Canongate to publish Kerri ni Dochartaigh's debut book, Thin Places

Canongate has secured the first book by Northern Irish nature writer and essayist Kerri ní Dochartaigh following a six-way auction.

Commissioning editor Jo Dingley acquired world rights to Thin Places excluding North America and including audio, from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. The book will be published in Spring 2021.

The publisher said: “Kerri ní Dochartaigh was born in Derry at the height of the Troubles, to a mixed-religion teenage couple. As a result, her childhood was one of trauma and violence – not least when, aged eleven, a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. The ‘thin places’, spaces in nature where it feels as though anything is possible, were what saved Kerri in this period – and continue to do so now.”

Thin Places combines memoir, history, nature writing and political commentary. Canongate said it “explores how nature comforted her and helped her heal; how violence and poverty are never more than a stone’s throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our thin places to become solid, our borders to become hard and violence to creep back in”.

ní Dochartaigh has won a variety of awards, including the 2016 Mark Avery Wildlife and Politics Prize, and writes about nature, literature and place for publications which include Caught By The River, New Welsh Review and the London Magazine

She said: “This story is one about crossing borders, of courage and hope; it speaks of things once thought unnameable. Canongate are a brave, dedicated and deeply inspiring publisher. More than that, though, they are a group of humans who want the right words to make their way into our world; and that is a truly special thing indeed. Jo’s understanding of this story, coupled with her commitment to its delicate telling, made it very clear she is the editor for this book. I am incredibly grateful for the chance to work alongside this team.”

Dingley says: “Kerri is an exceptionally talented and sensitive writer with a unique way of seeing the world – always finding the beauty in it. Hers is a story with many moments of darkness, but it is ultimately about compassion, acceptance and hope. With the recent horrifying and tragic events in Derry, there can be no doubt that we need writers like Kerri more than we ever have.”

Simon Armitage to be next Poet Laureate

We are thrilled to share that one of DGA’s oldest clients, Simon Armitage, has been appointed to be the next Poet Laureate by Her Majesty The Queen. Simon will succeed Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who has served in the role between 2009 and 2019. He will continue in the post for the next ten years.

A Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds, Simon has published 28 collections of poetry. His work has been studied by millions of children as part of the national curriculum and in 2010 he received a CBE for services to poetry.

He now becomes the 21st UK Poet Laureate.

Simon was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire, in 1963 and worked as a Probation Officer in Greater Manchester until 1994 before focusing on poetry. He was elected to serve as Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2015 until 2019 and is also the Holmes Visiting Professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, United States of America.

In 2012, as part of the celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Simon conceived and curated the Poetry Parnassus, a gathering of world poets and poetry from every Olympic and Paralympic nation, which was the largest gathering of international poets in history. Simon also received The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2018, awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis of his body of work.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

I’m delighted Simon Armitage has been appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate.

As one of our most popular and respected poets, Simon brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role. He is well placed to attract even more people into the literary world, and further enhance our nation’s proud tradition of producing exceptional poetry.

I would also like to thank Dame Carol Ann Duffy for her work over the last decade - championing literature, showcasing other poets’ contributions, and marking significant national moments through her outstanding poetry.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage said:

It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature. Over the past two decades the laureateship has become a working role, with previous laureates actively involved in the promotion of poetry and in numerous initiatives to identify and encourage talent, especially within education and among younger writers; I hope to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm.

Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly - I want to celebrate and speak on behalf of the variety of voices who contribute to the rich chorus of British poetry from a wide range of personal, literary and cultural experiences, and to help poetry explore its potential in a multi-faceted, multi-vocal and multi-media age.

The poetry of these islands is one of our greatest achievements, and as well as being proud of its traditions I want poetry to feel confident and at home in the contemporary world and to demonstrate that in a hectic and sometimes frenetic age the combination of considered thought and crafted language is more relevant and vital than ever. I hope poets, readers and audiences will support me in my efforts.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said:

Simon Armitage is one of the UK’s foremost poets, whose witty and profound take on modern life is known and respected across the world. He has done so much to promote poetry, and I am sure he will use the Laureateship to continue this work.

He is a very worthy successor to Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who championed the importance of poetry over the past 10 years and made the position relatable to people across the country. I congratulate Simon on his appointment to this historic role.

The honorary Royal title of Poet Laureate is awarded to a poet whose work is of national significance. The UK’s first Poet Laureate by Royal appointment was John Dryden who was given the title by King Charles II in 1668.

Previous Poet Laureates have included William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Betjeman and Ted Hughes. UK Poet Laureates initially served until their death until the rules were changed in 1999 to give more poets the opportunity to hold the position.

The steering group, appointed by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to select the new Poet Laureate praised Simon Armitage’s outstanding contribution to poetry over the course of his career.

Congratulations, Simon!

