DGA Welcomes Rebecca Ley

We're so pleased to welcome Rebecca Ley to DGA as a client. Fiction writer Rebecca has just finished a Creative Writing MA at City University, having completed her undergraduate degree at UCL in History of Art & Philosophy. 

Rebecca completed her debut novel, The Art of Losing while at City and has bowled us over with her honest depiction of two lives falling apart after a terrible accident.

We're really looking forward to working with Rebecca on future projects!

Follow Rebecca on Twitter - @RebeccaLey

Justin Kurzel to direct Levy & Scott-Clark's THE SIEGE

Deadline exclusively revealed today that Australian director, Justin Kurzel is set to direct the film adaptation of Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark's bookThe Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj Hotel. The book is a harrowing account of the 2008 terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, during which militants ransacked the luxury building killing 166 people. Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) will adapt the book with support from StudioCanal. Ollie Madden with Kudos and Shine Pictures will produce. 

"Very much in the vein of Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips or even Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, the project will offer a 360-degree look at those tragic few days as we follow ordinary tourists enjoying what they thought would be the holiday of a lifetime, the under-siege employees of the grand hotel, as well as the terrorists themselves. For 68 hours, hundreds were held hostage as shots rang out and an enormous fire raged. When the smoke cleared, 31 people were dead and many more had been injured. Only the courageous actions of staff and guests — including Mallika Jagad, Bob Nichols, and Taj general manager Binny Kang — prevented a much higher death toll" explains Deadline's Ali Jaafar.

 

If you can't wait to see the film, whet your appetite with Scott-Clark and Levy's fascinating book, available to buy at booksellers now.

Happy Publication Day Rachael Ball!

Happy publication day to Rachael Ball, whose startling graphic novel The Inflatable Woman, has been released by Bloomsbury Publishing today. 

Iris (or balletgirl-42 as she's known on the internet dating circuit) is a zookeeper looking for love when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Overnight, her life becomes populated with a carnival of daunting hospital characters. Despite the attempts of her friends – Maud, Granma Suggs, Larry the Monkey and a group of singing penguins – to comfort her, Iris's fears begin to encircle her until all she has to cling to is the attention of a lighthouse keeper called sailor_buoy_39.

The Inflatable Woman combines magic realism with the grit of everyday life to create a poignant and surreal journey inside the human psyche. 

“Rachael Ball illustrates a world in soft pencil full of pint-sized nurses, musical penguins and romantic sailors. Her world is so magical you can almost forget the ever present cancer lurking in the blackness that surrounds the panels. This stunning debut graphic novel slips in and out of dreams, poetry and nightmares beautifully illustrating the power of imagination and the unconscious when confronted with the harshest realities of life” –  Karrie Fransman, author of The House That Groaned

“Rachael Ball's magical drawings reflect both the fantasy and mundanity of the everyday. She presents the reader with a world of astonishing wonder and beauty through marks of the ordinary humble pencil, inviting us to look at our own lives anew” –  Nicola Streeten, author of Billy, Me & You

"Inspiring. Poignant. Wonderfully unconventional." - The Sunday Telegraph

"In her debut book cartoonist Rachael Ball joins the likes of Mary Talbot and Una in the emerging trend of translating complex stories of women’s rights and health into graphic novel form. Aside from beautiful artwork, the biggest accomplishment of these books is their concise handling of vast subjects while intensifying their power and emotion. Despite its length The Inflatable Woman tells a story with even fewer words than others. It follows Iris – or balletgirl_42 as she calls herself online – as she endures breast cancer. Almost fully drawn in pencil, there is a stark, moving realism in the dowdy central character’s plight. Despite this, the story moves seamlessly from harsh realities into dreams, nightmares and fantasy, reflecting both the whirlwind surrealism of Iris’s illness and the world that opens up to her as she enters remission. Ball’s is a welcome addition to a growing genre that is making both the graphic novel and women’s issues reach a wider audience, in an accessible way, while providing readers with good reason to hold on to the book as an object." - Antonia Charlesworth, Big Issue North

Buy it here and follow Rachael on Twitter, here - @rachaelcartoons

National Theatre Wales Stages Christopher Logue's WAR MUSIC

 Richard Lynch and Llion Williams in Iliad. Photograph: Farrows Creative/National Theatre Wales

Richard Lynch and Llion Williams in Iliad. Photograph: Farrows Creative/National Theatre Wales

ILIAD, The National Theatre Wales' theatrical staging of Christopher Logue's War Music from directors Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes (The Persians and Coriolan/us), is currently showing at The Ffwrnes creative centre for the arts in Carmarthenshire. 

