See below for the latest CaskieMushens' news - new signings, new deals, prizes, and bestsellers.
16th October 2019
HarperCollins wins 9-way auction for Girl A
Girl A, the debut novel by Abigail Dean, generated a nine-way auction for UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights. Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens negotiated a major six-figure, two-book deal with Julia Wisdom, the HarperFiction publisher.
North American rights went to Laura Tisdel at Viking in a seven-figure deal, negotiated by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency on behalf of Juliet Mushens. The novel has also been pre-empted in Brazil (Verus), France (JC Lattes), Holland (HarperCollins NL), Italy (Einaudi) and Sweden (Forum) and sold at auction in Spain (Ediciones B) and Lithuania (Alma Littera), with offers in Portugal and Israel. The TV/film rights are currently in negotiation via Sally Willcox at Paradigm.
Mushens, who turned down two significant six-figure pre-empts within 48 hours of submission, said: "I started the manuscript at my desk and ended up finishing Girl A on my phone as I couldn’t bear to stop reading, and emailed Abigail at 3am, convinced that this book was going to be a literary conversation-setter as well as a commercial juggernaut. The response in the UK and internationally has been extraordinary, but exactly what the book deserves."
Wisdom said: "Girl A is a ground-breaking, beautifully written and incredibly powerful novel. For me, and for Phoebe Morgan who will be Abigail’s editor, it is a book that will resonate with every reader long after they finish it and the psychological insights are astonishing."
Narrated by Lex Gracie, Girl A follows the story of the successful lawyer living in New York who is better known to the public as Girl A, "the one who escaped from a childhood of abuse at the hands of religious fanatic parents, freeing her six siblings. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer," reads the synopsis. "Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good, but first she must obtain her siblings' consent – and come to terms with the childhood they shared."
Girl A, which has been likened to novels such as Room and We Need To Talk About Kevin, will be published in spring 2021 in hardback and supported by a major marketing and publicity campaign, launching with an on-screen announcement at the HarperCollins stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Dean said: "HarperFiction’s pitch was incredible: smart, creative and full of passion for the novel and its characters. I’m so excited to be working with Julia, Laura and their fantastic teams to introduce Girl A and the Gracie family to readers across the world. The last few weeks have been dreamlike, and I’m in awe of my agent, Juliet, who has worked tirelessly to make all of this happen."
24th September 2019
Louis Theroux and Jessie Burton make Sunday Times Bestseller List
Less than a week after publication, both Louis Theroux and Jessie Burton have made the Sunday Times Bestseller List. Theroux’s memoir, Gotta Get Theroux This, has reached #4 on the non-fiction list, while Jessie Burton’s third novel, The Confession, sits at #9 for fiction.
In Gotta Get Theroux This, the acclaimed film and documentary maker Louis Theroux reflects on his career, taking readers on a joyous journey from his anxiety-prone childhood to is unexpectedly successful career.
Meanwhile, Jessie Burton’s The Confession follows the dual narratives of Elise and Constance in the 1980s as they explore their relationship and motherhood, while in the present day, Rose seeks answers about the whereabouts of her mother who disappeared when she was a baby.
24th September 2019
The Familiars picked by Richard and Judy for Autumn book club
Stacey Halls’ debut novel, The Familiars, has been chosen by Richard and Judy as an Autumn Book Club pick. Set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, Richard Madeley described the book as ‘a tremendous read’. He said: ‘These ancient witch-hunts have become allegories for the deep prejudices faced by women throughout history. These are stories steeped in mystery and terror.’
The Familiars remains the #1 Bestselling debut novel of the year and was on the Sunday Times Bestseller List for eleven weeks straight, peaking at #2.
20th September 2019
Manda Scott wins McIlvanney Prize
Manda Scott has become the second woman to win the McIlvanney Prize in the award’s eight year history. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing and includes a prize of £1000 and a nationwide promotion in Waterstones.
A Treachery of Spies won the award and the judges called it “A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.”
