Uplit debut Oona Out of Order to publish with Gollancz

Rachel Winterbottom, Commissioning Editor at Gollancz, has pre-empted UK & Commonwealth rights (ex. Canada) for Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore from Macmillan US, publishing spring 2020 in hardback, ebook and audio.

Oona Out of Order is an optimistic, uplifting book-club fiction debut that teaches us about living life in the moment while celebrating family, relationships and life, and exploring love in all its many facets.

What would you do if you woke up thirty years older than you were yesterday?

Brooklyn, 1982. Oona Lockhart and her boyfriend are about to ring in the New Year and Oona’s 19th birthday. But seconds after the New Year begins, Oona is torn from her life and everyone she loves, finding herself in her fifty-one year old body thirty-three years into the future. The life she had is gone, and all she has is a letter from herself from the previous year to guide her.

Each year on the stroke of midnight she finds herself resurfacing in a different year of her own adulthood. Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club kid? World traveller? Wife to a man she’s never met?

Oona Out of Order is an uplifting joyride through an ever-changing world that shows us what it means to accept your fate and live in the moment.

Rachel Winterbottom said: ‘I was completely drawn in by the sharpness of Margarita’s prose, biting dialogue and the vividness of every scene. With its absolutely brilliant premise, Oona Out of Order explores the notion of giving yourself to every life experience no matter what the outcome. Like The Time Traveler’s Wife and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it achieves that perfect balance of being both life-affirming and heart-breaking. I cannot wait for everyone to meet Oona and read this beautifully clever book.’

Margarita Montimore said: ‘I've always been fascinated by stories involving time travel, so I decided to write one of my own, putting a different spin on it. When I came up with the concept of a young woman living her life out of order, I thought it could be interesting way to explore identity, family, romantic relationships, and the various ways the passage of time affects us. Oona Out of Order was an utter joy to write and, along the way, taught me a thing or two about living in the moment. I’m thrilled to be working with Gollancz to bring the book to readers in the UK.’

James Melia bought the book at auction from Lisette Verhagen here at DGA on behalf of agent, Philippa Sitters, who said: ‘Oona Out of Order is a classic in the making. Margarita has written a book of such complexity and wit, it’s a sheer joy to read and I can’t wait to see Gollancz publish it here.’

James Melia said: ‘I knew from the first pages that Oona Out of Order would be something unique, but as I read the final lines of Margarita Montimore's wondrous debut, it was as clear as day that I had in my hands a book of such original vision, and enormous heart. I’m so glad Gollancz will be publishing this fantastic novel in the UK.’

Margarita Montimore has a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She has blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and XOJane.com. When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. She grew up in Brooklyn but currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their dog.

Amitava Kumar's IMMIGRANT, MONTANA among The New Yorker Best of 2018

The New Yorker’s Katy Waldman says that her books of 2018 represent “an energizing alternative to the ripped-apart illogic of our contemporary reality.” Among them is Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana, which is published by Knopf in the US, and Faber & Faber in the UK.

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The novel follows the story of Indian Immigrant, Kailash who arrives at a graduate school in New York, 1990. Part novel, part memoir the writing has also been praised by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Refugees and The Sympathiser as ‘a beguiling meditation on memory and migration, sex and politics, ideas and art, and race and ambiguity’ and the book is featured in Vanity Fair’s This Season’s Ultimate fiction list.

Waldman says, “This is a discovery of country through the discovery of that country’s women. But Kumar’s “nonfiction novel,” about an Indian student who comes to the United States to study literature, is tentative, funny, and self-critical—it inverts and skewers the colonial narrative. Kailash meets Jennifer at his university bookstore and Nina in his film class, and, with his older self narrating each initial intoxication, the novel emulates the digressive turnings of W. G. Sebald or Teju Cole, adding a gentle heat that is all its own.”

Amitava Kumar works as a journalist and has written several works of prize-winning literary non-fiction.

DGA Authors among Best of 2018

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We’re really pleased to have spotted four of our authors within the Guardian’s best books of 2018 list!

