challenging, thoughtprovoking, heart-wrenching and in many ways, necessary novel - we have all, after all, watched these events from the safety of our TV screens, but this glimpse into the reality of the events of 2011 is a wholly different, immersive – and ultimately rewarding - experience."

Congratulations Omar! Get hold of the book, here, today.

 

 

Wishing a happy paperback publication day to Arundhati Roy

Wishing a wonderful paperback publication day to Arundhati Roy. For those of you who are yet to get hold of a copy of her dazzling book, let us introduce it to you.

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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.

Praise for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017

THE SUNDAY TIMES #1 BESTSELLER and THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Magnificent - unlike anything I've read in years. An absolutely dazzling, original, and ultimately profound novel... A masterpiece. Very few writers can write with such intense and yet precise emotional intelligence. Arundhati Roy is properly special. We should be grateful to have her among us.'Mirza Waheed, author of The Book of Gold Leaves

'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

'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' Amitva 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

'Gorgeous, supple, playful... Roy writes with astonishing vividness... Again and again beautiful images refresh our sense of the world' The New York Times Book 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.

Happy Publication Day Clementine Beauvais

Today's the day, the beautiful In Paris With You is in all good book shops, now, published by Faber & Faber.

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Because their story didn’t end at the right time, in the right place,
because they let their feelings go to waste,
it was written, I think, that Eugene and Tatiana
would find each other
ten years later,
one morning in winter,
under terra firma
on the Meteor, Line 14 (magenta) of the
Paris
metro.

Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love. If things had gone differently. But time has found them far apart, leading separate lives.

Until they meet once more in Paris...

Pick up this beautiful new book from the author of Piglettes, today. 

Happy Publication Day to Isabella Tree - Wilding is Out Today

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Wishing a very happy publication day to Isabella Tree. Her new work of non-fiction, Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm is available to buy (and devour) now from Picador. 

Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.

Once-common species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.

This recovery has taken place against a backdrop of catastrophic loss elsewhere. According to the 2016 ‘State of Nature’ report, the UK is ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. We are living in a desert, compared with our gloriously wild past.

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’ and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us – and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

To whet your appetite before picking up the book here, do have a read of this fabulous blog on the Waterstone's website, Human Nature: Isabella Tree on Five Ways to Rewild Yourself.

Happy Publication Day, Jennifer Killick

Wishing a very happy publication day to Jennifer Killick, whose second book in the Alex Sparrow series, Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury is published today by Firefly Press. The book is a follow up to the brilliant Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink, which was selected for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 and longlisted for the Shrewsbury Big Book Award 2018.

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Catching the school's runaway guinea pigs is not giving Alex job satisfaction, but how can he find a bigger test for his and Jess's awkward superpowers? Jess is more worried about the bullied new boy, whose Mum runs the animal sanctuary. She volunteers at the sanctuary, but soon realises that something is very wrong; the animals are terrified. People report strange events: things missing, property destroyed, and the local squirrels have turned mean. The police have no suspects. It looks more and more like a job for Agent Alex...

You can pick up a copy of Jennifer's book, here!

Preti Taneja shortlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize

We are thrilled to share that Preti Taneja's debut novel, We That Are Young has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018. 

Of the book, the judges said, "We That Are Young by Preti Taneja, an ambitious retelling of King Lear which explores the play’s themes of severed relationships and warring families within the setting of modern-day India. The novel gains independent publisher Galley Beggar Press its second shortlisting for the Prize. The Norwich-based independent was previously shortlisted in 2014 with Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, which went on to win the Prize. Sarah Perry said, “The scope of Taneja’s ambition is breath-taking. We That Are Young is both universal in its themes of familial duty and personal failing, and exquisitely specific in its depiction of contemporary Indian society.”

The Desmond Elliott Prize has a track record of spotting exceptionally talented novelists at the very beginning of their careers. Last year, the Prize was awarded to Francis Spufford for his debut novel, Golden Hill, and other past-winners include Lisa McInerney, Claire Fuller and Eimear McBride.

Chair of judges, Sarah Perry is joined on the panel by the award-winning journalist and broadcaster, Samira Ahmed, and head of fiction and publisher liaison for Waterstones, Chris White. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Fortnum & Mason on 20thJune, where they will be presented with a cheque for £10,000.

Good luck Preti!

Grab a copy of her beautiful book here.