9th September 2019
Manda Scott shortlisted for McIlvanney Prize
Manda Scott has been shortlisted for the 2019 McIlvanney prize with A Treachery of Spies. This year’s judges called the novel, “A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller where a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.” The winner of the prize will be revealed on Friday 20th September at a gala event before the torchlight parade from Stirling Castle.
21st August 2019
Juliet Mushens signs charity crowdfunder author
When writer Amy Mason read about children being detained on the U.S. border she was appalled, and decided that she wanted to help fundraise for grassroots organisation IMMIGRANT FAMILIES TOGETHER (https://immigrantfamiliestogether.com/). She set up a crowdfunder to raise money for the organisation, and various publishers and authors donated rewards.
Juliet Mushens offered a critique of 50 pages of a novel as a reward for those who donated, and debut author Jennifer Saint was the lucky recipient. Jennifer Saint’s novel, ARIADNE, is a feminist literary retelling of the ancient Greek myth and she is now working with Juliet Mushens on the manuscript.
Ariadne is the eighteen-year-old Princess of ancient Crete. Beneath the palace of Knossos, the ferocious Minotaur runs crazed through the Labyrinth – Minos’s greatest shame, and Ariadne’s brother. When Theseus arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with the handsome hero. But in a world where women are nothing more than pawns of the gods, and of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Juliet said, ‘When I read the opening of ARIADNE I was totally captivated: I immediately emailed Jennifer saying that rather than a critique I’d love to read the full manuscript, and once I read the full manuscript I offered her immediate representation. I have been looking for a myth retelling for some time, and this is beautifully written with fascinating themes: all anyone knows of Ariadne is that she helped Theseus defeat the minotaur, but that is merely where her story begins.’
Jennifer said, ‘I was so glad of the opportunity to donate to such a worthwhile and important cause. I was also grateful to get the chance for some constructive feedback from such a prestigious agent and never dreamed that this would be the result. I am so excited to have the chance to tell Ariadne’s story and I feel incredibly lucky to have Juliet working with me.’
Amy Mason, who organised the Crowdfunder, which raised over $5000, said, ‘A huge bonus for me has been seeing the relationships and connections that have resulted from the Crowdfunder, and this news is the icing on the cake! I'm so pleased for Jennifer (and Juliet!). If you'd like to help please go to Immigrant Families Together and donate (https://immigrantfamiliestogether.com/) ....they're a volunteer-led organisation all money raised pays bonds to get people out of detention so they can claim their children from camps.'
Jennifer is busy working editorially on her novel, but the whole office is very excited for what her future will bring.
7th August 2019
The Rabbit Girls named as Audible’s Debut of 2019
Anna Ellory’s debut novel, The Rabbit Girls, has been named Audible’s Debut of the Year 2019. Narrated by Gemma Arterton and Simon Callow, the novel will be released by Audible on September 1st. You can pre-order now by clicking here.
The Rabbit Girls begins in Germany 1989 during the fall of the Berlin Wall. As Miriam cares for her dying father, Henryk, she is alarmed when he cries out for someone named Frieda. Soon, she discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap and his secret history begins to unravel.
Miriam’s investigation leads her to the Ravensbrück women’s camp after she finds an inmate uniform concealing dozens of letters to Henryk from Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost 50 years.
31st July 2019
Still Alive and The Lido make German bestseller list
Claire Douglas’ Still Alive and Libby Page’s The Lido (Im Freibad) have made the bestseller list in Germany for the third and second week respectively.
This is the debut novel for Libby Page and her first time on the list. Claire Douglas’ previous book, Missing, was the #1 bestselling trade paperback debut in 2018 and sold over 130,000 copies in Germany.
25th July 2019
The Lido wins Thumping Good Read Award
Libby Page has won the 2019 W H Smith Thumping Good Read Award with her debut novel The Lido. The award was decided by public vote as well as a judging panel which included author Peter James and last year’s winner, Laura Purcell.
Peter James said The Lido “really did stand out” against the other shortlisted books, and is “a gentle, simple yet constantly compelling story that does what all great fiction should do - both make you want to turn the page, and at the same time enriches with its characters, their lives, their failings and their strength, and ultimately, it delivers a heart-warming triumph of the human spirit.”