Nancy Campbell’s Library of Ice was given mention within Patrick Barkham’s run down of the best nature books alongside Isabella Tree’s Wilding.

“Messages of hope can be platitudinous without practical action and it takes a farmer to provide 2018’s best story of action and hope. In Wilding (Picador), Isabella Tree, a travel writer and farmer by marriage to Charlie Burrell, tells the 30-year tale of their failing farm and its almost accidental rewilding. Tree is not personal enough for some critics (nature writers can’t win!) but gives us challenging ecology, ecstatic moments (the sound of thousands of butterfly wings) and, best of all, an emphatic real example of how the British countryside can be enriched beyond all our expectations.”

The 12+ category detailed the brilliant Flying Tips for Flightless Birds.

“A tender, hilarious romance, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain (Walker) is filled with fantastical yet real-feeling joy. Circus kids Birdie and Finch are twins, trapeze partners and – at school, at least – complete social outcasts. When a new boy arrives, even geekier and more eccentric than Finch, an unlikely friendship blooms. But can Franconi’s circus school survive after Birdie is brought down by an accident – and can Finch bring himself to trust Hector’s affection?”

The Ideas & Science category was full to the rafters but special mention was made of Suzanne O’Sullivan’s newest work of non-fiction.

“The genre of bittersweet anecdotes about people with brain disorders, perhaps invented by Oliver Sacks, is now well populated, but the brilliant Brainstorm (Chatto), by Suzanne O’Sullivan, is a premium addition. O’Sullivan is a specialist in epilepsy, and describes its history and highly various signs. Lewis Carroll, O’Sullivan fascinatingly suggests, might have had epilepsy, which is often associated with visual illusions when perspective looks wrong or things look larger or smaller than they really are. (Hence the name one of her patients gives such experiences: her “Alice in Wonderland moments”.)”

Salt set to publish a memoir by Ursula Owen

We’re really pleased to share that Salt will publish Ursula Owen's “deeply engaging” memoir Single Journey Only

Christopher Hamilton-Emery, director of Salt, acquired world rights in English, from David Godwin, with publication slated for next September.

Salt described Single Journey Only as “deeply engaging” while Hamilton-Emery paid tribute to Owen’s honesty in the memoir.

"Ursula is hugely well-known, loved and respected, and I am utterly delighted to be publishing this frank and rewarding account of such an wide-ranging life,” he said. "The achievements are, frankly, astonishing, yet in this delightful and feisty memoir we see the glorious messiness of life, too. And something else beside, a tenacious commitment to enlightenment ideals, something we need to be constantly reminded of."

Owen has been involved in literature and freedom of expression since the 1970s. She became a founder director of Virago in 1974, later becoming editorial director and m.d. of the British publishing company committed to women’s writing and books on feminist topics. She led the business as it "developed an international reputation, working with a committed team, rediscovering and repositioning women novelists and, over two decades, transforming both the literary canon and the contemporary publishing world,” Salt said.

Amitava Kumar's, IMMIGRANT, MONTANA one of the New York Times' Most Notable

We’re delighted to see that Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana appears on The New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of 2018, stating that;

Kumar’s novel of a young Indian immigrant who recounts his loves lost and won as a college student in the early 1990s has the feeling of thinly veiled memoir. It’s a deeply honest look at a budding intellectual’s new experience of America, filled with both alienation and an aching desire to connect.

Published in the UK by Faber & Faber and under a different title, The Lovers in India, Knopf released the title in the US.

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One winter morning, a monkey stole into Mamaji’s room. He climbed on the huge white bed and finding Mamaji’s pistol brandished it — they say — at my cousin, born two months after me and still in her crib. No one moved. Then, turning the pistol around, the primate brain prompting the opposable thumb to grasp the trigger, the monkey blew his brains out.

