Reviews: Luke Harding's A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON

Published in March by Guardian/Faber, Luke Harding's A Very Expensive Poison has been receiving some wonderful reviews. 

The Evening Standard explains - "This extraordinarily pacy book - I downed it in two session - by the Guardian's former Moscow correspondent is one of the best political thrillers I have come across in years. It is also a wonderful guide to criminality and power in today's Russia..."  

From The Times, "Harding ... tells this ghastly tale with real authority, wit and panache ... The book is as "definitive" as it claims, though "national security" means that the MI6 aspect of the story will never emerge. It is not only Russia that needs a change" and the Sunday Times, "Harding's book adds fascinating depth and context to an extraordinary story."

The New Statesmen says the book is "Pacy and impassioned ... Harding paints deft portraits of the tragi-comic duo suspected of carrying out the crime." While Bill Browder, author of Red Notice says, "A Very Expensive Poison reads like a John Le Carré spy novel, but shockingly it's all true. Luke Harding has followed the criminality of the Putin regime from Russia to the West and his story leaves us with terrible feelings of dread about what Putin will do next."

Buy the book here - Guardian Bookshop

Follow Luke on Twitter - @lukeharding1968

Sarah Ward's A PATIENT FURY to be published by Faber



We have some brilliant news to end the week as Faber has acquired Sarah Ward's new novel A Patient Fury which is a gripping psychological thriller with a Scandinavian sensibility, set in the Peak District. A Patient Fury will tell the story of a deadly house fire that reveals deeply hidden family secrets and long-held resentments that have devastating consequences.

World all languages for A Patient Fury, plus one further novel, were acquired from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA.

Ward's debut novel, In Bitter Chill, was widely acclaimed and Faber is publishing the sequel, A Deadly Thaw, in September. Mitzi Angel, publisher at Faber & Faber, said: 'There is a tidal wave of enthusiasm for Sarah's writing from the entire team at Faber. She has a very exciting career ahead of her and we are delighted to be publishing two further books—she represents a very important part of the list.'

Sarah has reviewed for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Eurocrime. Her articles have appeared in the Sunday Express magazine, Traveller and other publications. She is a judge for The Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel.

Clementine Beauvais wins the Prix Sorcières

We're thrilled to announce that Clementine Beauvais has won the prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Sorcières with her book Les Petites reines in the teen category! The book was published in France last year by Editions Sarbacane and will be published in the UK by Pushkin Press.

The prize, which has been awarded each year since 1986 is judged jointly between the ALSJ (Association des Librairies Spécialisées Jeunesseand the ABF (Association des Bibliothécaires de France) and recognises several different children's categories. Congratulations Clementine!  

Because of their apparently unattractive looks, Mireille, Astrid and Hakima have won the "pudding contest" in their school. Brought together by their unwanted win the three girls discover that their fates are intertwined by a specific date and place: Paris, the Elysee on 14th July where they're all attending the famous garden party!

Summer for the "three puddings" is mapped out - they ride to Paris by bike, just like the local street vendors would while selling their pudding! What they did not expect was that their journey would attract media attention, turning the unlikely trio into celebrities.

Through winding alleyways, uncontrollable laughter, squabbles and interrogations, the three girls travel the roads of France, eating cheese, visiting castles and dancing their way through their adventurous journey. 

Happy Publication Day, Sharon Blackie!

We're wishing a very happy publication day to Sharon Blackie, whose If Women Rose Rooted: The Power of the Celtic Woman is out today from September Publishing.

‘Mind-blowing and profound in the most exhilarating sense.’ Manda Scott, author of the Boudica series and Into the Fire

Aged 30, Sharon Blackie found herself weeping in the car park of the multinational corporation where she worked, wondering if this was what a nervous breakdown felt like. Somewhere along the line, she realised, she had lost herself – and so began her long journey back to authenticity, rootedness and belonging.

In this extraordinary book of myth, memoir and modern-day mentors,  Blackie faces the wasteland of Western culture, the repression of women and the devastation of our planet. She boldly names the challenge: to reimagine women’s place in the world, and to rise up, firmly rooted in our own native landscapes and the Celtic stories and wisdom which spring from them.

A haunting Heroine’s Journey for every woman who finds inspiration and solace in the natural world.