“In the beginning there was no Beginning,

And in the end, no End…”

Bringing their trademark vision to the classic Greek story, this multimedia retelling of the final weeks of the Trojan War is told by a cast of great Welsh actors, including Melanie Walters (Gavin and Stacey), Richard Lynch (Coriolan/us, Pobol y Cwm) and Daniel Hawksford (Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage & Praxis Makes Perfect) along with a troupe of interfering teenage gods. ILIAD immerses you in a vast, 360-degree cinematic landscape.

Audience members can choose to experience the four individual shows separately, or be a part of one of two extraordinary marathon performances - either all-day or overnight (on the night of Sat 3 Oct).

Passion. Betrayal. Courage. Rage. Comradeship. Loss. Loyalty. War. Heroes rebel; Kings and gods clash … who can win in this brutal battle between men, gods and fate?

The Guardian gave ILIAD five stars, describing the "theatremaking [as] steely and severe, but ... also bracingly alive. ILIAD is certainly the theatrical event of the year. It may be the theatrical event of the decade." 

ILIAD runs to 3rd October - book tickets here.

Ed Smith shortlisted for Arts, Culture and Entertainment Commentator of the Year

  © New Statesman

© New Statesman

We're delighted to share that author, columnist and former cricketer, Ed Smith, has been shortlisted to win the Arts, Culture and Entertainment Commentator of the Year at The Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2015. The awards, in their seventh year, are an annual celebration of the UK's best comment journalism. In previous years, commentators such as David Aaronovitch and Clive James have won prizes. 

Ed Smith writes a weekly column for the New Statesman and his previous books include Playing Hard BallOn and Off the Field - the Wisden Book of the Year and shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and The Cricket Society Book of the Year Award - and the critically acclaimed, What Sport Tells Us About Life. 

His latest book, Luck - A Fresh Look at Fortune traces the history of the concepts of luck and fortune, destiny and fate, from the ancient Greeks to the present day.

The winners are announced on 24th November.

Follow Ed on Twitter - @edsmithwriter for updates.

 

Deepti Kapoor's A BAD CHARACTER longlisted for the Prix Medicis Etranger

We're thrilled to share that Deepti Kapoor's debut novel, A Bad Character, published in the UK by Jonathan Cape, has reached the longlist of the Prix Médicis Etranger. The Prix Médicis, founded in 1958, is awarded to authors whose 'fame does not yet match their talent' and was expanded to include authors in translation in 1970. 

Deepti's haunting debut novel was published in France by Seuil in August. 

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My boyfriend died when I was twenty-one. His body was left lying broken in the highway out of Delhi while the sun rose in the desert to the east. I wasn’t there, I never saw it. But plenty of others saw, in the trucks that passed by without stopping, and from the roadside dhaba where he’d been drinking all night.

Then they wrote about him in the paper. Twelve lines buried in the middle pages, one line standing out, the last one, in which a cop he’d never met said to the reporter, He was known to us, he was a bad character.

This is the story of Idha, a young woman who finds escape from the arranged marriage and security that her middle-class world has to offer through a chance encounter with a charismatic, dangerous young man. She is quickly exposed to the thrilling, often illicit pleasures that both the city, Delhi, and her body can hold. But as the affair continues, and her double life deepens, her lover’s increasingly unstable behaviour carries them past the point of no return, where grief, love and violence threaten to transform his madness into her own.

A novel about female desire, A Bad Character shows us a Delhi we have not seen in fiction before: a city awash with violence, rage and corruption.