Upon her win, Page said, “I'm thrilled to have won the W H Smith Thumping Good Read award, especially as the competition was so strong - it was an honour just to be shortlisted among these other brilliant books and authors. A huge thank you to W H Smith and to all the readers who voted - it means so much to know that people enjoyed the book, let alone enough to take the time to vote. So thank you!”
23rd July 2019
The Bitter Twins shortlisted for British Fantasy Awards
The second book in Jen William’s Winnowing Flame trilogy, The Bitter Twins, has been shortlisted for Best Fantasy Novel of 2019 by The British Fantasy Society. Williams previously won the award in 2018 for the first in the trilogy, The Ninth Rain. The prize is decided by a combination of voting and juries, allowing the BFS membership, attendees of the previous and following FantasyCon to vote for their favourite books. More information about the award can be found here.
23rd July 2019
Three Caskie Mushens authors longlisted for HWA awards
The longlist for the annual Historical Writers’ Association has been announced, revealing that three Caskie Mushens authors have been nominated. The HWA Crown Awards are divided into three categories and the books must demonstrate “outstanding history and historical fiction.”
In the Gold Crown category for best historical novel, Manda Scott has been long listed for A Treachery of Spies, which HWA calls “a masterclass in historical thriller writing. This tale of modern day policing and wartime espionage and betrayal is unputdownable. Tautly written and intricately plotted.”
In the Debut Crown category for best debut historical novel, Sonia Velton’s Blackberry and Wild Rose has been long listed alongside Stacey Halls’ The Familiars. HWA describes Velton’s book as “a rich, atmospheric, but haunting story of struggle within the world of silk weaving set in 18th-century Spitalfields. A splendidly-written tale of complicated relationships entwined with lies, treachery, distrust and dislike with a hint of darkness, alongside complex and complicated characters.” And Halls’ work was lauded for highlighting “a fascinating period of history with superb female characters and an intriguing premise. This is an enthralling book that is fascinating, spellbinding and scary all at the same time.”
To find out more about the HWA Crown Awards, please click here.
5th July 2019
Weidenfield & Nicolson obtains memoir of British broadcasting legend
Weidenfield & Nicolson secured the rights to Sir Trevor McDonald’s autobiography for a “significant” six-figure sum. Alan Samson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Robert Caskie at Caskie Mushens, in association with Anita Land. Samson, the Chairman and Publisher at the Orion imprint, will publish An Improbable Life, with the audio book narrated by Sir Trevor McDonal himself.
The autobiography will take readers through pivotal moments in history alongside Sir Trevor’s personal reflections and stories. The book includes Sir Trevor’s trip to South Africa where he conducted the first British television interview with Nelson Mandela, his reflections on the Windrush generation, experiencing Barack Obama’s inauguration as US President, as well as his meetings with Colonel Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and his first had experiences of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and Death Row in an American prison.
Born in Trinidad in 1939, Sir Trevor has worked for major news channels including ITN, Channel 4 and the BBC. He became the presenter of “News at Ten” in 1992, and was awarded an OBE the same year, with a knighthood following in 1999. He will turn 80 this year.
Sir Trevor said, “I am absolutely thrilled to have finally completed an account of my life that I have long wanted to write. I count myself very fortunate to have done all these things. And I am equally thrilled that Weidenfeld & Nicolson are excited to be publishing it.”
And Samson lauded the, “Integrity, authority and powerful storytelling - the hallmarks of Sir Trevor’s long and distinguished career,” which “anchor and illuminate his memoir.”
An Improbable Life will be published alongside an unabridged audio version on 17th October, 2019.
27th June 2019
Manda Scott long listed for McIlvanney Prize
Manda Scott has been long listed for Bloody Scotland’s 2019 McIlvanney Prize, for A Treachery of Spies. The prize is awarded for the best Scottish Crime book of the year. Scottish roots must be proven for the competition, with either the author being born in Scotland, living there, or setting their books in Scotland. The prize was renamed in memory of William McIlvanney, who is described as the Godfather of Tartan Noir.