Buy the book and follow Sharon on Twitter - @SharonBlackie

Jessica J. Lee's TURNING Acquired by Hamish Hamilton Canada

Jessica twitter photo.jpg

Lots of exciting news today as we can announce Hamish Hamilton Canada have acquired Jessica J. Lee's TURNING: A YEAR IN THE WATER. Penguin Canada VP, Nicole Winstanley acquired Canadian rights and has said of the memoir, "I'm not sure which I admire more: her polished and elegant prose, the fine balance she achieves between the stillness of nature and the intensity of emotion, or the exceptional challenge she set herself - to swim in one of Berlin’s lakes each week for a year. This is the rarest sort of literary memoir..."

TURNING is a nature memoir chronicling Jessica J. Lee’s year of swimming. She swims throughout the seasons — through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter. She swims to explore the natural history of fresh water and to examine her own place and identity in the world.

In the summer of 2015 she began swimming across fifty-two lakes in and around Berlin. The idea was, simply, to visit a different lake each week of the year, reclaiming the emotional and physical space of the water. She hiked and cycled to the lakes, with no cars and no wetsuits — just herself, and the water.

TURNING will be published in the UK by Lennie Goodings at Virago and in Germany by Berlin Verlag.

Chatto & Windus Acquire Second Book by Suzanne O'Sullivan

Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director of Chatto & Windus, has acquired world rights, all languages, in Brainstorm by Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan from Kirsty McLachlan at DGA, for publication in 2018. In her new book Suzanne O’Sullivan, one of the UK’s leading neurologists and epilepsy specialists, will take us on a tour of the brain. Using the lens of epilepsy – unwanted electrical discharges, or brainstorms, that occur in different parts of the brain with dramatically varied results – she will show us right inside this endlessly fascinating, mysterious organ.

Suzanne’s first book, It’s All in Your Head, was published in hardback last year to critical acclaim, blanket media coverage and strong home and overseas sales, with rights sold in seven overseas markets. The book, a sympathetic exploration of the very real world of psychosomatic illness, has also just been shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

Becky Hardie said ‘It’s been an amazing experience working with Suzanne on It’s All in Your Head and the news of the Wellcome Book Prize shortlisting is the icing on the cake. This new book will be the perfect combination of medical expertise with wonderful writing, especially Suzanne’s exceptional ability to bring her patients’ stories alive on the page.’  

Suzanne said ‘It was an honour to have the opportunity to work with Chatto on my first book and I am thrilled to be given the chance to do so again. The stories my patients have to tell are delicate and personal and I know that they are in safe hands, as am I.’

Movement in Monmouth Street

After sharing an office in London for almost a year, Susanna Lea Associates and David Godwin Associates have decided to join forces on selling their foreign and North American rights. The logistical advantages are substantial for DGA as SLA have offices in Paris and New York, as well as London. Kerry Glencorse will continue to run the SLA London office. Lisette Verhagen will continue to work on all DGA titles and will also assist SLA in a number of European territories. "We are sure that this is going to be a terrifically successful partnership and we are delighted" said Heather and David Godwin. “DGA has such a wonderful list --  we are thrilled and honoured to be working with David and his team” said Susanna Lea.

Marcus Sedgwick shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal

More brilliant news today as we're delighted to announce that Marcus Sedgwick has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal for his YA book, The Ghosts of Heaven. Congratulations Marcus!

The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book written in English for young people.

Dawn Finch, president of CILIP, said: “We are without doubt in a golden age of children’s books. From stories set in Victorian times and World War One to a modern day library, from fantasy worlds to the future, these shortlists showcase the enormous talent and unlimited imagination currently to be found in children’s storytelling. There are characters to fall in love and go on adventures with and journeys and discoveries to be made. Each and every one of the books on the shortlists could be a worthy winner and all of them are truly deserving of a global audience.”

Sioned Jacques, chair of the judging panel, added: “These exceptionally strong shortlists reflect the huge range of writing and illustrating talent in children’s publishing at the moment… Our shortlisted writers and illustrators don’t shy away from difficult or big ideas but skilfully introduce them to young readers in ways that are gripping, moving, entertaining but always, without exception, page-turning.”

The winner will be announced 20th June at a ceremony at the British Library. The winner will receive a £5,000 cash prize.

Buy the book!