Meet Kailash. AKA Kalashnikov. Or AK-47. Or just plain AK. His journey from India has taken him to graduate school in New York where he keeps falling in love: not only with women - Jennifer, Nina, Cai Yan - but with literature and radical politics, the fuel of youthful exuberance. Each heady affair brings new learning: about himself, about America, and his relationship to a country founded on immigration, but a country that is now unsure of the migrant's place in the nation's fabric. How do you educate yourself in belonging when you are in a constant state of exile?

Immigrant, Montana is the story of AK's sentimental education. His intellectual, emotional, and romantic journey gives the book a new narrative form, one that thrillingly reinvents the campus and postcolonial novel through wry, comic intelligence. A sharp cultural satire for a generation losing an ideological sense of itself, Immigrant, Montana is erotic and tender, provocative and playful - a meditation on courage and endeavour, and what it takes to truly be heroic.

Get hold of a copy here!

Julia Shaw's MAKING EVIL sold to 10 territories

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We are thrilled to announce that Julia Shaw’s Making Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side has now been sold to 10 territories.

The book, already published in Germany by Hanser last September, entered the Spiegel Bestseller Chart and sold over 13,000 copies within only a few weeks. Canongate will publish in February at the same time as Abrams in the US.

Kirkus published an early review as follows:

‘Shaw’s intellectual scrutiny is bolstered by statistical data, experiments, and academic research studies from neuroscientists, who underscore the true scientific nature of wrongdoing and wickedness through the human experience. Capably written with a smooth mix of scientific insight and theoretical thought, the book will hopefully inspire empathy and understanding rather than hysteria and condemnation. A consistently fascinating journey into the darker sides of the human condition that will push on the boundaries of readers’ comfort zones.’

Making Evil is about the attraction of evil. What is it about evil that we find so compelling? From our obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture, we seem inescapably drawn to the stories of monstrous acts and the aberrant people who commit them. But evil, Dr. Julia Shaw argues, is all relative, rooted in our unique cultures. What one may consider normal, like sex before marriage, eating meat, or being a banker, others find abhorrent. And if evil is only in the eye of the beholder, can it be said to exist at all? In Evil, Shaw uses case studies from academia, examples from and popular culture, and anecdotes from everyday life to break down complex information and concepts like the neuroscience of evil, the psychology of bloodlust, and workplace misbehavior. This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.

Publishers so far are:  Canongate (UK) , Abrams (US), Doubleday (Canada), Beijing Wisdom & Culture (China), Carl Hanser (Germany), Prometheus (Holland),  Kodansha (Japan), Heyonamsa (Korea), Planeta (Spain) and Cite Publishing (Taiwan).

Happy Publication Day to Rachel Ward

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Wishing a very happy publication day to Rachel Ward. The second novel from the Ant and Bea series, Dead Stock, is out today from Sandstone Press.

‘I’m scared of anyone with a knife and a grudge’

New Year dawns and something is rotten in Kingsleigh. With a body on the bypass and pet cats going missing, supermarket sleuths Ant and Bea have a new case. But juggling problems at work and home takes its toll – and as they near the truth, more than one secret is going to come out.

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

Get hold of Dead Stock today!

‘Bea and Ant are a delightful crime-solving duo and I’ll very happily join them again for another clean-up in a Costsave aisle.’ Crime Review

‘Another brilliant Ant and Bea adventure. This series gets better and better.’ Cass Green

‘Starring the most unlikely but endearing detective pairing since Morse and Lewis, Dead Stock is a charming, heartwarming page-turner. Agatha Christie meets Car Share and Coronation Street.’ Joanna Nadin

‘I love spending time with Bea and Ant! A simply delightful crime-cracking duo.’ Christi Daugherty

Hennie van Vuuren's APARTHEID, GUNS AND MONEY Out Now

Hennie van Vuuren’s Apartheid, Guns and Money, is available now from Hurst Publishers and we’d thoroughly recommend you take a look.