DGA welcomes the Towpath Cafe

Wishing a very warm welcome to Lori De Mori and Laura Jackson of Towpath Cafe, Regents Canal, who have joined DGA as clients. We’re so excited to be working with them. Here’s more from the Towpath crew themselves -

“A lot has changed since Towpath first rolled up its shutters 10 years ago on the Regent’s Canal in Hackney and everything but the toasted cheese sandwich was cooked from home across the bridge. And a lot hasn’t.  It is still as much a social experiment as a unique and beloved eatery.  What happens when seasonality means you close every year in November, because England’s cold, dark winters are simply inhospitable to hospitality from a little perch beside a shallow, manmade waterway that snakes through East London?  What if you don’t offer takeaway coffees in the hopes that people will decide to stay awhile and watch the coots skittering across the water?  If you don’t have a phone or a website, because you’d rather people just show up like (hungry) kids at a playground?

We are working on TOWPATH, a collection of recipes, stories and photographs capturing its food, community and place throughout the arc of its season—beginning just before the first breath of spring, through the dog days of summer and culminating—with fireworks!—before its painted shutters are rolled down again for winter.”

Laura Jackson cooked at Rochelle Canteen and at the Auberge de Chassingnoles in France before coming to Towpath. She’s drawn chefs like Rosie Sykes, Davo Cook and Rachel O’Sullivan to cook with her in Towpath’s kitchen. Her food is seasonal, honest, unfussy and comforting—and so delicious people have been known to come for breakfast and stay through lunch. She delights in making everything from pickles to ice cream herself. And takes her inspiration where she finds it—so long as it’s about making the ingredients shine. 

Lori De Mori is the author of four books about Italian cooking and food culture. Her writing has appeared in the Best Food Writing Anthology, Gourmet, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, the Independent, the Telegraph, Olive and elsewhere. Her last book, Beaneaters & Bread Soup Quadrille (2007), was shortlisted for both the Guild of Food Writers and the André Simon Food Book of the Year.  This is her first book about one of her own culinary adventures.

Isabella Tree's WILDING hits number 1

Wilding  was Waterstones Non-fiction book of the month for April 2019

Wilding was Waterstones Non-fiction book of the month for April 2019

We’re so pleased to share the news that Isabella Tree’s Wilding has reached number 1 in The Times paperback non-fiction chart, having fought off stiff competition from The BBC Proms Festival Guide, The Secret Barrister and Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt. Congratulations Issy!

'A passionately personal, robustly argued and uplifting book . . . One of the landmark ecological books of the decade.' Sunday Times 'Books of the Year'

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp 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.

Extremely rare 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.

Personal and inspirational, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.

This must be the most inspirational nature book of the year . . . a narrative of conservation, courage, vision and miracles... The story of what happened is thrilling . . . the Knepp Conservation Project is world-famous: a beacon of hope . . . Read this book and marvel.

Bel Mooney, 'The Year's Best Books on Nature' - Daily Mail

Particularly timely . . . an excellent primer, and anyone who is interested in how we share the planet — what it looks like, what we eat, and what nature can teach us — should read this book.

Sunday Times

A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope.

Chris Packham, presenter of The Really Wild Show

Canongate aquires second title from Alistair Moffat


Canongate will publish Scottish writer Alistair Moffat’s exploration of the tidal island of Lindisfarne, To the Island of Tides.

Simon Thorogood, editorial director at Canongate, signed a deal for world rights from David Godwin here at DGA.

In To the Island of Tides, Moffat travels to - and through the history of – the island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England, which is in the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland.

“Walking from his home in the Borders, through the historical landscape of Scotland and northern England, he takes us on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of saints and scholars, before arriving for a secular retreat on the Holy Isle,” the synopsis reads.

“Lindisfarne, famous for its monastery, home to Saints Aidan and Cuthbert and the place where the celebrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written, has long been a place of sanctuary. It is an island rich in history: the Romans knew it as Insula Medicata; it reached the height of its fame in the dark ages, even survived Viking raids, before ultimately being abandoned after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Today the isle maintains its position as a space for retreat and spiritual renewal.”

Canongate published Moffat’s previous book, The Hidden Ways, which was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards and was a Waterstones Scotland Book of the Month.

Thorogood said: “To the Island of Tides is a walk through history, a meditation on the power of place, but also a more personal journey; a chance for a personal stock-taking and a reflection on where life leads us.”

Moffat said: “Writing this book was a transformative experience. The business of putting one foot in front of another made the landscape and its story come alive in ways I could never have imagined. It was as though the ghosts of the long past walked beside me,  whispering their stories."

He added: "This journey with Cuthbert, following the rivers, across the bleak moorland and under the big skies of the north, took me to the heart of his sanctity, to Lindisfarne and all its transcendent glories – and it it changed me.”

Happy Publication day to Julian & Marcus Sedgwick


Wishing a very Happy Publication Day to Marcus and Julian Sedgwick - the incredible Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black is available to buy today. The graphic novel is co-authored by Marcus and Julian with beautiful illustrations from Alexis Deacon and published by Walker Books.