Rhian Ivory's THE BOY WHO DREW THE FUTURE sells to China

We're delighted to share that Chinese translation rights in Rhian Ivory's brilliant YA novel, The Boy Who Drew the Future, have sold to Beijing United Creation Culture Media Co. Ltd., thanks to the Rights People and Big Apple Agency, Inc. It'll be wonderful to see Rhian's beautiful novel, which was published by Firefly Press this September, in translation. 

 

The Boy Who Drew the Future

Two boys, over a hundred years apart, have the same gift or curse — they draw things that come true.

Blaze (1860s) swaps his pictures for protection, with threats of the workhouse and witch trials hanging over him.

Noah (2010s) tries all he can to stop drawing, but the more he fights, the more it takes over. He just wants to pass for normal in his new school. As he gets closer to Beth, will he give himself away?

One boy hiding in the past, one in the present. Can their futures set them free?

 

Praise for The Boy Who Drew the Future

‘Rhian Ivory’s book is FREAKING MINT. It gave me the feeling I had when I was young reading a book & being so captivated by it I was transported somewhere else.’ Rae Earl (My Mad Fat Diary)

‘Tense, atmospheric, creepy and romantic. I loved The Boy Who Drew the Future.’ Lee Weatherly (The 'Angel' series)

‘Noah, Blaze and their compelling, intertwined stories will stay with you long after the final page’ Ruth Warburton (Witch Finder, A Witch in Winter)

DGA welcomes Jessica J Lee

We're delighted to welcome Jessica J Lee to to DGA. Jessica is currently finishing a doctoral dissertation in Environmental History and is writing a nature memoir chronicling her year swimming fifty-two different lakes in and around Berlin - one a week, no wet-suits allowed. 

For German-speakers among you, Jessica has recently appeared on Radio Berlin speaking about her challenge, which is creating quite a buzz (RBB Online, Postdamer Neueste NachrichtenBerliner Zeitung).

Thankfully, Jessica has also written for the blog, SlowTravelBerlin.com about her endeavours (in English!). 

 

William Dalrymple wins the Kapuściński Prize

 A photo of the prize itself courtesy of W. Dalrymple

A photo of the prize itself courtesy of W. Dalrymple

Many congratulations go to William Dalrymple for winning the prestigious Kapuściński Prize for Literary Reportage. His book, Return of a King is the most recent winner of the award established in 2010 by the Council of the Capital City of Warsaw to celebrate books of reportage and honour the legacy of the journalist and writer Ryzard Kapuściński.

Brilliant news!

 

Love and Betrayal in India: The White Mughal, airs tonight with William Dalrymple

Make sure you tune in to BBC 4 tonight (3rd September) to watch historian and author William Dalrymple travel to the Deccan Plains of India to trace the romantic love affair between a British diplomat and a young Muslim princess. James Achilles Kirkpatrick was the British East India Company resident at the court of Hyderabad when he risked everything, converting to Islam and, sources suggest, even becoming a double agent, to marry Khair un Nissa 'Most Excellent among Women.'

Pursuing this compelling story of seduction and betrayal through the archives across both continents, Dalrymple unearths a world almost entirely unexplored by history. Kirkpatrick's behaviour might appear to breach the conventional boundaries of empire, but it was not unique. At the turn of the 18th century, one in three British men in India, known as white mughals, lived with Indian women, wore local dress and adopted Indian ways, much to the embarrassment of successive colonial administrations. To protect them from growing disapproval their mixed race children were sent back to England for their education and were ultimately absorbed into Victorian society.

Dalrymple tells the story of the Kirkpatricks and their children through the art and architecture of the time - from the classic Georgian portraiture of George Chinnery and Thomas Hickey to the fantastical Deccani miniatures of Venkatchellam and Tajully Ali Shah. And in this melding of influences, he asks why Christian and Islamic cultures cannot be at one again when once they made great marriages and produced such outstanding art.

Watch the programme on iPlayer here.

Happy Publication day to Lucy Inglis and Alex Campbell!

