And Other Stories and Archipelago acquire THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavić

Stefan Tobler, publisher of the UK based independent publishing house And Other Stories, and Jill Schoolman, at Archipelago in North America, are delighted to announce a simultaneous acquisition of THE FOLLY by the celebrated South African writer Ivan Vladislavić from agent Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann. The publication of THE FOLLY is scheduled for the Autumn of 2016 in the UK and Commonwealth.

Mr and Mrs Malgas are going quietly about their lives when an eccentric squatter called Nieuwenhuizen arrives on the vacant plot next to their home with a grandiose plan to build an elaborate mansion. Slowly, Father, as Nieuwenhuizen prefers to be called, draws Mr Malgas into his grand scheme, while Mrs Malgas keeps an anxious watch from her lounge window… Menacing, hilarious, playfully serious, THE FOLLY is a South African classic with universal resonance.

'And Other Stories and Archipelago are both wonderfully innovative and dynamic publishers. THE FOLLY will be in very good company on their lists.' Ivan Vladislavić

'Archipelago is delighted to be publishing Vladislavić's THE FOLLY. The novel explores friendship and community (and home improvement) with his own unique blend of humor, empathy, and quirky detail. It's a gem, and Vladislavić is one of the most inventive and compassionate writers working today.' Jill Schoolman, Publisher, Archipelago Books

‘Ivan Vladislavić could well be the next South African writer to win the Booker Prize and become a household name. He deserves it. Part of his genius is that he tries something new with every book and so we're excited that our fourth book by him will also be published by Archipelago in the US in 2016, as Jill Schoolman at Archipelago is as excited as we are about his writing.’ Stefan Tobler, Publisher, And Other Stories

And Other Stories have successfully published two of Vladislavić’s novels, DOUBLE NEGATIVE (2013) and THE RESTLESS SUPERMARKET (2014) in Europe and North America. And Other Stories intend to build on this success with the publication of 101 DETECTIVES, Vladislavić’s collection of short stories, in June 2015, in North America and Europe. Random Umuzi have published all of Ivan’s books in South Africa, and published THE FOLLY earlier this year.


Praise for THE FOLLY

‘An exquisite intellectual delight’ – Southern African Review of Books

‘An uncanny ability to mine the stranger, more obsessive features of white South African life’ – SA Times

‘His stylistic virtuosity, sardonic wit, playful inventiveness and his cool intimations of menace transmute the banal into something rich and strange loaded with comic and philosophical significance.’ – Mail & Guardian

Praise for Ivan Vladislavić:

'Ivan Vladislavić is one of a handful of writers working in South Africa after apartheid whose work will still be read in fifty years.' – Jan Steyn, The White Review

‘Vladislavić is a rare, brilliant writer’ – Sunday Times (SA)

‘One of the most imaginative minds at work in South African literature today.’ – André Brink

On the twelfth day of Christmas Blake Friedmann sent to me…

(Blake Friedmann bring you our very own version of this classic English Christmas Carol)

12 new authors 

We’re very proud of all the talented new authors who have joined the agency this year: Isobel Dixon signed new client Sally Andrew, whose debut RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER: A Tannie Maria Mystery caused quite the storm at Frankfurt, Dennison Smith, whose novel THE EYE OF THE DAY is sold to Periscope, Pippa Goldschmidt, whose short story collection THE NEED FOR GREATER REGULATION IN OUTER SPACE will be published by Freight, Dominique Botha whose debut FALSE RIVER had an amazing run of prizes in South Africa this year and Cambridge fellow Edward Wilson-Lee, whose adventure to trace the history of SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND has won over publishers on both sides of the Atlantic – Isobel is negotiating US and UK deals now. Tom Witcomb signed CWA Dagger Highly-Commended Tim Baker, whose debut FEVER CITY was pre-empted by Faber in the UK and sold to Europa in the US, and Dan Burt, whose memoir YOU THINK IT STRANGE was bought by Overlook. And Juliet Pickering has had a fantastic year, signing ex-Feminist Times editor Deborah Coughlin, author of THE VAGINA Emma Rees, Green Carnation Prizewinner Anneliese Mackintosh, Dundee International Book Prizewinner Amy Mason, and romantic fiction author Sue Moorcroft.

In addition (with our star resident baker bringing us sneakily but appropriately to a baker’s dozen, with a rather special client) Juliet has just sold a cookbook on behalf of iconic British institution The Women’s Institute. A fabulous array of new female talent on the list – well done, JP!