A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London.

Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry’s mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city’s Underworld...

Pick up a copy today!

Happy Publication Day to Thomas Taylor


We’re so pleased to be wishing Thomas Taylor whose debut, Malamander is out today from Walker Books.

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...

Pick up a copy today!

Praise for Malamander

'…a wonderfully imaginative and atmospheric adventure, rich in myth and legend and with a delicious gothic edge… Taylor is best known as an illustrator – he famously created the original jacket for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – but Malamander confirms him as a ferociously talented writer… this really is one that deserves all the buzz.' The Bookseller, Children's Book of the Month

'I was steeped in the briny world of the Malamander from the very first page. Set in Eerie on Sea, where mythical beasts to walk the misty shores, Thomas Taylor introduces us to a wonderful pair of detectives - Herbie and Violet – with a riddle to solve. This is fantastical storytelling at it’s best with a Dickensian cast and a terrifying beast from the deep. This enthralling oceanic adventure had me hoping our heroic lost and foundlings will have more mysteries to solve in books to come. I wanted to read on and on.' M. G. Leonard, Author of Beetle Boy

'Full of unforgettable characters and brimming with maritime mystery, Malamander is a masterclass in original story-telling. Taylor's magical touch makes you believe in the impossible.' Catherine Doyle, author of The Storm Keeper's Island

'Mermonkeys, monsters and magic, oh my! Malamander is a brilliantly plotted mystery swirling with secrets, myths and the enigmatic residents of one unforgettable sea-side town.' Jennifer Bell, author of The Uncommoners

'“Gripping, magical with shivers down your spine in all the right places, fiercely imaginative and darkly funny; just read it.”' Fallen Star Stories

Happy Publication day to David Coubrough


Wishing a happy publication day to David Coubrough, whose novel, Death in Deia is out today from Galileo Publishers.

Deia is a small and idyllic village on the north-west coast of Mallorca, made famous by being the home of Robert Graves for much of his life, but subsequently becoming a magnet for artists, authors and film stars (and latterly a location in the BBC thriller series, The Night Manager). But in this fast moving crime novel, it also becomes the centrepiece for a series of murders connected to the embezzlement of an extraordinary £100 million fortune ...

When the multi-millionaire Ken Stone dies, one of his three daughters inherits his massive estate and disappears to Mallorca. Several years later, Grant Morrison, a family friend goes in search of the missing daughter: however before he can discover the truth behind how this fortune had somehow eluded other members of the family, his life comes to a very violent end. The discovery of a huge and dangerous web of deceit enveloping the whole family follows Grant’s death. And his death is not the first ...

The action reaches its denouement later the same year in a large Suffolk mansion when surviving members of the fractured family meet for a Christmas reunion. Late on Christmas Eve a most unexpected visitor also returns.

The author, David Coubrough, co-founded the specialist hospitality firm Portfolio Recruitment in the 1980s, and became its chief executive. He has been company director and member of the board of governors of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and chairman of Bespoke Hotels. He is the owner of Maldon Sea Salt as well as the Beehive pub and restaurant in Berkshire.

His debut novel Half a Pound of Tuppenny Rice was published by Peter Owen in 2016.

Buy Death in Deia here.

Happy Publication Day to Ashley Hickson-Lovence

via @ahicksonlovence

via @ahicksonlovence

We’re thrilled to be wishing Ashley Hickson-Lovence a very happy publication day. His debut novel, The 392 is out today from Own It!

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 school kids, 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.

Makes sure you order a copy today. Congratulations Ashley!

Praise for The 392

‘Ashley Hickson-Lovence is an immensely talented new author with a particularly acute ear for the poetry of everyday speech. In The 392 he has gifted us an inventive, witty, exciting portrait of London life; full of finely observed detail and cracking with incisive satire. I loved it!’ - Michael Donkor

The 392 is an ode to the lived-in layers and multiplicities of London, through a chorus of voices that thrums with vivid detail.’ - Sharlene Teo

‘Move right down inside Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s wonderfully warm and vivid debut, and prepare to meet a diverse and very memorable cast of characters, all lovingly captured on journey’s of their own.’ - Tony White

‘From Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s startlingly sharp characterisation to his exploration of human nature and the spectrum it spans, The 392 is completely, overwhelmingly in a league of its own.’ - Candice Carty-Williams

‘I loved it! So clever and absorbing. I turned the pages feeling increasingly nervous something bad was going to happen to the characters I was falling for.’ - Cathy Rentzenbrink

Happy Publication Day to Jennifer Killick

Wishing a very happy publication day to Jennifer Killick, whose 3rd mid-grade novel, Mo, Lottie and the Junkers is out today from Firefly Press.