Readers are spoilt today with the release of two brilliant new YA titles; Lucy Inglis' Crow Mountain (Chicken House Books) and Alex Campbell's Cloud 9 (Hot Key Books)

Alex Campbell - Cloud 9

Life's short. Enjoy it.

This is the slogan of Leata, the wonder-drug that sixteen-year-old Hope has been taking since she was a child, just like the rest of her family. Well, the rest of the country really. For who would choose not to take it - a perfectly safe little pill that just helps 'take the edge off' life. Because everyone can do with a little help staying happy sometimes . . . Especially Hope, whose life is maybe not as perfect as she likes to make out on her blog. 

Tom's never taken Leata. Why would he? His family are happy as they are. At least they were, until the sudden death of his journalist father. The police are unequivocal: his dad killed himself. But Tom just can't believe it. Consumed by grief, he obsessively begins to unravel the trail that leads to his dad's final news story.

And Hope is there to help. As a Leata-backed blogger, Hope wants to steer Tom into 'positive living'. Instead, her efforts take them down a path she could never have expected - into the murky underworld that lies beneath the surface of the 'happy' drug everyone wants to love . . . and the secrets it will kill to hide.

Buy Cloud 9 here.

 

Lucy Inglis - Crow Mountain

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Fate sets two English girls, Hope and Emily, on parallel journeys more than a hundred years apart ...

While on holiday in Montana, Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch-hand. Caught in a freak accident, the two of them take shelter in a mountain cabin where Hope makes a strange discovery.

More than a hundred years earlier, another English girl met a similar fate. Her rescuer: a horse-trader called Nate. In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined.

Grab a copy of Crown Mountain here.

Richard Benson wins James Tait Black Prize

We are delighted to announce that Richard Benson won the James Tait Black Prize for his biography The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Yorkshire Family (Bloomsbury). The winners of the awards, worth £ 10,000 each, were announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. 

Biography judge Dr Jonathan Wild, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Richard Benson’s book represents a remarkable reclamation of a once prevalent social group now almost entirely gone. Benson draws upon the history of his family to bring back to life the sort of mining community that once populated large swaths of the British landscape. He does this with an uncanny eye for details that allows his forebears to spring off the page and into life.”

The other biographies shortlisted were In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies (Quercus), Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes (Bloomsbury), and Other People’s Countries: A Journey into Memory by Patrick McGuinness (Jonathan Cape).

The James Tait Black Prizes were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books.

THE INFLATABLE WOMAN, a graphic novel by Rachael Ball to be published by Bloomsbury

We're thrilled to tell everyone that Bloomsbury will be publishing the debut graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman, by British cartoonist and teacher Rachael Ball, in October.

The book is inspired by Ball’s own experience of breast cancer and tells the story of Irish, a zookeeper and internet dater diagnosed with cancer. Bloomsbury describe the book as “a charming but poignant story of illness, friendship and resilience which combines magic realism with the grit of everyday life to create a poignant and surreal journey inside the human psyche”.  It has been written and illustrated, in black and white pencil, by Ball. Ball’s work has previously appeared in the TLS and the Radio Times.

Alexa von Hirschberg, senior fiction editor at Bloomsbury, bought world rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. The book is being published in October to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To see an array of Rachael's wonderful drawings visit her website here and follow @rachaelcartoons on Twitter. 

Hodder & Stoughton acquires Clover Stroud's "powerful" memoir

Hodder & Stoughton has acquired a “powerful account of grief, motherhood, depression and the healing power of horses”.

Assistant editor Maddy Price bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Clover Stroud’s book, provisionally titled To The Horses, from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates.

When Stroud was 16 her mother had a riding accident which left her severely brain-damaged - a terrible tragedy which set in motion a journey that would take her across the world – to Ireland, west Texas and the Caucasus. She goes on to find real closure in returning to Oxfordshire, the place where she grew up, and a house in the shadow of the White Horse at Uffington.

Price said: ‘”All of us at Hodder & Stoughton were blown away by the quality of Clover’s writing and her insight. She addresses some very powerful themes – and at times her honesty is shocking. But Clover’s story is ultimately an uplifting one, and the result is a wonderful read.”