Fern Riddell's 'DEATH IN TEN MINUTES' Released Today

We're thrilled to share that Dr Fern Riddell's debut work of non-fiction is published today by Hodder. 

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Death In Ten Minutes tells the never before told story of radical suffragette Kitty Marion. Finding a hidden diary, Fern uses Kitty's own words to tell the story of her sensational life and explosive actions.

'Fierce, fresh and feminist, Fern Riddell tells the story of Suffragette Kitty Marion in a way that fizzes and shocks. Exciting, twisty and very very timely.' Lucy Worsley

'History with no dust.' Matt Haig

Kitty Marion was sent across the country by the Pankhurst family to carry out a nationwide campaign of bombings and arson attacks, as women fought for the vote using any means necessary. But in the aftermath of World War One, the dangerous and revolutionary actions of Kitty and other militant suffragettes were quickly hushed up and disowned by the previously proud movement, and the women who carried out these attacks were erased from our history. Now, for the first time, their untold story will be brought back to life.

Telling a new history of the women's movement in the light of new and often shocking revelations, this book will ask the question: Why has the life of this incredible woman, and the violence of the suffragettes been forgotten? And, one hundred years later, why are women suddenly finding themselves under threat again?

Dr Fern Riddell is a historian specialising in sex, suffrage and culture in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. She appears regularly on TV and radio, and writes for the GuardianHuffington PostTelegraph and Times Higher Education among others, and is a columnist for BBC History Magazine

Praise for Death in Ten Minutes

Passionate and brilliant, a compelling portrait of an extraordinary woman in extraordinary times. — Richard Osman

Fierce, fresh and feminist, Fern Riddell tells the story of Suffragette Kitty Marion in a way that fizzes and shocks. Exciting, twisty and very very timely. — Lucy Worsley

A compelling, passionate and timely account of a fierce and extraordinary woman. In 2018, Kitty Marion's story is required reading. — Helen Castor

A brilliant political biography of the dangerous, dramatic and uncompromisingly political life of an incredible woman. Viscerally written this book is a powerful reminder that women were not given the vote, they demanded it and took it by force as much as by persuasion. — David Olusoga

Fern has brought to life the drama and tension of suffragette attacks in early 20th century Britain. Never before have I thought of the noise, colour, sounds, smells and sensations of fighting for women's rights to the vote, sexual and legal freedoms. She creates a textured tapestry of bustling streets and a myriad of personalities, amidst which devastating bomb attacks are given a potency so often eroded from history books. The world needs more books like this - books that challenge where we are now, and the brave, dangerous, fascinating women who got us here. — Janina Ramirez

The tale this book tells is as explosive as its title. Riddell's vivid prose follows this unsung heroine in her fight for birth control and suffrage. — Independent

An exhilarating slice of incredibly relevant history. Highly recommended. — Matt Haig

Pick up a copy today!

Canongate set to Publish Charlotte Runcie's Debut, SALT ON YOUR TONGUE

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We're so pleased to share news that Canongate has acquired Salt on your Tongue, the first book by Daily Telegraph poetry critic and arts writer, Charlotte Runcie. 

Publishing director Francis Bickmore and editor Jo Dingley acquired world rights, including audio, from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA.

In Salt on your Tongue Runcie explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. A mixture of memoir, social history, literary criticism, biography and nature writing, the book is a "walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers". It’s an "ode to our oceans – to the sailors who have braved their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beach trawlers, swimmers, sea birds and mermaids".

Runcie explores how the sea has inspired, fascinated and terrified us, and how she herself fell in love with the deep blue. Navigating through ancient Greek myths, poetry, shipwrecks and Scottish folktales, this is a book about how the "wild untameable waves can help us understand what it means to be human".

Runcie said: "I hope that Salt on Your Tongue will speak to everyone who has felt a sense of freedom and possibility on the sea air. Having always admired the incredible independence of spirit behind all of Canongate’s wonderful books, I’m thrilled to join their crew."

Bickmore said: “Salt on Your Tongue explores how all of us can find inspiration by the water. This is a book about art, stories, togetherness, and how nature helps us understand our place in the world.”

Canongate will publish the title in hardback in January 2019. Congratulations, Charlotte!

Grantchester to Return for Fourth Series

We're over the moon to share that Grantchester, starring James Norton and Robson Green, will return to ITV for a fourth series in a co-production from Kudos and MASTERPIECE on PBS.  