5th June 2019
My Favourite Murder charts at #3 on The Sunday Times Bestseller List
The memoir from the creators behind the podcast, My Favourite Murder, has charted at #3 on The Sunday Times Bestseller list. Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered is part memoir, part how-to guide, and shares never-before-heard stories from Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. The authors delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues along the way.
5th June 2019
How To Catch A Mole long listed for The Wainwright Prize
Marc Hamer has been long-listed for the The Wainwright Prize for How To Catch A Mole. The prize seeks to reward the best writing on the general outdoors, nature and UK-based travel writing. Sponsors for the prize include Wainwright Golden Beer and The National Trust.
Last year’s winner was The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson, and this year’s long-list was compiled through nominations from independent booksellers throughout the UK and specialist reviewers alongside a committee from The Wainwright Society. The shortlist will be announced 2nd July. More information on the prize can be found here.
23rd May 2019
Richard Osman’s debut novel bought for seven figures by Viking
After one of the biggest auctions of 2019 featuring ten publishers, Viking as acquired Richard Osman’s debut crime novel, The Thursday Murder Club, alongside one other book for a seven figure sum.
Editorial director Katy Loftus acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada), as well as audio rights from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens for the first two novels in the crime series. The Thursday Murder Club is set in a fictional ‘luxury retirement village’ off the A21 in Kent, and follows four retirees who meet on Thursday evenings to solve cold cases. But when a local property developer is found dead, the group finally has a real life case on their hands.
Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency, acting on behalf of Juliet Mushens, conducted an auction for North American rights which were acquired by Pamela Dorman at Pamela Dorman Books in a significant six-figure sum. In Germany, Ullstein pre-empted rights in another six-figure deal, while Cargo won Dutch rights at auction, and there were further pre-empts by Lattes in France as well as SEM in Italy. There are currently offers in both Isreal and Spain, with more territories expected.
Richard Osman is the Creative Director of Endemol Shine. Richard rose to fame presenting Pointless with Alexander Armstrong and presents his own BBC quiz, House of Games, along with Insert Name Here and Child Genius. He is also a regular on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You.
Katy Loftus said: ‘The Thursday Murder Club marks the launch of a dazzling new literary talent. Richard Osman writes fiction like he was born to it, and I know that his quartet of unlikely detectives – Joyce, Elizabeth, Ibrahim and Ron – are swiftly going to become household names across the UK. Richard captures an essence of Britain, and of Britishness, in the same way that Agatha Christie did in her day, with the same knife-sharp observational skill and fond humour.’
Richard Osman said: “I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be taking ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ to the brilliant team at Viking. To turn from a lifelong reader to a debut author is a dream come true for me. I can’t wait for readers to meet these characters, and to try and solve their many mysteries. And, on a personal note, I’m delighted that my Mum now thinks I have a proper job.”
Venetia Butterfield said: ‘The whole team at Viking and Penguin General fell in love with Richard’s extraordinary novel, and we are hugely excited to be able to introduce readers to the remarkable world he has created, and to launch a major new voice in fiction.’
Juliet Mushens said: ‘When Richard told me he had written a novel I knew that it would be warm and witty. However, I wasn’t quite prepared for how brilliantly the Thursday Murder Club would come to life: perfectly balancing character-led humour with a page-turning mystery. The response all over the world is a testament to how stand-out this book is, and I’m excited for Viking to launch Richard as a novelist.’
Viking will publish The Thursday Murder Clubin Autumn 2020, with the second novel in the series following a year later.
21st May 2019
Scribner scoops memoir of Canadian Foreign Policy Advisor
Senior commissioning editor Chris White has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excl. Canada, with audio, to the memoir of Omer Aziz, the foreign policy advisor to Justin Trudeau. Scribner won the auction which was conducted by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens on behalf of Bonnie Nadell and Hill Nadell.
The memoir, Brown Boy: A Story o Race, Religion, and Inheritance, follows Aziz’s journey from a lower middle class suburb outside Toronto to becoming a Yale educated advisor to the Canadian prime minister. The story is “one that is common to many but one that is rarely told. It is the story of growing up the child of immigrants and trying to progress in a society where the realities of racism and xenophobia are all too obvious.”
