Gaby Chiappe's THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF on the Brit List 2014

Gaby Chiappe's feature film adaptation of the novel THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF by Lissa Evans has been selected for this year's Brit List.

The list is a collection of hot, unproduced screenplays, which are selected by a mixture of UK producers, agents, distributors and sales companies.

This year, there were 140 entries but only 34 scripts made it onto the final list, so it's a fantastic achievement.

THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF is with Number 9 Films, Wildgaze Films and BBC Films, and is scheduled to go into production next year. It's a romantic comedy featuring a love story set against the making of a propaganda film during World War II.

The novel was selected for the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, so the accolades are stacking up for this story already. Watch this space for more news on the feature film.

Essie Fox’s Victorian Gothic THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF out in paperback today

The third book from ‘the master of Victorian drama’ Essie Fox, THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF, is out in paperback today from Orion. With its stunning new cover, THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF has been chosen as Orion’s ‘Paperback of the Month,’ and is available to reviewers on Netgalley. The book has also been selected to be the One Book Lane community’s book club Book of the Month. 

THE GODDESS AND THE THIEF is a dramatic, exotic tale of madness and desire, of séances in Queen Victoria’s Windsor, a cursed diamond from the Raj, and the daring plot to steal it. Uprooted from her home in India, Alice is raised by her aunt, a spiritualist medium in Windsor. When the mysterious Lucian Tilsbury enters their lives, Alice is drawn into a plot to steal a sacred Indian diamond. Both blessed and cursed, the stone exudes a power over all who encounter it: a glamorous deposed maharajah, a man hell-bent on discovering the secrets of eternity, and a widowed queen who hopes the jewel can draw her husband’s spirit back. In the midst of all this madness, Alice must find a way to regain control of her life and fate.

Essie has been appearing recently with The Memento Moriatas, a group of authors and musicians whose work explores death, dreams and destiny. Essie, Kate Mayfield, Kirsten Morrison and Lloyd Shepherd appeared at a sold out event at the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett in Southwark on Hallowe’en, and she talked at the Birmingham Coffin Works on 8 October. See Essie’s website for more appearances from this beguiling group!

Essie will be appearing at The Richmond Literature Festival on 21 November at Horace Walpole’s old residence, Strawberry Hill House in Richmond-upon Thames. Essie will be talking with Lynn Shepherd about the English obsession with vampires.

Essie’s debut novel, THE SOMNAMBULIST, was shortlisted at the National Book Awards for New Writer of the Year and was picked up by TV Book Club and optioned for film by Hat Trick Productions.



‘The plot of this addictive novel is intricate and beautifully turned… Fox’s raids on the story-box cleverly enhance the sense of mystery.’ – The Times

'A richly textured, highly coloured and entirely pleasurable read.' – Metro

'A beguiling, imaginative and original tale.’ – Hello

Monique Roffey’s HOUSE OF ASHES shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards

Monique Roffey’s ‘terrible, beautiful and compelling’ novel HOUSE OF ASHES (Simon & Schuster) has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards in the Novel category. Other shortlisted novels include two Booker shortlisted novels: THE LIVES OF OTHERS by Neel Mukherjee and HOW TO BE BOTH by Ali Smith, as well as Colm Toibin’s NORA WEBSTER.

The winners of the five categories – Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – will be announced on 5 January 2015, with the overall winner - the 2014 Costa Book of the Year – being announced on 27 January. The winners of each category will receive £5,000, with the overall winner receiving a further £30,000.

The judges said of HOUSE OF ASHES: “A tautly-constructed story which plots the violence and upheaval of revolution and its  aftermath, it is both moving and memorable.”

HOUSE OF ASHES is Roffey’s third Caribbean-set novel, again adeptly exploring the personal and political against the troubled backdrop of a fictional island ‘paradise’. Inspired by real events, it is haunting story of Ashes and Breeze, two disaffected young men who follow the charismatic Leader into a disastrous coup. Set over the period of the siege of the House of Power, where captors and their hostages see each other’s most brutal but also most vulnerable sides, HOUSE OF ASHES is about fathers and sons, about failures of leadership – but also about how we confront our shadow sides, and about coming through wreckage committed to peace.