And more to be announced in 2015 of course…


11 authors on UK shortlists

We’ve had a huge number of our amazing authors shortlisted for prizes this year. Deep breath… Monique Roffey’s HOUSE OF ASHES is shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, winner to be announced in January. Clare Best’s memoir THE PAPERMAKER is shortlisted for the Mslexia Memoir Competition, to be announced in February. Joseph O’Connor’s THE THRILL OF IT ALL was shortlisted for both the Wodehouse Prize and the Eason Novel of the Year award. Anneliese Mackintosh’s ANY OTHER MOUTH was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year, and won the Green Carnation Prize. Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize and she herself was chosen as a Red Woman to Watch 2014. Kerry Hudson’s novel THIRST was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize (yes, you counted right, that’s three authors on the shortlist!) and she was shortlisted for the Stationer’s Prize for her work on the WoMentoring project. Two authors were shortlisted for the romantic reader awards: Liz Fenwick and Sue Moorcroft. Muriel Macleod’s WHAT THE RIVER WASHED AWAY was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Rohan Gavin’s KNIGHTLEY & SON was shortlisted for both the Stockton Children’s Book Award and the Bolton Children’s Book Award and David Gilman is shortlisted for the James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award. And Tim Baker was highly commended for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

But it wasn’t just in the UK our authors had such success. In South Africa, Blake Friedmann authors scooped the cream of local prizes. Marlene Van Niekerk’s poetry collection KAAR was awarded the Elisabeth Eybers Prize for poetry in Afrikaans or English, and also won the prestigious Hertzog Prize and the University of Johannesburg Afrikaans prize. Etienne Van Heerden’s KLIMTOL won the W.A. Hofmeyr Prize for the best literary work in Afrikaans. SHARP EDGES by S.A. Partridge won the 2014 MER Prize for Youth Novel. Margie Orford’s latest Clare Hart novel WATER MUSIC was shortlisted for the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English fiction, and Zakes Mda’s novel THE SCULPTORS OF MAPUNGUBWE was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Main Prize.

And new client Dominique Botha virtually swept the board of South African prizes, with her autobiographical debut novel FALSE RIVER, which she wrote both in English and Afrikaans (as VALSRIVIER). It won the Eugéne Marais Prize 2014 for debut work awarded by the South African Academy for Science and Arts, the Jan Rabie-Rapport Prize 2014 for debut or early work in Afrikaans, the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for English Literature 2014, the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for Afrikaans Literature 2014, and was a finalist in the Sunday Times Literary Prize 2014, the Kyknet Rapport Prize and the 2014 Versindaba Lykgedig Competition.

Congratulations, everyone!


10 Roy Grace covers

Macmillan have reissued all ten of Peter James’ Roy Grace books with stunning new covers. And he’s not the only one to have the makeover treatment – Headline have rejacketed twenty of Sheila O’Flanagan’s books with brand new covers. We’ve had a ton of beautiful covers this year both from the UK and around the world, and you can check them all out on our pinterest board.


9 writers at Edinburgh Festival

We had a great run at Edinburgh Festival this August, with 9 of our writers from both books and media agents appearing at events. Edward Carey talked with Nathan Filer and Matthew Quick about creating characters in fiction and spoke to children about his IREMONGER trilogy. Monique Roffey appeared in conversation with Neel Mukherjee to talk about her novel HOUSE OF ASHES. Rohan Gavin ran a reading workshop on THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Sherlock Holmes’s most famous case, which bears a few similarities to his latest novel KNIGHTLEY & SON: K-9. Zakes Mda appeared as part of the Voices from South Africa series to talk about his novels, including his most recent book THE SCULPTORS OF MAPUNGUBWE. Margie Orford spoke with Parker Bilal about African crime fiction and her novel WATER MUSIC, the fifth featuring detective Clare Hart. Kerry Hudson appeared with Simon Van Booy, talking about her new novel THIRST and love stories. As part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Andrew Doyle performed his stand-up show ZERO TOLERANCE at the Stand, and also performed at the Gilded Ballon in OUTINGS, a play exploring true life stories of people coming out. Anna Emerson and Lizzie Bates of the Boom Jennies both had shows at the Fringe: AN EVENING WITH PATTI DUPONT and comedy show REPROBATES respectively.


8 deals for COBRA

Deon Meyer has had another great year, with 8 deals for his latest novel COBRA in 2014. The book is sold in 11 territories, making Deon’s latest his greatest yet. But the best may be still to come, as his UK publisher Hodder have signed three more books from him, the first of which, ICARUS, is another novel featuring Benny Griessel. Grove Atlantic, Le Seuil, Aufbau and AW Bruna already have rights to this new thriller.


7 movie deals for Andy Briggs

Our novel, comic book, transmedia and screenwriting dynamo Andy Briggs has been hard at work embarking on, finishing and otherwise engaging with various feature film projects across the year. A little (calling?) bird tells us there’ll be a new YA series from him soon as well… Go, Andy!


6 agents in Frankfurt

This year was one of Blake Friedmann’s biggest Frankfurt Book Fairs yet with 6 of our agents attending. It was Carole Blake’s 44th Frankfurt, and Isobel Dixon’s 20th, and it was also the first book fair for our new Rights Manager Melis Dagoglu. We also had a great deal of German buzz around our books at the fair, with German auctions for Karin Brynard’s crime thriller WEEPING WATERS and Sally Andrew’s RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER.