Born to working-class Pakistani-Canadian parents in Toronto, Aziz won scholarships to attend Queen’s University, the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School. He has written for various publications including The New York Times, and The Atlantic, and has worked with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, as well as the country’s foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland.
Brown Boy will be publisher in early 2021.
8th May 2019
The Familiars shortlisted for the Big Book Awards 2019
Stacey Halls’ The Familiars has been shortlisted by Good Housekeeping for the Big Book Awards 2019. The award is run by Hearst UK and the company’s magazines nominate the books they believe represent the finest new or emerging fiction and non-fiction in UK publishing. This is the second year of the award, with the inaugural prize going to authors such as Adam Kay, Juno Dawson and Jasmine Hemsley. The entire shortlist can be found here.
3rd May 2019
Sphere buys memoir of Very British Problems creator
Hannah Boursnell, the editorial director at Sphere non-fiction, has acquired world rights to Born to be Mild, from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens. The memoir by Very British Problems creator Rob Temple is described as a “book of adventures for the anxious.”
The memoir will follow Temple as he “attempts to complete 50 ‘adventures’, ranging from the mundane (visiting the world’s most popular service station) to the insane (attempting to run an ultra-marathon).” Born to be Mild will also explore the journalist’s own issues with anxiety which he will approach with “his trademark dry humour.”
Sphere published the first Very British Problems book in 2013 and two more have since followed. The Twitter account @SoVeryBritish has more than four million followers, and there are now greeting cards, t-shirts, and a board game based on the feed.
Born to be Mild will be published in September 2020.
25th April 2019
Multiple six-figure deals for Claire Douglas
Both Michael Joseph and Penguin Germany have bought two new books from Claire Douglas in six-figure deals. Maxine Hitchcock acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens.
The first novel will be published in August 2020 and is set to follow a woman who answers an advertisement in a local paper for a live-in female companion to a wealthy older lady. However, once the job begins, she quickly discovers that her two predecessors were found dead after disappearing under suspicious circumstances. The second novel will follow in 2021.
These new deals follow a former six-figure deal that Mushens struck with Michael Joseph in 2017, which was her first at the Caskie Mushens agency. Douglas’ four previous books have sold almost 248,000 copies and three of those four have been Sunday Times bestsellers. In Germany alone, over 130,000 copies have been sold and Local Girl Missing was the #1 bestselling trade paperback debut of 2018.
18th April 2019
The Familiars spends its 10th week on The Sunday Times bestseller list
Taking the #7 position on The Sunday Times bestseller list, The Familiars by Stacey Halls is celebrating its 10th consecutive week on the list.
Reaching this mark, The Familiars has also become the biggest selling debut of 2019 so far, and has sold more than 22,000 hardback copies since publication.
10th April 2019
Lost Dog charts on The Sunday Times bestseller list
Kate Spicer’s Lost Dog has found its way home and onto The Sunday Times bestseller list. Lost Dog: A Love Story has debuted at #9 only three days after publication.
Lost Dog tells the true story of Kate, a middle aged woman trying to steer some order into a life that is going off the rails. When she adopts a lurcher called Wolfy, the shabby rescue dog saves her from herself. But when the dog disappears, it is up to Kate to hit the streets of London and find him. Will she save him, as he has saved her - or will she lose everything?
As she trudges endlessly calling his name in the hopeless hope she may find him, she runs into other people’s landscapes and lives, finding allies amongst psychics, bloggers and mysterious midnight joggers. Trying to find her dog tests her relationship, and her sanity, to its limits – and gets her thinking about her life, and why things have turned out as they have for her. A brilliant, life-affirming memoir, Lost Dog is a book like no other about both about the myth of modern womanhood, and the enduring mystery of the relationship between human and canine.
9th April 2019
Avon acquires debut murder mystery by Nell Pattison
Avon has acquired World English rights to Nell Pattison’s debut novel The Silent House, the first in a proposed series featuring British Sign Language interpreter, Paige Northwood. Senior commissioning editor Rachel Faulkner-Willcocks bought rights from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens.