Mo Appleby's ordered life is turned upside down when he and his mum move in with his new stepdad and stepsisters, Lottie and Sadie. The home he left behind is just across the street, and there's something not quite right about the new occupant. Other strange new people keep popping into his life, too: a bonkers lollipop man and a boy called Jax, who seems to understand Mo better than anyone else, especially Lottie. Who are the weird new people in their town? Do they have any involvement in the disappearance of Mo's dad many years ago? And why does the ice cream taste so good? Lottie is determined to find out exactly what's going on, even if it makes Mo mad, and even if it leads them both into serious danger...

Pick up a copy of this unique, comic, sci-fi book today!

Jessica J. Lee Awarded RBC Taylor Prize

Jessica J Lee - Copyright Paul Capewell, 2015 - rights cleared..jpg

We’re so excited to share that The Charles Taylor Foundation and RBC Wealth Management have announced that Jessica J. Lee is the sixth recipient of its annual Emerging Writer Award. The London, Ontario born writer, now living in Berlin, was chosen by Kate Harris, winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize for her book Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road. The Prize consists of a $10,000 cash prize and mentorship by Ms. Harris. 
     RBC Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor commented: “Jessica J. Lee is exactly the kind of writer we envision for the Emerging Author award. A multi-talented young person, Lee is about to break out on several fronts. She is a committed environmental historian who also just happens to be a talented writer and is also encouraging young diverse writers by editing and publishing the Willowherb Review. This award will assist Lee towards completing her multiple projects.” 
     Vijay Parmar, President of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel added: “On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, congratulations to Jessica J. Lee on being named this year’s RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award winner. We can’t wait to see what you do next. We’re incredibly proud to support this Award and the opportunity it offers our country’s rising authors to advance their literary careers.” 
     Kate Harris noted that Jessica J. Lee is an “uber-talented Canadian author, whose first book, Turning, I deeply admired for its gorgeous mix of memoir and nature/travel writing. It’s about the year she spent swimming a different lake every weekend as a way of moving through heartbreak and depression. I also love the fact that she’s founded a literary magazine, The Willowherb Review, to celebrate and bolster nature writing by emerging and established diverse writers. She’s definitely a nonfiction voice I want to hear more from.” 
     Lee enthused, “I’m completely surprised and honoured that Kate Harris selected me for the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Since receiving the news, I’ve felt like a pool of jelly — it means a lot to me that I’ll be joining such a brilliant community of previous winners. The gift of time that an award like this brings is more than I can put into words: this will grant me time to really focus on finishing my next book and working on projects like The Willowherb Review. The opportunity to be in touch with a fellow writer, scholar, and nature-lover like Kate is extraordinary—I’m sure we’ll have quite a lot to talk about over the coming year. I’m so grateful to Kate and the award committee: thank you!” 
     Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian. She has a BA from University of Kings College, Halifax, an MA from University of London, and a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics from York University in Toronto. Her first book, Turning, was published in 2017. She has lived in Berlin since 2014, where she is Writer-in-Residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology. 

Congratulations, Jessica!

Samantha Shannon's THE BONE SEASON Optioned for Television

Bone Season redone cover.jpg

Samantha Shannon’s international bestseller The Bone Season will be adapted into a "major" TV series by producer Harriet Hammond of Lunar Park.

The first series will be comprised of eight episodes, with further series to follow. The deal for television rights was brokered by Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA.

The Bone Season is the first in a seven-book series which was snapped up in a six-figure deal and published in 2013. It imagines a dystopian future where clairvoyance is a crime, forcing 19-year-old dreamwalker Paige Mahoney into a double life, using her skills in the criminal underworld but all the while concealing her talents if she wants to survive. 

Lunar Park is the new venture from Hammond and Daz Spencer Lovesey of Bad Penny Productions, who have produced a number of films - most recently Michael Morpurgo’s Waiting for Anya (Egmont) starring Anjelica Huston. Lunar Park will focus on original high-quality drama aimed at the direct to television and streaming video on demand markets, Hammond said.

Shannon said: "TV has come such a long way in recent years and offers rich opportunities for a long series like this one — there’s so much room for character development and expansion on the source material. It’s also very exciting to be able to re-approach the novels as a screenwriter. Once a book is out in the world, it’s essentially set in stone, but adapting The Bone Season for TV will allow me to explore the world of Scion in even more depth and consider the story from new angles. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Hammond said: “We feel privileged that Samantha has given us this opportunity, and are delighted that she will be working closely with us to adapt her novel. The rich quality of The Bone Season makes it perfectly suited for a series adaptation – we want plenty of time to really get to know Paige and her world.”

The Bone Season has been translated into 26 languages. Get hold of a copy here.

