Viking buys McKay's history of the Allied bombing of Dresden

Viking has bought a narrative history of the Allied bombing of Dresden by bestselling historian Sinclair McKay.

Daniel Crewe bought World English rights from Anna Power at Johnson & Alcock.

Scheduled for publication on the 75th anniversary of the bombing, Dresden will provide a minute-by-minute account of the Allied obliteration of Dresden, a campaign which on a single night killed an estimated 25,000 people, and is today still hotly debated; was it a legitimate military target or a last act of atavistic mass murder in a war already won?

From the history of the city - the ‘Florence of the Elbe’ - to the attack itself through to the eerie period of reconstruction under Soviet control in the following years, Sinclair McKay tells the untold stories of both the civilians and military.

Sinclair Mckay said: “I am completely thrilled to be working with the team at Viking on a subject that resonates powerfully even now. After 75 years, the hideous moral questions thrown up by the 1945 destruction of Dresden remain as perplexing to the people of that beautiful city as they do everywhere else. Time has also brought sharper clarity to individual stories, and the trajectory of family lives before and long after the cataclysm. This isn’t just about the darker impulses of war, though: for out of that fiery horror eventually came moving reconciliation, cultural rebirth and miraculous regeneration.”

Daniel Crewe, Publisher, Viking, said: “We’re all thrilled to welcome Sinclair McKay to Viking. His deep research, careful reflection and powerful storytelling will make for a highly moving account on this important anniversary.”

McKay’s previous bestsellers include The Secret Life of Bletchley Park which has sold 225,000 copies TCM and Bletchley Park Brainteasers which currently stands at 150,000 copies TCM.  The Lady in the Cellar (White Lion) and Secret Service Brainteasers (Headline) are published in September 2018.

Landreth moves to Chatto for her new book

Chatto & Windus has acquired a "very fun, very British" book about amateur dramatics from script editor and writer Jenny Landreth. 

The book's author, an "am dram devotee", is also the author of Swell: A Waterbiography (Bloomsbury). In her new book she will celebrate amateur dramatics' contribution in building communities and developing confidence in a mix of social history, memoir, interviews and manifesto, and by following a production from auditions through to last night party.

Entitled Bad Rep, according to Vintage it will explore "what our love of am dram says about us as a nation, why amateur theatre is important, and how it could change your life". UK and Commonwealth rights were bought by Poppy Hampson, editorial director at Chatto & Windus, from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock to publish in spring 2020.

Hampson said: "Everyone here at Chatto and Vintage responded to Jenny’s proposal with joy – this book is going to make us all happy, enabling us to rediscover our inner thesp, and understand more about this particularly British cultural phenomenon – and ourselves."

Erin Reinelt's new novel to Trapeze

Trapeze has acquired a "bitingly sharp" novel about modern dating and polyamorous relationships.

Commissioning editor Katie Brown, who signed the novel from author, journalist and screenwriter Erin Reinelt, said the stigma around polyamory was waning, citing statistics that 39% of people in the UK said they would like to try or have tried it. She said she had been "desperate" to publish the book, calling its author's ideas "so fresh and so truly reflective of what is happening in our modern society".

Based partly on Reinelt's own experiences, including dating a married polyamorous jazz musician, Strings Attached follows "straight-laced" Jean, who, after breaking up with her overgrown baby of a boyfriend, embarks on a sexual awakening at the age of 30. What ensues, according to the blurb, is "a world of sex parties, orgasmic retreats, mixed-polyamorous dating and open marriages… but when she falls for a married man, it turns out three really is a crowd."

Brown said: "This is the new normal when it comes to dating. When Erin told me about her own experiences and about this novel, I was desperate to publish it! She is a comic genius who doesn't pull on emotional punch, and her ideas are so fresh and so truly reflective of what is happening in our modern society that she felt like a natural fit for Trapeze. Think Wetlands meets Conversations with Friends for a super commercial market."

Reinelt said: "I am delighted to join Katie Brown and the brilliant Trapeze team in their list of conversation starting novels. The new normal of Millennial dating, as our generation experiments with the boundaries of freedom in sex and love, is rich with comedy and heart. Mining my own experiences for all their disaster and glory, this project has been incredible fun to write. Not least because of the passion and enthusiasm for Strings Attached from Trapeze."  

World rights in all languages were signed in a one-book deal struck by Becky Thomas at Johnson and Alcock, with Strings Attached to be published by Trapeze in paperback and e-book in summer 2019.

Reinelt has previously worked at Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders and Givenchy, which experiences informed her 2014 debut Low Expectations, written under the pen name Elizabeth Aaron and published by Quercus. She moved to Brooklyn in 2016, where she worked as a freelance editor and studied screenwriting at The Jacob Krueger Studio in NYC; her first script, Lara and the Dead Boy, about a mortician who steals the corpse of her favourite actor, has been shortlisted for Diverse Voices, Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY screenwriting competition and the Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship. 