The novel follows BSL interpreter Paige Northwood who becomes embroiled in a murder investigation after a friend’s daughter is found dead in her bedroom, shaking the deaf community in Humberside to its core, Avon said. "Gripping and enlightening in equal measure, the book explores a close-knit but largely unknown group, from the perspective of an author who is herself part of the deaf community.”
After studying English at university, Pattison became a teacher and specialised in deaf education. She has been teaching in the deaf community for 12 years in both England and Scotland, working with students who use BSL. She began losing her hearing in her 20s, but still refuses to wear her hearing aids, the publisher said.
Faulkner-Willcocks went on to say: "I have never read a book quite like this. Nell takes a brilliant classic trope – a terrible crime within a tight-knit group – and uses it to shine a light on a community we all think we understand, but in reality we know very little about, bringing a brilliant new heroine onto the stage at the same time. The idea that someone could enter your home, your child’s room, without you hearing, is terrifying and electrifying: as soon as I read the opening chapters, I knew I had to publish this book."
The Silent House is set for publication in the spring of 2020.
3rd April 2019
Lia Louis second novel taking the world by storm
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis has created a global ‘rights storm’ and sold in 10 territories so far. Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens submitted the romcom prior to the London Book Fair and the first foreign offer was received within 48 hours. The book then went on to generate the biggest German deal of Mushens’s career.
Ten German bidders fought for rights before Penguin Germany triumphed with a six-figure deal. US rights were also sold at auction to Emily Bestler at Emily Bestler Books, by Jenny Bent acting on behalf of Mushens. Further auctions ensued and rights were sold to Sweden (Forum), Norway (Bastion), and The Netherlands (HarperCollins NL), with pre-empts in Italy (Rizzoli) and Spain (Planeta). There are further offers in both Hungary and Slovenia.
Dear Emmie Blue follows 16-year-old Emmie Blue who lets go of a helium balloon which contains a note: written on it is her email address, and a secret. It’s found by a French boy, Lucas, and it sparks a lifelong friendship when she need someone the most. Many years later her life is turned upside down when Lucas – who she is secretly in love with – asks her to be best woman at his wedding.
This is the second book for Louis, whose first novel Somewhere Close to Happy is set to be published in June 2019 by Katie Brown at Trapeze. Brown won the book in an auction and rights were sold in Italy, Spain and Slovenia.
Mushens said, “Before I knew it I had fallen head-over-heels for this sweepingly romantic novel, and I felt confident that everyone internationally would have the same response.”
Regarding the foreign deals, Louis said, “The last fortnight has been a whirlwind dream come true for me. I am extremely excited that Dear Emmie Blue will be published in such a wonderful list of territories. The response to the book has been so touching, and I feel so lucky to have such passionate editors behind me and this novel. I owe so much to the incredible Juliet Mushens, whose heart and hard-work is unrivalled and I feel extremely lucky to have the wonderful team at Caskie Mushens behind me.”
Dear Emmie Blue is set to be published by Trapeze in 2020.
2nd April 2019
The Familiars reaches its eighth week on The Sunday Times Bestseller List
This week The Familiars by Stacey Halls sits at number #8 on The Sunday Times Bestseller list, having previously hit number #2. The book has made the list for the eighth consecutive week since its publication and has now sold 20,000 hardback copies. The Familiars has now sold in nine territories and it was announced last week that The Bureau production company has optioned television rights.
28th March 2019
Zaffre scoops up two new books from Stacey Halls & television rights sold for The Familiars
Zaffre has acquired a new two-book deal with Stacey Halls. Margaret Stead scooped up rights from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens, for UK and Commonwealth excluding Canada. Meanwhile, television rights to The Familiars were acquired by Tristan Goligher at The Bureau production company from Emily Hayward-Whitlock, acting on behalf of Juliet Mushens.
Currently, The Familiars is on the Sunday Times bestseller list for the seventh week running, having hit number 2. It has sold over 17,000 copies across hardback and trade paperback, and is now sold in nine territories.
The two new untitled books will be published in 2021 and 2022. Zaffre has described the first as being set in Edwardian Yorkshire, “in the gloomy valleys and damp woodland of Hebden Bridge where a recently graduated Norland nanny gets a position with the perfect family, who are hiding their own dark secrets.”