Follow Marcus on Twitter - @marcussedgwick

Suzanne O'Sullivan's IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD reaches shortlist of Wellcome Book Prize 2016

We're absolutely thrilled that Suzanne O'Sullivan's It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness has reached the shortlist of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016. The book was published by Chatto & Windus.

"The 2016 shortlist showcases the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through six exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction," and the winner will be announced 25th April. 

'Even if medical tests cannot explain your pain or tiredness or disability, it does not lessen your suffering. The pain of medically unexplained illness is every bit as real as any other and, if anything, is multiplied by the lack of understanding.' 

Most of us accept the way our heart flutters when we set eyes on the one we secretly admire, or the sweat on our brow as we start the presentation we do not want to give. But few of us are fully aware of how dramatic our body’s reactions to emotions can sometimes be.

In It’s All in Your Head consultant neurologist Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan takes us on a journey through the very real world of psychosomatic illness. She takes us from the extreme -- from paralysis, seizures and blindness -- to more everyday problems such as tiredness and pain. Meeting her patients, she encourages us to look deep inside the human condition. There we find the secrets we are all capable of keeping from ourselves, and our age-old failure to credit the intimate and extraordinary connection between mind and body.

Keep up to date with the Wellcome Prize on Twitter - @wellcomebkprize 

Lucy Inglis wins YA Romantic Novel of the Year

Lucy Inglis has won the YA Romantic Novel of the Year award 2016 from the Romantic Novelist's Association with her book Crow Mountain. Congratulations Lucy! The novel was published by Chicken House last September.

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.

Follow Lucy on Twitter here - @lucyinglis

Ian Williams' graphic novel, 'THE LADY DOCTOR' aquired by Myriad

We're excited to announce that Myriad has acquired the highly anticipated new graphic novel by GP and comics artist Ian Williams - we couldn't wait to share their press release.

The Lady Doctor is the follow-up companion volume to Ian’s critically acclaimed debut, The Bad Doctor, about the life and times of rural GP Iwan James.

The Lady Doctor focuses on one of Iwan’s fellow doctors, 40-year-old Lois Pritchard, who is balancing her career as a Genitourinary Medicine specialist with a disastrous romantic life as well as a momentous decision regarding her estranged mother. Myriad’s Creative Director and Graphics Editor, Corinne Pearlman, bought World rights to The Lady Doctor from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates and Myriad will publish in 2018.

‘From the moment we see Lois nipping out of the back of the surgery for a fag, we know we will get a good story!’ says Corinne Pearlman. ‘Ian has a lightness of touch and a wonderfully sly sense of humour that cuts across any worthiness of his achievement in the world of graphic medicine. He knows his comics and he loves to communicate using all the tools of his craft. We’re in for a treat.’

Ian Williams is also the author of ‘Sick Notes’, a weekly strip which appears in the Guardianchronicling the trials of the NHS. He has an international following as the founder ofGraphic Medicine, a network of comics artists creating stories about health, and is series editor of Penn State University Press’s Graphic Medicine imprint, which publishes the US edition of The Bad Doctor.

The Bad Doctor has attracted widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and been celebrated with a range of award nominations. Highly Commended at the 2015 British Medical Association Book Awards in the Primary Health Care Category, it was also shortlisted for the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize and longlisted for the British Comic Awards (Best Book), where Ian was longlisted in the Emerging Talent category.

Myriad is an independent publisher of fiction and graphic books based in Brighton, with a graphics list that has quickly become established as one of the most characterful and thought-provoking in the UK.

Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison to publish "freshers" YA novel

Excellent news for YA fans - it's just been announced that Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, the authors of Lobsters and Never Evers, are writing a new YA novel about the first year of university.

Freshers, which will be published by Chicken House and tells the story of two teenagers, one boy and one girl, as they “embark on their first year of university, a rollercoaster of love, sex and friendship”, and will feature many of the same characters from Lobsters.

Chicken House m.d. Barry Cunningham acquired world rights from Kirsty McLachlan here at DGA and will publish in August 2017.

Tom and Lucy’s first novel Lobsters, a YA romance, was published in June 2014 and was shortlisted for the inaugural YA Book Prize. Their second book, Never Evers, about a school ski trip, was published last month.

Buy Never Evers and Lobsters and hear Tom and Lucy chat about their books here. 

A Monday treat for you from M G Leonard's BEETLE BOY

Waterstones' Book of the Month, M G Leonard's BEETLE BOY is out now - buy it here!