Picador to publish Kate Tempest's third poetry collection

Picador will publish the "unashamedly personal and intimate" third poetry collection by writer and performer Kate Tempest.

Running Upon The Wires is Tempest’s first book of free-standing poetry since Hold Your Own, published in 2014. In “a beautifully varied” series of formal poems, spoken songs, fragments, vignettes and ballads, she is said to chart the heartbreak at the end of one relationship and the beginning of a new one whilst describing what happens in between “when the heart is pulled both ways at once”.

Picador poetry editor Don Paterson has acquired rights to publish in the UK, Ireland, the rest of the EU and in the Commonwealth excluding Canada for print and e-book, from Becky Thomas at Johnson and Alcock. It will be published on 20th September.

The “powerful and deeply moving” book is described by Picador as a departure from the London-based writer’s previous work and “unashamedly personal and intimate in its address”.

A spokesperson for the publisher said: “It will also confirm Tempest’s role as one of our most important poetic truth-tellers: it will be no surprise to readers to discover that she’s no less a direct and unflinching observer of matters of the heart than she is of social and political change.

Running Upon The Wires is a heart-breaking, moving and joyous book about love, in its endings and beginnings, joy and despair, confusion and clarity.”

Tempest said: “Running Upon The Wires charts heartbreak from the point of break-up all the way through the messiness and self-destruction and drunkenness into the redemptive nature of new love. I thought it was a more useful thing to offer the world to stick with the heartbreak and see it through into hope, rather than have a collection that begins and ends with a break up.”

She added: “I also thought it was a more interesting proposition that the speaker of the poems moves through pain into new love and then even into domesticity.”

Picador last published Tempest in October 2016, Let Them Eat Chaos, composed from lyrics on her album.


Poet Dean Atta signs with Hachette Children's Books

Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) has acquired a “fiercely told and bold” YA story, written in verse, by spoken word poet Dean Atta.

Polly Lyall Grant, editor at Hodder Children’s Books, bought world language rights to The Black Flamingo from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock, and will publish in hardback in August 2019. A paperback edition will follow in 2020.

The book is a coming-of-age, coming-out story of self-discovery, in which Atta “inspires readers to find confidence within”, according to HCG.         

The Black Flamingo is filled with stunning wordplay and powerful emotional honesty that will connect readers as much with their own stories as with the one on the page,” said Lyall Grant. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Dean to our list.”

Lara Williams' debut novel sold to Hamish Hamilton

Hamish Hamilton has acquired a debut novel by Lara Williams about women and food entitled Supper Club.

Hermione Thompson, assistant editor at Hamish Hamilton, bought world rights to the title in a pre-empt from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock, to publish in Spring 2019.

Supper Club follows a secret society of women who refuse to suppress their appetites any longer, holding wild, all-night feasts to reclaim their hunger and their bodies. And at the centre of the Supper Club is Roberta – cynical yet anxious, precocious and lost – seeking the answer to a simple question. If you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?

Thompson said she "could not be more proud" to be publishing "this essential coming-of-age story for our times."

"Lara writes about young womanhood as the real women I know have actually experienced it", said Thompson. "Supper Club is absolutely a novel about food: its rich, visceral physicality and its complex psychological resonances. But it is also about the many other kinds of appetite that our society denies, the many ways we are told not to take up space. And above all it is about the intense friendships of youth, which can flare up and fade away so quickly, leaving us changed forever. Lara’s writing is devastatingly perceptive and savagely funny; I could not be more proud to publish this essential coming-of-age story for our times."

Williams added: "It is beyond a dream to be signed with Hamish Hamilton. I absolutely love Hermione's ideas for the novel, and can't wait to work with her and see it take shape."

Williams is the author of a short story collection, Treats (Freight Books), published as A Selfie As Big As the Ritz in the US (Flatiron), which was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Edinburgh First Book Award, the Saboteur Awards and longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She has written for the Guardian, the New Scientist, the Times Literary Supplement, the DebriefVice, Grazia and SomeSuch Stories, among others.

Jenny Landreth's Swell makes the William Hill shortlist

We are thrilled to announce that Jenny Landreth's book Swell has made the William Hill shortlist.

"The stories behind sporting pioneers, legendary sporting figures and the secrets of Bradford Park Avenue football ground are all revealed on the shortlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award – the world’s richest and longest-running prize for sports writing. The diverse seven-strong shortlist encompasses swimming, football, cycling, boxing and horse racing and is united by the rich history running through its titles.

Extraordinary accounts of struggle, empowerment and indomitable spirit loom large in these narratives: Jenny Landreth’s Swell: A Waterbiography is both personal watery memoir and homage to the fearless ‘swimming suffragettes’ who fought for women to have equal rights and access to swim."