Stead also said, "The team at Zaffre are delighted to have signed up Stacey for two more wonderful historical novels. She is a dream author to work with, and we've all been overjoyed with the incredible response from the trade and press for her debut, The Familiars. Stacey has worked tirelessly with booksellers and media around the country, and the results speak for themselves. We are looking forward to working with Stacey on her next novels, as she builds her career.”
15th March 2019
Indigo buys Sapiens-style book on the environment
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey at The Indigo Press purchased UK and Commonwealth rights to The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Finding Optimism Under the Spectre of Collapse. This “Sapiens for the environment” was sold by Robert Caskie and written by Netherlands-based academic Paul Behrens.
Wakatama Allfrey said, “With uncompromising honestly and lucid, accessible prose [Behrens] addresses the most important issue of our time and challenges us to a better future.”
Paul Behrens is an assistant professor in Energy and Environmental Change at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. The book’s announcement came on the day that school students across the world walked out of school to strike in an attempt to persuade governments to act on climate change.
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times is set to be published as one of Indigo’s lead titles in 2020.
15th March 2019
Coronet snatches up “painfully honest” novel about parenthood
Following an exclusive submission of a 120-page partial, Hannah Black at Hodder & Stoughton’s imprint Corone bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Robert Caskie to Jackie Clune’s novel, I’m Just A Teenage Punchbag.
The book follows Kara, a fifty-year-old mother who is invisible to her teenage children, neglected by her husband, and finds herself talking to her mother - who is cremated in an urn on her mantlepiece. Soon, Kara is rebelling from her life and trying to understand what it really means to live.
Jackie Clune is a journalist and actress who has previously written Man of the Month Club (Quercus, 2004) and Extreme Motherhood - The Triplet Diaries (Macmillan, 2006).
14th March 2019
HarperCollins pre-empts @BorderIrish book on Brexit
Publisher Eoin McHugh at HarperCollins Ireland will publish My Brexit by the anonymous writer of the @BorderIrish twitter account. UK and Commonwealth rights were bought from Robert Caskie who originally contacted the writer via twitter to suggest the book.
The @BorderIrish twitter began in February 2018 and has since gained over 75,000 followers such as Robert Peston and Alastair Campbell. The account’s biography reads: “I am the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. I’m seamless & frictionless already, thanks. Bit scared of physical infrastructure.”
The satirical book will introduce a range of characters other than the Irish Border itself, and they will talk to each other over various storylines.
My Brexit is set to be published in October 2019.
13th March 2019
HQ wins nine-way auction for “definitive” essay collection
HarperCollins has acquired The Queer Bible, edited by Jack Guinness, after a heated nine-way auction. Shortly after obtaining world rights from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens, HQ senior commissioning editor Dominic Wakeford sold US rights to Dey Street Books.
The illustrated collection will include contributions from the likes of Munroe Bergdorf, Paris Lees and Juno Dawson who will write about their queer heroes.
The Queer Bible will be published in June 2020.
12th March 2019
Sarah Winman moves to Fourth Estate
Sarah Winman has officially moved to Fourth Estate from Headline after publishing director Helen Garnons-Wlliams acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excl. Canada) for her new novel, from Robert Caskie and Caskie Mushens.
Helen Garnons-Williams said, “Sarah is one of the finest literary novelists writing today and we could not be more delighted to welcome her to Fourth Estate. She is a writer of remarkable insight, generosity, wit and empathy, and through her beautifully crafted novels we see the world with fresh eyes.”
Winman’s latest novel, yet untitled, is about a young British soldier who inherits the top two floors of an old palazzo and is set across four decades until the early 1980s. Fourth Estate said, “It is the story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood - and the ghost of E M Forster.” It is set to publish as a lead fiction title in Spring 2021.
7th March 2019
UK and US pre-empts for ‘breathtaking’ debut in 48-hours
Clio Cornish at HQ has secured UK and Commonwealth rights to the debut novel, The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby. She pre-empted rights from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens after 48 hours in a significant six-figure deal.