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In its last decades, the apartheid regime was confronted with an existential threat. While internal resistance to the last whites-only government grew, mandatory international sanctions prohibited sales of strategic goods and arms to South Africa. To counter this, a global covert network of nearly fifty countries was built. In complete secrecy, allies in corporations, banks, governments and intelligence agencies across the world helped illegally supply guns and move cash in one of history’s biggest money laundering schemes. Whistleblowers were assassinated and ordinary people suffered.

Weaving together archival material, interviews and newly declassified documents, Apartheid Guns and Money exposes some of the darkest secrets of apartheid’s economic crimes, their murderous consequences, and those who profited: heads of state, arms dealers, aristocrats, bankers, spies, journalists and secret lobbyists. These revelations, and the difficult questions they pose, will both allow and force the new South Africa to confront its past.

Pick up a copy here.

Praise for Apartheid, Guns and Money

‘It’s not very often that a book really reshapes our perception of an issue, but Hennie van Vuuren’s Apartheid Guns and Money is one . . .the result of a decade of meticulous, painstaking work . . . [it] is a compelling and convincing narrative.’ — The Conversation

‘This book was long overdue. Hennie van Vuuren follows the money and the weapons and thereby shines light on the role of Western enablers in keeping the South African Apartheid-regime in power. Corrupt Western banks, arms companies and governments helped to bust sanctions, to buy arms and oil and thereby became the driver for the conflict. Van Vuuren makes sure that the shame of the past will haunt them.’ — Frederik Obermaier, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money

‘Shines a glaring, necessary light into the darkest corners of the apartheid state – and its enablers — at a time when South Africa is once again wrestling with the slithering, infectious curse of state corruption.’ — Andrew Harding, BBC Africa Correspondent and author of The Mayor of Mogadishu

‘Probably the single most important book that has been written about South Africa for the last twenty years.’ — Professor Achille Mbembe, author of On the Postcolony

‘A labour of political passion, this admirably well researched book is a must-read. Its most important achievement is to show that illicit trade does not occur in some parallel realm detached from corporate boardrooms and governments; it is stitched into the fabric of everyday statecraft and the exercise of power.’ — Jonny Steinberg, Professor of African Studies, Oxford University

‘van Vuuren shows that the struggle against corruption is indeed a human rights struggle and that, as we know from South Africa’s own history, it can be won. But it must be fought for.’ — Jacob Dlamini, author of Askari

‘This important book seeks to uncover one of the key secrets of the last decades of the apartheid era. [It’s] a timely reminder that the founding values of our new Constitution are key to building a democracy.’ — Justice Kate O’Regan, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

‘This is a crucial book at a vital time in our history. It is a must read!’ — Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP, and author of The Shadow World

Happy Birthday to Visual Verse

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We wanted to wish a very happy birthday to Visual Verse, curated by DGA’s very own Preti Taneja.

Visual Verse is a collaboration. An anthology of art, poetry, short fiction and non-fiction.

Each month we supply a compelling image and invite writers – published or unpublished – to submit a piece in response.

To celebrate the occassion, VV are hosting a very special challenge! We’ll let the co-founders, Preti Taneja and Kristen Harrison of The Curved House, alongside their brilliant web designer, Pete Lewis, tell you all about it in their own words.

Today, we turn 5.

This publication launched in 2013 with modest plans. We hoped only to provide a space where writers and artists could collaborate freely. Thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of writers around the world, Visual Verse has far exceeded all expectations.

In 5 years we have published 60 Issues in 5 Volumes. We have received almost 8,000 submissions and published 5,500 pieces by 1716 individual writers. And, according to Google Analytics, we have been read by people in every part of the globe except the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. What are those Norwegians doing?

None of this would have been possible without you – our writers and artists – who have made VV the beautiful, positive, diverse, boundary-pushing celebration of creative collaboration that it is.

So, today we have a very special challenge for you. Instead of publishing a new issue with one image and a selection of lead pieces, we are giving you – our amazing community – the chance to be one of our three November leads.

All submissions received before 12pm GMT on 2nd November will be longlisted for one of our lead spots. A shortlist of eight will be chosen and from these, our judging panel will select the top three.