... and if you can't wait, here's a treat from her publisher, Chicken House, to you.

The first darkly hilarious novel in a new trilogy by an exciting debut author - featuring exotic beetles, a daring quest, a mixture of bold male and female characters and a truly venomous villain! Darkus can't believe his eyes when a huge insect drops out of the trouser leg of his horrible new neighbour.

Happy Publication Day Frank Trentmann!

We're so pleased to be wishing a Happy Publication Day to Frank Trentmann, whose history of consumerism, Empire of Things is published today in hardback, ebook and audio.

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British empire to the present. Astonishingly wide-ranging and richly detailed, Empire of Things explores how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history, and the global challenges we face as a result.

You don't need to take our word for it when we say it's a brilliant read, chock-full with historical research.

"Trentmann has written a suitably gigantic book for a gigantic subject but the mass of detail he provides never overwhelms. This is a book that can be dipped into and enjoyed at leisure. The first half, in which he describes how the consumer culture took off, is especially fascinating. You can't not learn something new here." ~ Marcus Tanner, The Independent

"I have never encountered a work that so perfectly assesses the influence of shopping on the human experience. Empire of Things is a masterpiece of historical research but also a delight to read. Economic history is usually as dry as an overcooked turkey, yet this book consistently entertains while it informs. In contrast to many historians, Trentmann has the ability to write for the multitude without compromising on intellectual rigour." ~ Gerard DeGroot, The Times

"Frank Trentmann, professor of history at Birkbeck College, is not only an elegant, adventurous and colourful writer, he also manages the tricky balancing act of being eminently sensible and gleefully provocative. All too aptly, he has produced a thing to covet." ~ John Preston, The Daily Mail

Read an interview with Frank in the Times Higher Education Supplement here and listen live today at 1pm as he talks about the book with the RSA

To buy a beautiful copy of the book, find it in all good bookshops and online at any of the following stores - Foyles - Waterstones - Amazon - Hive and the audio book is available now from Audible

Simon & Schuster set to publish David Bowie biography by Paul Morley

©  Jonathan Ring

© Jonathan Ring

Simon & Schuster are set to publish music journalist Paul Morley's insightful take on the life of David Bowie - a "unique and personal biographical critique" after world rights (all languages) were sold to S&S Publishing Director, Iain MacGregor.

Morley is a fan of Bowie’s work across 40 years and was one of the curating team for the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition "David Bowie Is...".

The Age of Bowie is promised to "capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop", plus discuss in detail his "much-heralded and critically-acclaimed" comeback with the release of Black Star just before his death.

Morley said: "On the day it was announced that David Bowie had died, before there was any time to think, I was asked a hundred times what I thought. What I really thought was that it would take a book to help fully process what Bowie meant to me, to music and popular culture, and to the world out there that changed because of him. Then I thought, I need to write that book."

S&S will publish the book globally later this year with Gallery Books releasing it in the US simultaneously.

Great Reviews for Frank Trentmann's EMPIRE OF THINGS

Frank Trentmann's Empire of Things has been described as "a masterpiece of historical research but also a delight to read" by Gerard DeGroot in Saturday's Times. 

Set for release on 28th January 2016, Trentmann "brings a fresh dose of sanity to the consumerism debate". DeGroot explains that he's "never encountered a work that so perfectly assesses the influence of shopping on the human experience," and although economic history has a reputation of being dry and often tough to get to grips with, the book "consistently entertains while it informs. [He has] the ability to write for the multitude without compromising on intellectual rigour."

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present. Astonishingly wide-ranging and richly detailed, Empire of Things explores how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history, and the global challenges we face as a result.

Pre-order the book on Amazon, Hive and all other book retailers. The audio book is also available to pre-order here from Audible

Kanishk Tharoor's SWIMMER AMONG THE STARS is already attracting rave reviews

Kanishk Tharoor's eagerly anticipated collection of short stories, Swimmer Among the Stars, is set for release by Indian publisher's, Aleph, at the end of January 2016 and is already attracting incredible reviews. 