Chairman of Judges and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said:

“Creating a shortlist from a Bookie Prize longlist has never been less than a mind-scrambling task. However, such is the nature of prizes that where there is delight there must elsewhere be disappointment, and the expert panel was enthralled by the final shortlist.

“Never have we created a list including a dead-man walking, let alone riding; never had we even heard of a ‘waterbiography’, let alone a tide-turning tale of swimming emancipation. Football archaeology ever featuring as the theme would have been at least a 50/1 shot. Then there’s the previously unknown, almost miraculous tale of Holocaust survival up against the now legendary story of a British cycling superstar who died during a race, and whose reputation is enhanced every time a Chris Boardman, Chris Hoy, or Chris Froome triumph comes along. And then there is perhaps the ultimate contrast, between one of British football's quietest and most modest over-achievers who virtually hid his light under a bushel, and world sport's loudest and greatest practitioner, whose finest, quietest moment was when he fought his body's unfamiliar frailty to light the Olympic flame.”

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £29,000 cheque, this year’s winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races*.

The winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2017 will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Tuesday 28th November.

Kate Tempest nominated in the Books Are My Bag Awards

Kate Tempest's novel The Bricks That Built The Houses (Bloomsbury) is nominated in the Best Breakthrough Author Category of the The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards.

They're the only book awards with shortlists curated by bookshops - and the only major awards voted for by book lovers. Returning for a second year, the awards now include two new categories for books written for younger readers, alongside six adult categories. Seven of the shortlists were chosen by booksellers across the UK and Ireland: Popular Fiction, Novel, Non-Fiction, Middle Grade (7-11), Young Adult (12-18), Breakthrough Author and Beautiful Book. The Readers Choice Award – nominated and voted for entirely by booklovers –  completes the set.

Jenny Landeth longlisted for the William Hill Prize

We are delighted that Jenny Landreth's book Swell: A Waterbiography (Bloomsbury) is one of five books on the William Hill longlist authored by women, with a total of nine female authors and co-authors – by far the highest number to have been nominated in the Award’s history. 

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £29,000 cash prize, this year’s winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races. The shortlist will be announced on 24th October 2017. The winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Tuesday 28th November. Good luck, Jenny! 


Una's new graphic novel sold to Virago

Virago has acquired a graphic novel as part of a strategy to begin publishing the genre on its list for the first time.

Eve by Una, is the story of a mother and daughter struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Savitt acquired world all languages rights to publish the second book, Eve, by the Yorkshire-based artist, academic and comics creator known solely as Una from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock. The dystopia is said to have "provocative parallels with our current political reality", exploring themes of motherhood, community and survival. Una is also the author of graphic memoir Becoming/ Unbecoming which was published by Myriad in the UK and was chosen as one of’s Best Memoirs of 2016. Virago will publish Eve in 2020.

Savitt said: "Some of the most original graphic novelists working today are women, so it feels fitting and thrilling that Virago will launch a boutique graphic novel strand in 2018. I can’t think of  a more perfect artist to inaugurate this new venture. I loved Una’s heart-stopping memoir Becoming/ Unbecoming, which has been embraced by so many readers around the world as a devastating exploration of gender-based violence as well as a startlingly beautiful graphic book; so I am proud to be publishing her second book, which promises to be just as inventive, gorgeous and thought-provoking."

Hollie McNish wins the Ted Hughes Prize

Writer and performance poet Hollie McNish has won 2016's £5,000 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her poetic memoir about becoming a parent, Nobody Told Me (Blackfriars, an imprint of Little, Brown). 

McNish was announced the winner of the award, funded by Carol Ann Duffy from her honararium as Poet Laureate, at a ceremony at the Savile Club in Mayfair yesterday (29th March).

The Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes award judges, award-winning poets Jo Bell and Bernard O’Donoghue and singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams, praised McNish's "funny and serious, humane and consciousness-raising" work for its "vivid language", its ability to "put things that most people ignore right back in the spotlight" and for "skilfully tackl[ing] hidden agendas and political issues in our society".

One of the judges, Bell, said the collection had changed the way he thinks about women and should be compulsory reading for new parents. Taken from the author's personal diaries, it blends poetry and storytelling following McNish through pregnancy to her first pre-school drop off.

"Adrian Mitchell said that 'most poetry ignores most people' but Hollie’s book puts things that most people ignore right back in the spotlight," said Bell. "This book is more than the sum of its parts, combining the immediacy of a diary with straight talking poetry from a spoken word tradition. This book is funny and serious, humane and consciousness-raising: it changed the way I think about women (and I am one). Should be given to every new parent, and handed to them along with their baby-care products."

Williams said the collection would "resonate outside the poetry world to reach a new generation of poetry readers" and praised it for tackling issues such as public breast-feeding, non-waged care work and interracial relationships.