Stroud, a journalist writing for the Sunday Times and the Spectator among others, said: “Writing this book has been an emotional process for me, but I'm so excited to be sharing my story now. I hope that readers will find something in my writing that touches them, whether they are mothers themselves, have experienced grief or depression, or simply share my deep love for horses, nature and the outdoor world.”

Stroud’s memoir will be published in spring 2017 in hardback, trade paperback and e-book.

Dutch rights sold in Meena Kandasamy's THE GYPSY GODDESS

We are thrilled to announce that the Dutch publishing house Atlas Contact has acquired Dutch rights in THE GYPSY GODDESS by debut author Meena Kandasamy. The novel, published by Atlantic, is a brilliantly original, ferociously angry and at times laugh-out loud funny book about a true life massacre in rural India in 1968 in which a group of striking Dalit village labourers were murdered by a gang sent by their landlords. The book is as much about a true life massacre as it is about the impossibility of writing a novel about a true life massacre.

Jessica Nash, head of foreign fiction at Atlas Contact says: ‘We are thrilled to publish Meena Kandasamy’s furious, funny, heart-breaking novel The Gypsy Goddess. It has been a while since I have read something so well constructed yet structurally supple, so formally playful yet deadly serious. Metafiction – and a very good story to boot. It is challenging, scintillating, thought-provoking and poetic.’

The book received a huge amount of media attention with rave reviews in The Guardian, The Times and The Independent. The Times called the book ‘Dazzling, maddening and often hilarious.’ And The Guardian says: ‘Powerful…The Gypsy Goddess has a lyrical, radical core, which offers bold perspectives on the relationship between poverty and power.’

Foreign rights have also been sold to Wunderhorn Verlag in Germany. 

Reviews for Sarah Ward's IN BITTER CHILL

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If you're a crime fan or just looking for a gripping summer read, Sarah Ward's debut novel can't be missed. It's been the subject of so many wonderful reviews recently, we can't recommend it enough! 

‘An intelligent and fast-paced debut, In Bitter Chill is a tale of loss and long-hidden secrets that makes for uncomfortable and disturbing reading. Chilling and thrilling in equal measure, it showcases Ward's undoubted prowess as a writer.' - Stylist, Book Wars

'A top-class, page-turning debut.' - Woman & Home

Thriller of the month in Good Housekeeping.

'A promising debut' - Laura Wilson, Guardian

'A tense, well-told story of loss and family secrets.' - Carla McKay, Daily Mail

'The title suggests that this debut novel ought to be yet another example of Nordic Noir and, although it is set in rural Derbyshire, it does have a Scandinavian sensibility exerting its grip through strength of characterisation.' - Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express magazine

'In Bitter Chill features a compelling, complex plot, loaded with emotive issues, fascinating psychological insights, a pervasive sense of unease and gripping police procedural. Ward’s cast of outstanding characters, from the police officers and the victims to a local community with a shared history, are powerfully portrayed.' - Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

'Enthralling, intelligent, and profoundly moving, In Bitter Chill effectively combines a vivid picture of a now lost era when parents thought it was safe to let their children roam free in the countryside with a harder-edged age in which the risk of abduction and abuse is ever present.' - Andy Lawrence, Eurodrama

‘It’s always baffled me that more crime authors don’t use family history as a theme in their stories. So hats off to Sarah Ward whose debut novel, In Bitter Chill, pulls in all those birth, marriage and death certificates, local records, genealogical charts and dark family secrets into a police procedural. And it’s all the more powerful for doing so.’ - Crime Fiction Lover

'Easy reading for a hot summer's day' - Shiny New Books

‘One of the standout debut’s that I’ve read so far this year.’ Liz Loves Books

‘...this is a extremely well-written, accomplished debut, which, in spite of its chilly title, is a perfect summer read. Get that deckchair out now and enjoy!’ - Mrs Peabody Investigates

‘I'm conscious that one has to be wary of comparing one writer with another, but the other comparison that did cross my mind when reading this book was with Ann Cleeves. Ann has a gift for combing her well-plotted mysteries with sound evocation of character and place, a gift that amazingly was long under-estimated before the massive success of Veraand Shetland caused her to receive her well-deserved international acclaim.I don't expect Sarah to have to wait as long for widespread recognition. She is, like Ann, someone whose work demonstrates an understanding of human frailty, but also a good deal of compassion, a combination that is very appealing to many readers.’ - Martin Edwards, Do You Write Under Your Own Name

If we haven't convinced you already, get hold of a copy and let us know what you think!