Roffey’s THE WHITE WOMAN ON THE GREEN BICYCLE was shortlisted for the Orange (now Baileys) Women’s Prize for Fiction. ARCHIPELAGO was the 2013 recipient of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and was shortlisted for the 2014 Orion Prize.

Visit Monique's website here.

Praise for HOUSE OF ASHES:

‘Deploying the deep, humane wisdom that has become [Roffey’s] hallmark… the novel delivers its final, bittersweet coup with a fearlessness and grace that richly satisfies.’ – Liz Jensen, The Guardian

‘Grimly absorbing... Roffey’s knuckle-whitening novel goes to the heart of questions of political temptation and folly; it grips from beginning to end.’ – Ian Thompson, Telegraph

‘[a] laudable piece of literary work.’ – Raoul Pantin, Trinidad Express

‘Monique Roffey’s tragicomic take on this almost forgotten episode, strips revolution of any pretence of glamour… as funny as it is unsettling.’ – David Shaftel, Financial Times

Two Blake Friedmann Authors nominated for Sainsbury’s Ebook of the Year

For the second year running, Blake Friedmann has seen multiple authors longlisted for the Sainsbury’s Ebook of the Year awards.

Peter James’ 10th Roy Grace novel, WANT YOU DEAD, has been nominated for the prize, as well as two novels by Sheila O’Flanagan, THINGS WE NEVER SAY and IF YOU WERE ME.

The winner will be decided by public poll at eBooks of the Year. Voting closes on December 11 with the winners announced on the 15th.

Hodder sign three titles from ‘King of South African Crime Fiction’ Deon Meyer

Photo credit: Johan Wilke

Photo credit: Johan Wilke

Hodder and Stoughton are delighted to announce that they will publish three new novels by South Africa’s premier crime writer Deon Meyer. The deal, for UK and British Commonwealth rights excluding Canada, was struck by Publisher Nick Sayers and literary agent Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann.

The first book in the contract, ICARUS, to be published in August 2015, will be another outing for Meyer’s most popular character, the harassed detective Benny Griessel. The following novel, Fever, will be a big standalone thriller.

Nick Sayers said: ‘Deon combines brilliant suspense and driving narrative with the most wonderful sense of character. He writes thrillers with a very human heart and the whole house loves his work. We are thrilled to publish him so successfully in South Africa, where our edition of his latest novel COBRA has recently followed the Afrikaans edition to the top of the bestseller lists, and we are determined to match that success in our other markets. All his fans will be delighted to hear that Benny will be back next year, and Fever will give us a huge opportunity to reach new readers as well.’

Isobel Dixon said: ‘Nick Sayers has been Deon’s editor over several titles now and we’re delighted to continue this happy relationship with Hodder. I know his many fans, like me, can’t wait to see what happens to Benny Griessel next and there are exciting stories to come beyond that. Deon Meyer never disappoints and I look forward to Hodder’s commitment taking his terrific books to new heights.’

ICARUS has also been sold in the US to Grove Atlantic, in France to Le Seuil and in Holland to AW Bruna.

Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. His books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Thirteen Hours was the winner of the Barry Award in the Best Thriller category 2011 and was shortlisted for the Macavity Award in the Best Mystery Novel category 2011, the Boeke Prize 2011, and the CWA International Dagger 2010. Originally written in Afrikaans, rights in his titles are sold in 27 countries and many of his books have been optioned for film.

Visit the author's website at and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon.


Praise for Deon Meyer:

‘A master on vintage form… He is a defining novelist of modern South Africa.’ – Barry Forshaw, Books of the Year 2012, Independent

‘Deon Meyer is one of the best crime writers on the planet.’ – Mail on Sunday

 'With Deon Meyer you can't go wrong. He's a writer whose work I admire, wait for and then devour.' – Michael Connelly