Thank you to our judges: writer Bernardine Evaristo, publishers Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar, poet Andrew Motion and agent Philippa Sitters.

The image is the starting point, the text is up to you. Go forth.

Your faithful founders: Kristen Harrison, Pete Lewis and Preti Taneja.

Happy Publication Day to Nancy Campbell

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We’re so pleased to be wishing Nancy Campbell a happy publication day. Her debut work of non-fiction, Library of Ice: Readings From a Cold Climate is published by Simon & Schuster today.

A vivid and perceptive book combining memoir, scientific and cultural history with a bewitching account of landscape and place, which will appeal to readers of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin and Olivia Laing. 

Long captivated by the solid yet impermanent nature of ice, by its stark, rugged beauty, acclaimed poet and writer Nancy Campbell sets out from the world’s northernmost museum – at Upernavik in Greenland – to explore it in all its facets. From the Bodleian Library archives to the traces left by the great polar expeditions, from remote Arctic settlements to the ice houses of Calcutta, she examines the impact of ice on our lives at a time when it is itself under threat from climate change.

The Library of Ice is a fascinating and beautifully rendered evocation of the interplay of people and their environment on a fragile planet, and of a writer’s quest to define the value of her work in a disappearing landscape.

Praise for Library of Ice:

‘A wonderful book: Nancy Campbell is a fine storyteller with a rare physical intelligence. The extraordinary brilliance of her eye confers the reader a total immersion in the rimy realms she explores. Glaciers, Arctic floe, verglas, frost and snow — I can think of no better or warmer guide to the icy ends of the Earth’ Dan Richards, author of Climbing Days

‘The Library of Ice instantly transported me elsewhere... This luminous book is both beautifully written and astute in its observations, turning the pages of time backwards and revealing, like the archive of the earth’s climate stored in layers of solidified water, the embedded meanings of the world’s icy realms. It is a book as urgently relevant as it is wondrous’ Julian Hoffman, author of The Heart of Small Things

‘An extraordinary work not only for the perspicacity and innate experience of the author who leads the reader carefully across intertwined icy tracks of crystallised geographics, melting myths and frozen exploration histories, but through her own tender diagnostics of what reading ice can show us in these times … Perilous in its scope, exacting in its observation, wild in intellect, The Library of Ice captures the reader’s attention almost as if caught in ice itself’ MacGillivray, author of The Nine of Diamonds: Sorroial Mordantless
 
‘This is travel writing to be treasured. A biography of ice, the element that has another life, with hard facts thawed and warmed by a poet's voice.  Campbell's writing is companionable, curious, deeply researched and with no bragging about the intrepidity that has taken her between winter-dark Greenland, Polar libraries, Scottish curling rinks, Alpine glaciers and Henry Thoreau's pond at Walden’ Jasper Winn, author of Paddle

Pick up a copy of Nancy’s wonderful book, here.

Hounslow Diaries set for broadcast on 5th November

We have a date for your calendars! Hounslow Diaries is set to be available to view on BBC3 from 5th November.

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© CPL Productions

Hounslow Diaries stars Ambreen Razia, Mandeep Dhillon and Robyn Cara, who play Shaheeda, Tash and Leonie - three loud, excitable, determined Muslim teenage girls living in West London.

Shaheeda’s made it her mission to get them a night out at a fancy West End club with a VIP bar. Only one problem - they have no cash and will definitely need plenty.

Luckily an opportunity falls into Shaheeda’s lap thanks to her sister’s never-ending wedding preparation. If Shaheeda can keep a lid on Tash’s kleptomania and Leonie’s nerves, they might just have the best night out ever.

The show is written by and stars DGA’s very own Ambreen Razia! We cannot wait to see it go live.

Happy Publication Day to Rachael Ball

Wishing a very happy publication day to Rachael Ball, whose second graphic novel, Wolf is out to buy today from SelfMadeHero.