Praise for The Bone Season

“A new breed of women authors are claiming fantasy for their own. Leading the charge is Samantha Shannon” –  Harper's Bazaar

“A dark and exquisitely rendered fantasy unlike anything out there. The Bone Season is a must read” –  Kami Garcia, No. 1 New York Times bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series

“Samantha Shannon has a hugely inventive talent and an imagination with seven league boots. She's hit the ground running” –  Susan Hill

“A richly dramatic and unadulterated pleasure, filled with horrors, wonders and charm” –  Justina Robson, author of the Quantum Gravity series

“The book invokes both the political tyranny of George Orwell and the bucolic mythmaking of J.R.R. Tolkein” –  USA Today

The Bone Season is more like the novel that JK Rowling and William Gibson never teamed up to write” –  Wired

The Bone Season plots out a criminal underworld in a future where clairvoyancy exists; part fantasy, part dystopia, all intrigue. It's a world of impressive scope, accompanied by Tolkienesque appendices, glossaries, maps and all” –  Vogue

“A dazzlingly brainy, witty and bewitching tale of outrageous courage, heroic compassion, transcendent love and the quest for freedom ... the first in a thoughtful fantasy series by a brilliant young writer” –  Booklist

The Bone Season, set in 2059, stems from Shannon's interest in works such as The Handmaid's Tale and A Clockwork Orange, which have backdrops of repressive regimes, and in John Donne's poetry” –  Sunday Times

“Shannon writes so well that you stay interested, intrigued by the knife-edge motivation of character's with “six-seater lips” whose “high-collard dresses always made her think of the gallows”. And although many of the paths walked by The Bone Season will already have been well travelled by fantasy readers, Shannon shows real skill in combining them so easily into an original and enjoyable escapist fictional world. Like so much recent young adult fiction, I suspect this series will appeal to the fearless teenager dwelling within many adults. The ending certainly gripped me to the marrow” –  Daily Telegraph

“On the quite wonderful style and craft of words Samantha displays I really cannot heap enough praise – it is remarkably self-assured writing, most especially for a debut ... the most engrossing read I have had so far this year and frankly the most absorbing and compelling debut I've read since the superb Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Hugely recommended” –  Forbidden Planet International Blog

“Shannon's world is meticulously detailed and has a strong internal logic ... Plenty of entertaining action ... The pace of The Bone Season seldom slacks off, and the strong and resourceful Paige is a memorable heroine. This is one buzz book that just might merit its hype” –  BookPage

The Bone Season is enough to transport even hardened sceptics of the fantasy genre into its imaginative realm” –  Anita Sethi, Metro

“Frightening and well-imagined ... fascinating ... The large talent on display here suggests just how good Shannon could get in the next six books of this promising series” –  Elizabeth Word Gutting, Washington Post

“Don't just suspend your disbelief – send it to the pictures and sink into this fabulous, epic fantasy thriller ... Lavish, ebullient, escapist ... Bring on the sequel” –  The Times

“Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season is my perfect cup of tea ... My inner teenager enjoyed every last word” –  Sarah Vine, Daily Mail Books of the Year

Happy Publication Day to Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

Today we’re wishing a very happy publication day to Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, whose debut work of non-fiction, The Heat of the Moment - Life and Death Decision Making from a Firefighter is out today from Transworld, PRH.

The Heat of the Moment jacket..JPG

In the face of urgency and uncertainty, would you respond analytically or trust your instincts? How would you decide who lives and who dies?

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has been a firefighter for eighteen years. She decides which of her colleagues rush into a burning building and how they confront the blaze. She makes the call to evacuate if she believes the options have been exhausted or that the situation has escalated beyond hope. This is her astonishing account of a profession defined by the most difficult decisions imaginable.

Taking us to the very heart of firefighting, Sabrina uses her award-winning research to reveal the skills that are essential to surviving – and even thriving – in such a fast-paced and emotionally-charged environment. And she immerses us in this extraordinary world; from scenes of devastation and crisis, through triumphs of bravery, to the quieter moments when she questions herself and the decisions made in the most unforgiving circumstances.

Here is the truth about how we respond in our most extreme moments.

Don’t miss Sabrina’s slot on Women’s Hour today (11th April) and make sure you get hold of a copy, here today!

Alex Pheby wins Republic of Consciousness Prize


We’re so pleased to share that Alex Pheby is a joint winner of the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, with his novel, Lucia, published by Galley Beggar Press. The prize rewards presses with fewer than five employees, and their authors, for outstanding literary fiction. Alex won the prize alongside Will Eaves' Murmur, from CB Editions.

“Her case is cyclothymia, dating from the age of seven and a half. She is about thirty-three, speaks French fluently… Her character is gay, sweet and ironic, but she has bursts of anger over nothing when she is confined to a straitjacket.”

So wrote James Joyce in 1940, in a letter about his only daughter, Lucia. It is one of the few surviving contemporary portraits of her troubled life. Most other references to her have been lost. An attempt has been made to erase her from the pages of history. 