O’Donoghue, who last year was shortlisted for the TS Elliot Prize, added of McNish's work: "Hollie McNish describes the experience of pregnancy and young motherhood in a vivid language that brings both forms to life, and makes them real for readers to whom these things are new as well as those to whom they are familiar."

McNish's new collection, Plum, will publish in June 2017 with Picador. She has previously written two other collections, Papers (Greenwich Exchange) and Cherry Pie (Burning Eye Books) and co-wrote the play Offside (Bloomsbury).

Little, Brown win auction for John Grant's memoir

Little, Brown has bought the autobiography of musician John Grant.

Grant, who used to front American indie band The Czars, rose to fame in 2010 with his debut solo album, "Queen of Denmark". In the book, he will not only tell the story of his career but of his "extraordinary" life. 

Editor-in-chief Antonia Hodgson acquired world rights at auction from Becky Thomas of Johnson & Alcock, on behalf of Showpony Management.

Grant said: "Flying in the face of all reason and good judgement, Little, Brown is giving me the opportunity to write a book about my experiences in life thus far. It is the tale of a lower-middle-class homosexual humanoid male musician, addict, chronically depressed language enthusiast and underachiever who, in spite of himself, is learning to enjoy life, make sense of relationships and become an adult. Perhaps this is the cure for insomnia you've been searching for."

Hodgson said: "I’m a huge fan of John Grant’s music, but had no idea just how extraordinary his life has been. It is a story of family, alienation, masculinity, self-destruction, survival, the creative spirit – and told with such wit and honesty it moved everyone here who read the proposal. His voice on the page is just as unique and intimate as his music – you are drawn straight into his world. And what a large, compassionate, fascinating world it is."

Two Roads acquire Survival Guide to Anxiety by Aaron Gillies aka @TechnicallyRon

Two Roads has acquired The Anxiety Survival Guide: How to survive the end of the world (when it’s in your own head) by comedy writer Aaron Gillies.

Senior editor Kate Hewson pre-empted world rights from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock.

Gillies, who most recently coined the popular Donald Trump nickname "Wotsit Hitler" as @TechnicallyRon on twitter, has written for and been featured in a range of publications, including Buzzfeed, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Huffington Post.

While there are many books on surviving a zombie apocolaypse or nuclear war, Gillies wanted to write book about how it is to feel like the world is ending every single time you wake up. This, he explains, is what having anxiety is like, and his book The Anxiety Survival Guide aims to help readers by exploring the "tools to fight back", whether medication, therapy, CBT, coping techniques - "or simply a dark sense of humour".

Hewson said: "I have loved Aaron’s tweets on his battles with his brain for ages, and they always resonate far and wide. I think this is a much-wanted and needed book – something which captures the ridiculousness as well as the struggle of anxiety, and which, all comedy aside, will genuinely help people."

Gillies book continues the trend seeing an increase in publishing on mental health issues that publishers last year said reflected cultural change. But Gillies said there was still "a long way to go" until mental health was taken seriously enough.

He said: "Whilst the conversation about normalising mental health issues has begun, there is a long way to go, and anxiety can be brushed off as a lesser cause. My writing background is comedy, and I want to bring this to conversations around mental health, and to discuss anxiety in a healthy, informative and humorous way."

The book will be published on 19th April 2018.

Sphere buy travel memoir by Anna Hart

Sphere has acquired Departures, a book about exploring the world as a woman traveller, by journalist and travel writer Anna Hart.

Commissioning editor Rhiannon Smith acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the book from Becky Thomas at Johnson and Alcock.

In Departures, drawing on 10 years experience of travel writing, Hart will write about the highs and lows travelling alone as a woman, showing that even the experts get it wrong (sometimes) and how to get it right.

Smith said: "I love Anna’s writing, and through our discussions I was completely convinced that her insight and humour would make for a wonderful book. Anna’s experience is second to none – there’s no-one better to navigate through the peril and pitfalls, as well as the incredible highs and independence that travel can bring. I’m so looking forward to sharing Departures with readers."

Hart, who is currently travel editor at Stylist magazine, said: "This feels like the perfect time to write about the highs and lows of travel, roaming the world as a solo female and what adventure means in 2018. I’m completely thrilled that Rhiannon and Sphere are publishing Departures, truly the perfect publishers."

Sphere will publish in trade paperback and e-book in January 2018.

Kate Tempest shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards

We are delighted that Kate made the shortlist for the 2016 Costa Poetry Award in the Poetry category for Let Them Eat Chaos.

The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.

The judges said it was "A magical book about now....indispensable, wonderful, a cry from the heart to a wounded world."

Let Them Eat Chaos (Picador) is a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.

The prize for the category winner and the overall winner is announced in January