Shortly thereafter, North American rights were pre-empted by Laura Brown at Park Row Books in another six-figure deal with Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency on behalf of Juliet Mushens.
The Illustrated Child follows Romilly, a girl who lives in a sprawling old house with her father, an eccentric artists. As his mind starts to fade, Romilly realises that clues to a family treasure are hidden in his works, but the treasure might not be exactly what she expects.
HQ has said, “Polly’s debut is book club fiction at its best: compelling, transporting, and incredibly poignant.” While Mushens said, “I read The Illustrated Child in one sitting: it’s a breathtaking achievement to create a voice and character like Romilly’s.”
The Illustrated Child is set to be published in Summer 2020.
28th February 2019
The Surface Breaks shortlisted for The YA Book Prize
Louise O’Neill has been shortlisted for the 2019 YA Book Prize for The Surface Breaks. O’Neill previously won the award in 2015 for Only Ever Yours.
The Surface Breaks is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and follows Gaia as she dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy and dares to join his world.
The YA Book Prize is the first in the UK and Ireland to specifically focus on fiction for young adults. The prize is organised by The Bookseller and is run in association with Hay Festival.
You can find out more about the prize and the shortlist here.
The Familiars hits #2 on The Sunday Times Bestseller List
After maintaining the #3 position for two weeks since it’s debut, The Familiars by Stacey Halls has moved up to #2 in its third week on The Sunday Times Bestseller List. The book has already sold more than 10,000 copies in hardback alone.
21st February 2019
Dialogue Books acquires ‘extraordinary’ debut
Dialogue Books has acquired world rights from Juliet Mushens to the debut from Nigerian-born author Buki Papillon, An Ordinary Wonder.
The book will follow Oto, a twin raised as a boy but who desires to live life as a girl. As Oto grows up, he attends to boarding school and then attempts to emigrate to America to start a new life. The book will explore the complex relationships he has with his sister, wealthy father, and mother, who views him as a monster. Ultimately, Oto’s story provides a moving examination of masculinity and gender.
Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher at Dialogue, said, “There are these rare moments when an incredible talent lands on your desk and I am honoured that Buki Papillon landed on mine. An Ordinary Wonder takes us on an extraordinary journey of what it means to feel whole. It reminds us that these concepts are felt by everyone, everywhere and the deep riches of African storytelling and the multitude of lives.'”
Papillon was born in Nigeria but currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. After studying law, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is an alumna of the Vona Voices Workshops for writers of colour.
Dialogue plans to publish An Ordinary Wonder as a lead hardback in April 2020.
14th January 2019
The Familiars debuts at #3 on The Sunday Times Bestseller List
After only three days on sale in the UK, The Familiars by Stacey Halls has debuted at #3 on The Sunday Times Bestseller list.
Set in 1612, the story follows the two women as they get caught up in the Pendle witch trials. 17-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth is pregnant for the fourth time after her previous children were all born stillbirth. After learning from the doctor she is not expected to survive another pregnancy, she crosses paths with Alice Grey, a young midwife who promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby and survive.
When Alice is drawn into the Pendle witch accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.
10th January 2019
Bloomsbury to publish Michael Cashman’s ‘remarkable’ memoir
Bloomsbury will publish the memoir of actor, campaigner and Labour peer Michael Cashman, One of Them. Editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle bought UK rights from Robert Caskie at Caskie Mushens.
One of Them will span Cashman’s life from his time in showbiz to the campaign trail, and will reflect on the nature of love and the impact of grief.
Cashman began his acting career at the age of 12 when he starred in the musical “Oliver” in London’s West End. His career took him from stage to screen where he delivered the first gay kiss on British television. After leaving acting, he stepped into politics and was elected to the European Parliament. In 2014 he was awarded the CBE and became Labour’s LGBT Global envoy.
Pringle said that Cashman’s book will contain, “glorious nostalgia, wickedly funny showbiz gossip, a stirring history of civil rights movement, a sorrowfully clear-eyed exposition of Britain’s standing in Europe, and an unforgettable love story.”
One of Them is set to publish in the spring of 2020.