Buy the book here. 

Julian Sedgwick's THE GHOSTS OF SHANGHAI published today!

It's time to wish Julian Sedgwick a Happy Publication Day as his excellent new book The Ghosts of Shanghai is published today!

Obsessed with martial arts and ghost stories, Ruby is part of a gang of Chinese and ex-pat children who hide out in ruined White Cloud Temple. But the world of Shanghai in the late 1920s is driven with danger: disease, crime, espionage and revolution are sweeping the streets. And since the death of her younger brother Thomas, Ruby is stalked by another anxiety and fear.

Faced with a series of local hauntings, and armed with a lucky bookshop find - The Almanac of Distant Realms - Ruby forms the Shanghai Ghost Club to hunt down restless spirits. When best friend Faye is kidnapped by the Green Hand, Ruby must trust a mysterious stranger - and face her worst fears - in order to save her friends, and her own life. And in the ensuing fight she will catch a glimpse of the one spirit she has longed to see ...

The secrets that Ruby's father and friends have kept from her are coming back to haunt them all.

Watch the trailer below and buy a copy of the book here, today!

About Julian

Julian Sedgwick resolved to become a writer at the age of 12. He has written continuously since then - but got sidetracked along the way - and has subsequently worked as a painter, bookseller, researcher and advisor for film and TV, graphic artist and therapist. A lifelong interest in Asian culture led him to study Chinese and Philosophy at university and has shaped much of his working life. In his spare time he is a fire juggler and spends as much time as possible drawing. Recently he has been co-writing with his brother - the children's author, Marcus Sedgwick - working on a graphic novel, and various film projects. Julian lives in the Cambridgeshire Fens with his wife and two sons.

Happy Publication Day to Sarah Ward!

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Crime fans are in for a treat. Sarah Ward's debut novel, In Bitter Chill, is published today by Faber & Faber. 

he novel takes us back to 1978, when a small town in Derbyshire, England is traumatised by the kidnapping of two young schoolgirls. One girl, Rachel, is later found unharmed but unable to remember anything except that her abductor was a woman.

Over thirty years later the mother of the still missing Sophie commits suicide. Superintendent Llewellyn, who was a young constable on the 1978 case, asks DI Francis Sadler and DC Connie Childs to look again at the kidnapping to see if modern police methods can discover something that the original team missed. However, Sadler is convinced that a more recent event triggered Yvonne Jenkins’s suicide.

Rachel, with the help of her formidable mother and grandmother, recovered from the kidnapping and has become a family genealogist. She remembers nothing of the abduction and is concerned that, after Yvonne Jenkins’s suicide, the national media will be pursuing her for a story once more. Days later, the discovery of one of her former teachers’ strangled body suggested a chain of events is being unleashed.

Rachel and the police must unpick the clues to discover what really happened all those years ago. But in doing so, they discover that the darkest secrets can be the ones closest to you.

 

Praise for In Bitter Chill

In Bitter Chill deserves to be one of the stand out debuts of 2015. A tense, page-turning mystery that grips readers from the first. I’m looking forward to more from Sarah Ward.’ William Ryan

‘The most engaging debut I have come across in a long time. In Bitter Chill gives the Scandi authors a run for their money.’ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

‘In Bitter Chill is an elegant and thoughtful novel, as well as a compassionate investigation into the dark heart of family relationships and the lurking power of long buried secrets. This is a fine debut, and Sarah Ward is a writer to watch.’ Chris Ewan