This series will feature James Norton’s final episodes as character Sidney Chambers, the charismatic, jazz-loving clergyman, and one half of the unlikely crime-fighting duo based in 1950s Grantchester. Casting of the new vicar arriving in the hamlet of Grantchester will be announced shortly.  

Along with Robson Green, who plays Detective Geordie Keating, returning members of Grantchester’s ensemble cast include Al Weaver, Tessa Peake-Jones and Kacey Ainsworth.

MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton, at WGBH Boston, said:

“It’s a bittersweet time for Grantchester fans, who will be cheering the return of the series but crushed to say goodbye to James. We want to assure them that the series they love will continue with brilliant new episodes and a captivating new vicar.”

Kudos Executive Producer Diederick Santer said: “I’m ecstatic that - with Masterpiece and ITV - we are returning to Grantchester with all our favourite characters. While I’m sad that these will be James Norton’s final episodes, we will make sure he goes out with a bang. We’ve got exciting plans for where the show is heading and the vicarage won’t be vacant for long.”

MASTERPIECE and ITV have commissioned Grantchester’s fourth season, which begins production in June in London, Cambridge, and Grantchester.

Grantchester, Season 4 is a Co-Production of Kudos and MASTERPIECE for ITV and is distributed internationally by Endemol Shine International who have sold the show across 162 countries. The executive producers for Kudos are Diederick Santer, Emma Kingsman-Lloyd and Daisy Coulam. The executive producer for MASTERPIECE is Rebecca Eaton at WGBH Boston. The series will be produced by Richard Cookson.  Director Tim Fywell is returning for the opening two episodes. Adapted from the Grantchester Mysteries novels by James Runcie, the series was developed for television by Daisy Coulam and written by Daisy Coulam and John Jackson. 

If you're keen to read the books behind the TV series, make sure you pick one (or several) up today, here!

Happy Publication Day to Aminatta Forna

A very happy publication day goes to Aminatta Forna, whose fantastic novel, Happiness is published today by Bloomsbury.

Happiness.jpg

A breathtaking novel from Orange Prize-shortlisted and Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning author Aminatta Forna

Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide. Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes. From this chance encounter in the midst of the rush of a great city, numerous moments of connections span out and interweave, bringing disparate lives together. 

Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma and to check up on the daughter of friends, his 'niece', Ama, who hasn't called home in a while. It soon emerges that she has been swept up in an immigration crackdown – and now her young son Tano is missing. 

When, by chance, Attila bumps into Jean again, she joins him in his search for Tano, mobilizing into action the network she has built up, mainly from the many West African immigrants working London's myriad streets, of volunteer fox-spotters: security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens. All unite to help and as the search continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.

In this delicate yet powerful novel of loves lost and new, of past griefs and of the hidden side of a teeming metropolis, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.

Reviews

“Forna's voice is relentlessly compelling, her ability to summon atmosphere extraordinary, her sympathetic portrayal of traffic wardens, street performers, security guards, hotel doormen a thing of lasting beauty. It is as if the author has privileged access into multiple spheres of existence, learning the secret languages of each, conferring dignity and consequence on these figures who often pass unseen and unrecorded in our accounts of contemporary life” –  Observer

“Forna is a risk-taker, a writer who doesn't hold back from tackling big themes … Happiness is one of a handful of contemporary novels that take both the human condition and the animal condition seriously. Entering Forna's sweeping universe transports you to a place that feels familiar, but also totally feral and full of surprises” –  Financial Times

“Aminatta Forna expertly weaves her characters' stories, past and present, in and out of the larger story of London, which becomes as rich a character as the human beings and, indeed, the foxes; and she makes us care deeply about them all, the foxes, the people and the city. A terrific novel” –  Salman Rushdie

“One of the best novels I've read in quite a while – intelligent, deep and poignant. It sheds smooth, unflinching light upon the unseen. Forna is at the top of her game” –  Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and An Unnecessary Woman

Both generous in spirit and thought-provoking” –  Mail on Sunday

“From the understated and inexorable pull of plot and emotion to the luxuriousnessof the details of varied ways of living and being to the tidal pull of language, Happiness is a great accomplishment” –  Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Powerfully affecting ” –  Alex Preston, 'The Best Fiction of 2018', Observer

“A deeply moving novel about love, trauma and the ties that bind us together. Beautifully written and ingeniously allegorical. Aminatta Forna is a writer of phenomenal talent, with a clear eye, a fearless voice, and an extraordinary range” –  Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account