We know she was the daughter of the famous writer. She was the lover of Samuel Beckett. She was a gifted dancer. From her late twenties she was treated for suspected schizophrenia – and repeatedly hospitalised. She spent the last thirty years of her life in an asylum.

And, after her death, her voice was silenced. Her letters were burned. Correspondence concerning her disappeared from the Joyce archive. Her story has been shrouded in mystery, the tomb door slammed behind her.

Alex Pheby’s extraordinary new novel takes us inside that darkness. In sharp, cutting shards of narrative, Lucia evokes the things that may have been done to Lucia Joyce. And while it presents these stories in vivid and heart-breaking detail, it also questions what it means to recreate a life. It is not an attempt to speak for Lucia. Rather, it is an act of empathy and contrition that constantly questions what it means to speak for other people.

Lucia is intellectually uncompromising. Lucia is emotionally devastating. Lucia is unlike anything anyone else has ever written.

ALEX PHEBY has masters degrees in critical theory and creative writing, and a doctorate in critical and creative writing from the UEA. He lives with his wife and two children in London, and teaches at the University of Greenwich. His second novel, Playthings, is also published by Galley Beggar Press and was shortlisted for the 2016 Wellcome Book Prize.

Happy Publication Day to James Runcie

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Wishing a very happy publication day to James Runcie, whose fantastic book The Road to Grantchester is available to buy today.

The captivating prequel to the treasured Grantchester series follows the life, loves and losses of a young Sidney Chambers in post-war London

It is 1938, and eighteen-year-old Sidney Chambers is dancing the quickstep with Amanda Kendall at her brother Robert's birthday party at the Caledonian Club. No one can believe, on this golden evening, that there could ever be another war. 

Returning to London seven years later, Sidney has gained a Military Cross, and lost his best friend on the battlefields of Italy. The carefree youth that he and his friends were promised has been blown apart, just like the rest of the world – and Sidney, carrying a terrible, secret guilt, must decide what to do with the rest of his life. But he has heard a call: constant, though quiet, and growing ever more persistent. To the incredulity of his family and the derision of his friends – the irrepressible actor Freddie, and the beautiful, spiky Amanda – Sidney must now negotiate his path to God: the course of which, much like true love, never runs smooth. 

The touching, engaging and surprising origin story of the Grantchester Mysteries's beloved Archdeacon, Sidney Chambers, The Road to Grantchester will delight new and old fans alike.

“A tremendous novel - shrewd, compelling and full of insight - James Runcie elevates the genre to impressive new heights” –  William Boyd,

“Written with such tenderness, and very moving – I loved it” –  Elizabeth Buchan

“Charming, clever and warm: perfect comfort food for the soul” –  Joanne Harris

“Unsparingly, generously truthful” –  Jim Crace,

“He is the simple chonicler of English post-ward life, using irony and understatement to lay bare the pathos of ordinary lives” –  Sunday Telegraph

“The clerical milieu is well rendered as an affectionate eye is cast over post-war England – a perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon, a hammock and a glass of Pimm's” –  Guardian

“Runcie is emerging as Grantchester's answer to Alexander McCall Smith. The book brings a dollop of Midsomer Murders to the Church of England, together with a literate charm of its own” –  Spectator

“An engaging summer read” –  Alexander McCall Smith, Observer

“It takes a first-class writer to put together a convincing storyline for such unlikely circumstances … We should welcome him to the ranks of classic detectives” –  Daily Mail

“Totally English, beautifully written, perfectly in period and wryly funny. More please!” –  Country Life

“The author writes with warmth and insight about the tricky questions facing individuals in a post-war, godless universe … Runcie works his magic using a sense of suspense that creates an atmosphere of delicious anticipation” –  Independent

“Runcie has honed his style of light, escapist, small-town crime stories to something approaching perfection” –  Herald

“No detective since Father Brown has been more engaging than Canon Sidney Chambers. Perfect company in bed” –  Salley Vickers

“Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe is going to have to look to her laurels! Sidney Chambers's adventures are thoroughly captivating and engaging” –  Amanda Craig, author of Hearts and Minds

Bluebird lands Cambridge Code guide to the subconscious


We’re thrilled to share that Bluebird has acquired a guide to tapping into the subconscious by psychotherapist Dr Emma Loveridge and Dr Curly Moloney.

Publisher Carole Tonkinson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Cambridge Code: Unlocking your Subconscious Brain from David Godwin here at DGA. It will be published in March 2020.

The Cambridge Code is an online tool developed by Dr Loveridge and Dr Moloney, along with a team of researchers at Cambridge University. The synopsis states: “Founded on neuroscientific principles and clinically tested methodology, it represents a unique way of unlocking information about the subconscious mind, defining the underlying drivers and instincts that control our behaviour and make us who we are.”

The book explains the workings of the code, its development and scientific basis, explaining how the 30-minute questionnaire is used to decipher the reader’s deepest thoughts and individual personality characteristics, providing insights on romantic relationships, careers, friendships and family.