‘A twisted, skilful and entirely intriguing mystery.’ Quentin Bates

‘Relentless, compelling, and meticulously suspenseful. Fans of Ian Rankin and Elizabeth George will rejoice at this atmospheric and authentic debut, expertly told, where modern-day police struggle to untangle disturbing secrets of the past. Terrific.’ Hank Phillippi Ryan

 ‘A very assured first novel, with compellingly good story-telling and a deep humanity.’ Alison Joseph

‘This remarkable debut is an intricate and thoroughly intriguing crime thriller. A masterclass in plotting and character, it is realistically set and compellingly told. I struggled to put it down.’ Zoë Sharp

‘A beautifully woven mystery which, like a peak district winter, chilled this reader to the bone.’ Steven Dunne

‘ A fine debut, with well conceived characters and an engaging story.’ Paul Johnston

Congratulations Sarah! 

Make sure you buy the book here

The Georgian Menagerie by Christopher Plumb published today!

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Christopher Plumb's extraordinary book The Georgian Menagerie: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth Century London is out today from I.B. Tauris.

In the eighteenth century, it would not have been impossible to encounter an elephant or a kangaroo making its way down the Strand, heading towards the menagerie of Mr. Pidcock at the Exeter Change. Pidcock's was just one of a number of commercial menagerists who plied their trade in London in this period the predecessors to the zoological societies of the Victorian era. As the British Empire expanded and seaborne trade flooded into London's ports, the menagerists gained access to animals from the most far-flung corners of the globe, and these strange creatures became the objects of fascination and wonder. Many aristocratic families sought to create their own private menageries with which to entertain their guests, while for the less well-heeled, touring exhibitions of exotic creatures both alive and dead satisfied their curiosity for the animal world. While many exotic creatures were treasured as a form of spectacle, others fared less well turtles went into soups and civet cats were sought after for ingredients for perfume. In this entertaining and enlightening book, Plumb introduces the many tales of exotic animals in London.

Reviews

'From magnificent menageries to an apothecary's pet rodent, Christopher Plumb's book is a fascinating look into the role animals played in eighteenth century British lives. Full of great primary research into a wealth of interesting records, this is a work to delight the heart of anyone with a love for how the real Georgians lived.' 
Lucy Inglis, author of Georgian London

‘Christopher Plumb's entertaining book fills in the detail of a world only vaguely sensed. It appears that the streets of Georgian London were thronged with exotic animals and Plumb shows that these were more fully a part of the Georgian world than has previously been understood. Exotic animals were commodities to be entertained by  and to consume. This book adds not only to our growing understanding of the surprisingly large scale presence of exotic animals in England since the Renaissance but also to our grasp on the textures of life in the always fascinating streets, inns and drawing rooms of Georgian London.’
John Simons, author of The Tiger That Swallowed the Boy: Exotic Animals in Victorian England 

Happy Publication Day Christopher! 

Buy the book here.

Simon Armitage is voted Oxford University's Professor of Poetry

We couldn't be more thrilled for Simon Armitage now that he has been appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, after winning 1,221 of the 3,340 votes cast by Oxford University students and alumni. 

Armitage, who will hold the position for four years, beat off competition from Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka (who came second with 920 votes), A E Stallings, Ian Gregson and Sean Haldane. He replaces Geoffrey Hill.

Speaking to the Guardian after the appointment was announced, Armitage said he was “delighted and very excited and suitably daunted as well”. He said he wanted to show students that the position is not “a platform for professorial grandstanding”, adding: “For me, it’s a chance to say something a little bit more contemporary. Often it’s been professors talking about previous generations. I feel as if I’d like to bring thing up to date. To look at poetry today, in dialogue with the poetry of the past.”

Armitage’s works include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Faber), Little Green Man (Penguin) and The Dead Sea Poems (Faber), and he was awarded a CBE for services to poetry in 2010.

In his application for the role of professor of poetry he said he fell under poetry’s spell when he was 15. “At first I only wanted to read poetry, then eventually and inevitably wanted to try myhand at the stuff. Now, after so many years in the field, I feel I have plenty to say on the subject and a desire to talk and write about it.”

Previous holders of the position have included Seamus Heaney, W H Auden and Robert Graves.

Congratulations Simon!