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It is the long, hot summer of 1976. Hugo, the youngest child of three, is walking with his father in the woods. There, he comes face-to-face with a wolf—and from that moment on, his life will never be the same again. Soon after, a tragic accident leaves Hugo desolate and disoriented. The family, now grieving and incomplete, moves to a new home. Among Hugo’s new neighbors is the Wolf Man—a dangerous recluse, according to the boy next door.

Spellbound by the movie The Time Machine and desperate to return to the days before the accident, Hugo draws up plans to build a contraption that will turn back time. But only the Wolf Man has the parts Hugo needs to complete his machine, and that will mean entering his sinister neighbor’s house.

Beautifully illustrated in pencil, Wolf is a captivating and poignant graphic novel about confronting childhood grief and overcoming the loss of a loved one.

"An ethereal, subtle, haunting fable. Rachael Ball has created a time machine, a nostalgic step back to a bygone age, but which speaks to our present and future with eternal themes of love and loss"

— Kate Evans

Children in the Modern Age of War to be published by OUP

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We’re really pleased to share that historian Emma Butcher’s Children in the Modern Age of War is set to be published my Oxford University Press. The title is a "ground-breaking book chronicling the lost stories of children embroiled in war".

OUP trade publisher Luciana O’Flaherty acquired world English-language rights in the title from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA.

Emma, who works in the University of Leicester’s history faculty, specialises in war and culture, and has written extensively on child soldiers.

Congratulations Emma!

Salt snaps up 'expansive' debut from Amanthi Harris

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We’re so pleased to share that Salt will publish an "emotionally-charged" debut of anger, identity and independence by Amanthi Harris, a former solicitor who scooped the Gatehouse Press Fiction Prize for emerging writers in 2016.

Centred upon the Villa Hibiscus, a guesthouse in the beautiful southern coast of Sri Lanka, the "expansive and multi-layered debut", Beautiful Place, traces the life of Padma, her stepfather, Gerhardt, and the lives of the many guests coming to stay, each seeking a better life and independence, free of oppression and misrepresentation. 

Jennifer Hamilton-Emery, director of Salt, acquired world rights to Beautiful Place (excluding India) from Philippa Sitters here at DGA.

Harris was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in London.

Hamilton-Emery said: "This passionate story, perfectly captures the tropical beauty of Sri Lanka, using a deep sense of place to contrast with and inform an extraordinary range of lives, each seeking something new, something free, something true. I’m thrilled to be publishing this gorgeous novel, everyone will identify with Padma on her journey to become the woman she yearns to be."

Salt will publish in print and e-book in the summer of 2019.

Happy Publication Day to Sarah Ward

Wishing a very happy publication day to Sarah Ward. The fourth novel in her D.C. Childs mystery series, The Shrouded Path is available to buy today, published by Faber & Faber. 

The past won't stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: 'Find Valerie.' Mina's elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs' old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

Get hold of a copy today! 

Eleanor Birne joins DGA as Literary Agent

We are delighted to announce that Eleanor Birne is joining the agency as literary agent on Monday 3rd September.

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She was previously Publishing Director at John Murray and before that was Editorial Director at Duckworth Publishers. She is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and has spent the past two years working on a PhD on the history of Virago Press. She will be building a list of literary fiction and non-fiction authors at the agency and can be contacted at eleanor@davidgodwinassociates.co.uk

Eleanor says of the move "I have always admired the brilliant list of authors at DGA. I’m looking forward to extending the list of writers and to working with the rest of the DGA team."

David Godwin has said, "I've always been a great fan of Eleanor’s publishing and I’m thrilled to be working with her."

Welcome to DGA!

Lucy Inglis' MILK OF PARADISE is BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

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We're enjoying seeing Lucy Inglis' brilliant book in the prestigious BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week slot, this week. Published on 9th August by HarperCollins, Milk of Paradise sees acclaimed cultural historian Lucy Inglis take readers on an epic journey from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America and Afghanistan, from Sanskrit to pop, from poppy tears to smack, from morphine to today’s synthetic opiates. It is a tale of addiction, trade, crime, sex, war, literature, medicine and, above all, money. And, as this ambitious, wide-ranging and compelling account vividly shows, the history of opium is our history and it speaks to us of who we are.