"Swimmer Among the Stars is a mesmeric introduction to a writer who must be neither judged by his second name nor age. It is the work of a storyteller who stands lucid on the cusp of reinventing storytelling. The year 2016 couldn't open on a more subtle alchemy for Indian literary fiction." India Today (read in full)

Set for publication by Picador (UK & Commonwealth) and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (N. America) in 2017, Amitav Ghosh says of the book - ‘Swimmer Among the Stars announces the arrival of a writer who is gifted not just with extraordinary talent but also with a subtle, original and probing mind.’ (read in full)

Follow Kanishk on Twitter - @kanishktharoor

Richard Benson wins the Portico Prize with THE VALLEY

We're really pleased to share that Richard Benson has won the prestigious Portico Prize in the non-fiction category for his book detailing life in the Dearne Valley and has been awarded £10,000.

Richard is the author of the number one bestseller The Farm, which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 2005 and a 2006 Richard and Judy Book Club choice. The Valley is published by Bloomsbury.

The close-knit villages of the Dearne Valley were home to four generations of the Hollingworth family. Spanning Richard Benson's great-grandmother Winnie's ninety-two years in the valley, and drawing on years of historical research, interviews and anecdotes, The Valley lets us into generations of carousing and banter as the family's attempts to build a better and fairer world for themselves meet sometimes with triumph, sometimes with bitter defeat.

Established by the Portico Library, Manchester in 1985, the Portico Prize for Literature is awarded biennially to the highest quality books set wholly or mainly in the North of England and is supported by the Arts Council England and The Zochonis Charitable Trust. The Portico Prize celebrates the strong regional and literary identity of the North of England with the aim of raising awareness of the diversity of its cultural, literary and historical heritage.

The Portico Library has a long association with northern writers, many of whom have been, or are members of the Library. The Portico Library is a key part of Manchester’s literary scene, and its hosting of a range of literary awards, known collectively as the Portico Prize Family, gives effect to the Portico’s wish to support and celebrate writing of outstanding quality and to honour the strong literary heritage of the North of England.

Fiction judge Professor Andrew Biswell said: "The Portico Prize is rightly regarded as one of our most valuable and prestigious literary awards. It's sometimes called 'the Booker Prize of the North,' but in fact the Portico recognises a much wider range of writing than the Man-Booker Prize for Fiction [...] The books have provoked a variety of emotions - as all great writing should - of which pleasure has been the strongest."

Follow Richard on twitter here - @_RichardBenson 

Lily Bernheimer's THE SHAPING OF US sells to Robinson Psychology

More good news at DGA - Robinson Psychology at the Little, Brown Book Group has bought The Shaping of Us by environmental psychology consultant Lily Bernheimer.

In The Shaping of Us Bernheimer talks about what our environment says about us and how it shapes us - whether public space, housing, workspaces, healthcare environments or cities.

Editorial director, Andrew McAleer, acquired World English language rights to the title from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates.

Bernheimer is the founding director for Space Works Consulting where she consults on how to make workspaces, dwellings, and urban environments work for the people and purpose they serve.

McAleer said: “Robinson is thrilled to be publishing Lily Bernheimer’s unique insight into the way our environment shapes our behaviour and our lives. Environmental psychology is a neglected and undervalued field which has much to say about the human condition, and we are delighted to be able to bring these fascinating studies to a wider audience.”

Robinson Psychology will publish in September 2017.

Virago to Publish Jessica J Lee's Swimming Memoir

Great news - rights to Jessica J Lee's swimming memoir Turning have been sold to Virago in the UK and Berlin Verlag in Germany. 

The intensity of swimming in lakes throughout the year is the subject of an extraordinary new nature memoir set to be published in 2017. Turning, referring to the moment in the season when the water changes, is the story of Jessica's relationship with the lakes of Berlin, Canada and Hampstead Heath in London. But this memoir isn't just about swimming, it's about a search for a better understanding of her childhood and the person she's become because of it. Through swimming in fifty-two lakes around Berlin she explores the natural history of fresh water and examines her own place and identity in the world. 

Virago's Lennie Goodings said: "I love the intensity and the stillness of this proposal. Finding a place in a landscape is something we all search for; using the particular metaphor of swimming seems to me a highly imaginative way to look at this search. As a swimmer myself, I fell in love with this idea almost immediately."
Jessica currently lives in Berlin. She has worked in primary schools, universities, coffee shops and on newspapers. Her core passion, however, is the environment, especially researching, exploring, and writing about the places that matter to her. She is in the final stages of a PhD on the environmental and cultural history of Hampstead Heath.