Tonkinson said: “In the course of my career in publishing and my work on a Master’s Degree in psychology, I’ve come across lots of personality-based tests like Meyers-Briggs, but I was absolutely blown away by the depth of insight offered by The Cambridge Code. It highlighted absolutely core behaviours in all of us on the team. It is a game-changer and we are thrilled to be making this powerful work available to one and all: people who want to address career and personal goals, parents, teachers. Absolutely everyone can benefit from deeper self-knowledge and this is the most reliable and expedient delivery method I have ever seen.”

The writers added: “We are very excited that Carole and her Bluebird team are collaborating with us to enable The Cambridge Code to reach you - the parent, the colleague, the partner - with the first ever glimpse into your own subconscious world. We have thoroughly enjoyed introducing scientific rigour to the world of well-being and self-discovery.”

Sarah Ward set to be published by Trapeze

We’re really excited to share that Trapeze has acquired historical mystery The Quickening by Sarah Ward, writing under a pseudonym, in a two-book deal.

Commissioning editor Katie Brown bought world all languages from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA. Written by crime writer Ward under the pen-name Rhiannon Ward, the first book will be published by Trapeze in hardback, e-book and audio in February 2020.

The novel’s protagonist is Louisa Drew, based on the celebrated Christina Broom, a pioneer of women’s press photography in the Edwardian era.

Its synopsis states: “Louisa Drew lost her husband in the First World War and her six-year-old twin sons in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Newly re-married to a war-traumatised husband and seven months pregnant, Louisa is asked by her employer to travel to Clewer Hall in Sussex where she is to photograph the contents of the house for auction.

“She learns Clewer Hall was host to an infamous séance in 1896, and that the lady of the house has asked those who gathered almost thirty years ago to come together once more to recreate the evening. When a mysterious child appears on the grounds, she finds herself compelled to investigate and becomes embroiled in the strange happenings of the house. Gradually, she unravels the long-held secrets of the inhabitants and what really happened thirty years before… and discovers her own fate is entwined with Clewer Hall’s.”

Brown said: “Rhiannon is a tremendously talented writer, and when she told me about this incredible true story of a house with leather walls, an infamous séance, and an unsolved murder, I was hooked. What really drew me in however, is how she has weaved together two different periods – one known for the burgeoning interest in spiritualism, and the other for the suffragette movement – and delivered a historical novel that is keenly relevant today. I can’t wait to welcome readers to Clewer Hall, and unlock its secrets alongside our unforgettable heroine, Louisa.”

Ward said: “I’m delighted to be joining Trapeze with its reputation for dynamism and innovation in publishing. When I met Katie Brown I was bowled over by her energy and enthusiasm and I’m delighted that The Quickening has found the perfect home.”

Happy Publication day to Harriet Shawcross


We’d like to wish a very happy publication day to Harriet Shawcross, whose debut non-fiction book, Unspeakable is out today from Canongate.

As a teenager, Harriet stopped speaking at school for almost a year, retreating into herself and communicating only when absolutely necessary. As an adult, she became fascinated by the limits of language and in Unspeakable she asks what makes us silent.

From the inexpressible trauma of trench warfare and the aftermath of natural disaster to the taboo of coming out, Shawcross explores how and why words fail us. From the mountains of Nepal to New York's theatre district she travels the world meeting people who constantly wrestle with language. She studies the work of George Oppen, a poet who couldn't write a line for twenty-five years, interviews Eve Ensler whose play The Vagina Monologues gave voice to the truths of female sexuality, and meets the founders of The Samaritans who have been listening silently to those in need since the 1950s.

A beguiling mix of memoir, history, literary criticism and investigative journalism, Unspeakable is a moving and unprecedented study of the power of silence.

Congratulations Harriet!

Preti Taneja's We That Are Young Optioned by Dina Dattani


We’re really excited to share that French studio Gaumont (“Narcos”) is collaborating with Indian producer Dina Dattani (“The Ashram”) on a series adaptation of Preti Taneja’s debut novel We That Are Young.

A re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s King Lear set in contemporary India, the novel follows the tumultuous lives of the aging patriarch of a business empire, his three daughters and their vassals. The novel made it to several ‘book of the year’ lists and won the £10,000 Desmond Elliott prize for new fiction in 2018.

We That Are Young is a work of epic scope and depth, providing a deep insight into today’s India, and the clash of tradition with modernization, as well as nuanced sexual politics,” said Gene Stein, president of television for Gaumont U.S. “We intend to shoot this series on location in India with the highest degree of authenticity while creating an elevated dramatic storyline with true global appeal.”

Dattani acquired the television rights to the book when it was published. “Preti Taneja’s King Lear story works remarkably well with a critical look at the balance of power in contemporary India through its three female protagonists in charge of a powerful dynasty in a patriarchal society,” said Dattani.