‘The only thing that is good is poppies. They are gold.’

Poppy tears, opium, heroin, fentanyl: humankind has been in thrall to the ‘Milk of Paradise’ for millennia. The latex of papaver somniferum is a bringer of sleep, of pleasurable lethargy, of relief from pain – and hugely addictive. A commodity without rival, it is renewable, easy to extract, transport and refine, and subject to an insatiable global demand.

No other substance in the world is as simple to produce or as profitable. It is the basis of a gargantuan industry built upon a shady underworld, but ultimately it is a farm-gate material that lives many lives before it reaches the branded blister packet, the intravenous drip or the scorched and filthy spoon. Many of us will end our lives dependent on it.

‘Lucy Inglis has done a wonderful job bringing together a wide range of sources to tell the history of the most exciting and dangerous plants in the world. Telling the story of opium tells us much about our faults and foibles as humans – our willingness to experiment; our ability to become addicts; our pursuit of money. This book tells us more than about opium; it tells us about ourselves.’ - Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

Gurmehar Kaur to be published by Penguin Random House India

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We're really pleased to share that Penguin Random House India will publish The Young and the Restless: Youth and Politics in India by Gurmehar Kaur, in April 2019.

The 2014 Lok Sabha election saw the involvement of India’s youth like never before. They were debating inside classrooms, sitting for dharnas on the street, having conversations in offices and on social media. The internet became the place for political outrage, humour, op-eds and blogs carried by youth-run pages and media houses. That was the election year that saw 150 million young voters and the highest number of first-time voters India had ever seen. As India ages, the average age of the population keeps getting younger.

In 2019, India will have the world’s largest youth population with 356 million people between the ages ten and twenty-four. But that is not the surprising and shocking revelation here. The surprise here is that while we will have the largest number of young people in a country, the average age of our parliamentarians is sixty-three. 

This book follows the journeys of nine youth leaders, their aspirations for the youth population, their aspirations for themselves, and most importantly their aspirations for the nation. It explores whether their politics only mimics the politics of their older party leaders or if they have the ideas and passions and motivations of the demographic they represent.

Gurmehar Kaur is the author of Small Acts of Freedom, a deeply personal family history published by Penguin Random House India in 2018. She is a social activist and an ambassador for Postcards for Peace, a non-profit charitable organization. Kaur cofounded Citizens for Public Leadership (CPL), an independent nonpartisan movement focused on advocating for progressive public policy in India. CPL is an apolitical non-profit with the sole objective of strengthening the capacity of Indian youth to take up leadership challenges in the public sphere. In 2017, Kaur was listed by TIME magazine as a ‘Next Generation Leader’, a global listing of ten young men and women making a difference in the world. She graduates from Lady Shri Ram College in 2019 and looks forward to a career in social reform, public policy and law.

‘I don’t know if I’m an activist in the truest sense. Maybe I am, and maybe I am not. The label was plastered on me at a very young age. But here is what I have always been: a storyteller. Stories have the power to change the world, and they have changed mine. In this book are stories that I believe the country of 650 million people under the age of twenty-five should know.’ – Gurmehar Kaur

‘If Small Acts of Freedom was personal, The Young and the Restless will be political. But the two can never be too far apart from each other, as is clear from Kaur’s personal politics. Her commitment to social progress is unquestionable. She is a gifted writer and speaker, has political awareness, and a rare clarity of thought. We are delighted to be publishing her second book next year.’ – Manasi Subramaniam, Senior Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India

‘Gurmehar Kaur is a rebel and a star. With The Young and the Restless, she voices an entire generation’s political anxiety – and makes it clear that she’s here to ask the tough questions and be a part of the change.’ – Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, Penguin Random House India.

Congratulations Gurmehar!