Formerly a U.K.-based lawyer, and also head of business and legal affairs at Fox in India, Dattani also has in development two more as-yet-untitled series, and two India-set independent features. She also holds feature adaptation rights to We That Are Young.

Happy Publication day to Samantha Shannon

We’d like to wish a very happy publication day to Samantha Shannon - her standalone, epic high fantasy novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree is out today in all good bookshops from Bloomsbury Books. The novel has already brought in some spectacular reviews.

'The new Game of ThronesStylist

'Puts Samantha Shannon in the same league as Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin. Shannon is a master of dragons' Starburst

'Epic fantasy with added dragons. A blockbuster' Guardian, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 

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An enthralling, epic fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons - and the women who must lead the fight to save it.

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 to be a dragonrider since she was a child, 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.

“A tour de force, and my new absolute favourite epic fantasy” –  Laini Taylor, author of Strange the Dreamer

“I have been waiting my whole life for this fantasy. It's the kind of book you never want to end. Utterly unique, wild, and rich. Sheer perfection” –  Lisa Lueddecke, author of A Storm of Ice and Stars

“The new Game of Thrones. Escapism at its finest – Shannon, we salute you” –

“Allow me to introduce your newest fantasy obsession … Remarkably fresh and frankly fearless … Works so well as an intricately realised and feminist fantasy that one might even be tempted to dub Samantha Shannon 'The female George R.R. Martin' … As with the best of fantasy, The Priory of the Orange Tree feels less like a book than it does an experience, a true sojourn into a rich and terrible new world” –  Hypable

The Priory of the Orange Tree is a brilliant, daring, and devastating jewel. Samantha Shannon has crafted an incredible world full of depth and danger, with characters I would follow to the ends of the earth. It was a privilege to read, and I'm in awe of her talent. I can't wait for the rest of the world to experience this book” –  Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Queen series

“An entirely fresh and addicting tale … A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please” –  Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A masterpiece of intricate world-building with the depth, complexity, heart and soul of a timelessly relevant classic. Brilliant, diverse, feminist, subversive, thought-provoking and masterfully told, The Priory of the Orange Tree is epic fantasy at its finest. The scope of the book is staggering, as is Shannon's deft command of language ... An absolute must-read” –  Karen Marie Moning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Highlander and Fever series

“Nothing short of extraordinary. An audacious, ambitious, sprawling epic, set across a world like no other, The Priory of the Orange Tree takes everything you think you know about high fantasy, rips it apart and remakes it ... Nothing short of game-changing ... An absolute masterclass in story telling, from one of the most exciting and innovative fantasy writers alive today. With it, Samantha Shannon has set the bar stratospherically high. This is the book of 2019” –  Melinda Salisbury, author of The Sin-Eater's Daughter

The Priory of the Orange Tree feels like a feminist successor to The Lord of the Rings- something I don't say lightly. Epic and awe-inspiring in its scope, its rich, diverse world captivated me. I loved each complex narrator, all wonderfully human heroes and anti-heroes, and adored sinking into the world Samantha Shannon has created with such heart and beauty. This deserves to be as big as Game of Thrones ... An expertly woven saga that feels very relevant for the contemporary world we live in” –  Laure Eve, author of The Graces

“An epic fantasy destined to be a classic. A world crafted with such intricacy and detail, I had to remind myself it was not a real place. The Priory of the Orange Tree is one of those rare novels that captures your imagination so completely you will read it over and over, until the cover cracks and the spine breaks” –  Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures and author of Unbreakable

“Move over, Tolkien – you had a good run, but it's high time fantasy had a Queen” –  Holly Roberts, bookseller

“There is no doubt that Samantha is the real thing … A born storyteller” –  Observer

“Shannon's brilliance is that she is not afraid of change, both for her characters and her setting … A name to watch” –  Independent

“Samantha Shannon has a hugely inventive talent and an imagination with seven league boots” –  Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black

“An astonishing achievement. The roots of Shannon's world lie in real history, but its branches stretch far into the imagination. Many authors can paint different names onto familiar concepts; Shannon goes further, building new religions and histories and conflicts, with all the rich detail necessary to bring them to life” –  Marie Brennan, author of The Memoirs of Lady Trent

The Priory of the Orange Tree is the Platonic Ideal of a fantasy novel. A rich and stirringtale of magic and queens, swords and dragons, assassins and sorcerers, it is thronged with women: strong women and queer women, gorgeous women and powerful women, brilliant women and dangerous women. Men, too, of course. This story of good and evil, struggle and triumph, love and loss and return is beautifully written: complex but clear, and utterly immersive. I loved this book” –  Nicola Griffith, author of Hild

“Shannon satisfyingly fills this massive standalone epic fantasy with court intrigue, travel through dangerous lands, fantastical religions, blood, love, and rhetoric” –  Publishers Weekly

Make sure you pick up a copy today.

Very many congratulations, Samantha, from all of us here at DGA.