5 debut deals

We’ve placed some great books by first-time authors this year. Sally Andrew’s South African-set murder mystery RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER, featuring amateur sleuth and passionate cook Tannie Maria, has sold in 14 markets so far, with English language rights bought by Canongate in the UK, Text in Australia, Ecco Press in the US, HarperCollins in Canada and Umuzi in South Africa. Tim Baker’s counter-conspiracy thriller debut FEVER CITY was pre-empted by Faber in the UK, and sold to Europa in the US, with rights also snapped up in Japan and Italy. Benjamin Johncock’s space-race debut THE LAST PILOT went to Picador USA and a deal being wrapped up in the UK. Sandra Leigh-Price’s magical Night Circusesque debut THE BIRD’S CHILD was bought by HarperCollins Australia. Finally, Helen Walmsley-Johnson’s seminal book on ageing THE INVISIBLE WOMAN sold to Icon Books in the UK.


4 ways to keep up to date with our news…

As you can see, the Blake Friedmann team is busier than ever and we have several ways for you to keep up with our lovely authors and their news – do follow @BFLAgency on Twitter, find us on Facebook, check out our blog and news page on our website, and admire the many beautiful covers on our Pinterest page!


3 new additions to the BFLA family

This year we welcomed a new finance director, Sian Jenkins, a new office manager, Rachel Alvarez, and our most recent arrival, our new contracts manager, Resham Naqvi. Ellen Gallagher and Hattie Grunewald also joined our permanent staff, having proved as long-term interns just how invaluable they are. And we continue to be blessed with wonderful interns as part of our enthusiastic, energetic team.


2 Kirkus best books of the year (and other BFLA books in Books of the Year round ups)

Kirkus have chosen two of our authors among their best books of the year, with Edward Carey’s HEAP HOUSE on the teen list and Rohan Gavin’s KNIGHTLEY & SON on the children’s list (and in the Christmas spirit, do take a look at Edward Carey’s lovely HEAP HOUSE bauble, which featured on the cover of the Christmas Catalogue of fine independent bookshop in Bath, Mr B’s Emporium). In fact, many of our authors have been featured on Best Books of the Year round-ups. HEAP HOUSE was also picked for the New York Times Notable books, on Publisher’s Weekly and on Tatamkhulu Afrika’s BITTER EDEN was chosen on the NPR list. Anneliese Mackintosh’s ANY OTHER MOUTH was on lists in The Herald,, The Scotsman and Scots Whay Hae’s. Neel Mukherjee chose Ivan Vladislavic’s THE RESTLESS SUPERMARKET as one of his books of the year in the Irish Times, and John Boyne chose both Christopher Nicholson’s WINTER and Joseph O’Connor’s THE THRILL OF IT ALL. THE THRILL OF IT ALL was also selected by Colm Toibin in the Observer. Zoe Heller chose Manu Joseph’s SERIOUS MEN as one of her favourite books she’d read in 2014 in the New York Times Book Review. In South Africa, Sunday Times chose WEEPING WATERS by Karin Brynard, FALSE RIVER BY Dominique Botha and DIVIDED LIVES by Lyndall Gordon among their Best Reads of 2014. DIVIDED LIVES was also selected by Guardian as one of the best memoirs and biographies of 2014. Finally, Damon Galgut chose THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavic as one of his old gems in The New Indian Express.


And Peter James on a Brighton pier (tree!)


Have a great festive season and we’ll see you again in January!


Charles Lambert’s THE CHILDREN’S HOME pre-empted by Scribner

Photo copyright: Patrizia Casamirra

Photo copyright: Patrizia Casamirra

Charles Lambert’s magnificent work of the literary uncanny, THE CHILDREN’S HOME, has been sold by Isobel Dixon in a pre-empt to Nan Graham and John Glynn at Scribner. Scribner has bought North American rights and will publish in late 2015.  

Morgan is a shockingly disfigured recluse who never leaves the country mansion he is heir to. His isolation is only punctuated by the presence of the housekeeper, Engel, and the weekly visits of the kindly Doctor Crane. But his solitary existence is disturbed when a young boy and girl arrive in the house, as if from nowhere. Drawn to the mysterious children, Morgan lets them stay, and with the help of Engel and Crane, begins to care for them – and others who soon follow them. As the cluster of strangely wise children explore the corridors and abandoned rooms of the house, they reveal to Morgan a cabinet of curiosities – and bitter secrets of his own life.

Charles Lambert’s latest work, WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART, was published in the UK by The Friday Project in 2014, to wide acclaim. His short story ‘The Scent of Cinnamon’, published by ONE STORY,  was a recipient of The O. Henry Award in 2007.


Praise for Charles Lambert:

‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ – Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' – Beryl Bainbridge



‘One of the finest books I’ve read this year. Its beauty lies in Lambert’s language – his skewering of a particular sentiment with a pithy phrase, his evocation of an experience in a few striking words.’ – A Life in Books Best Books of 2014’

'A striking conceit... elegantly written and carries considerable emotional clout... poetic, tender and funny' –  Guardian

‘With 24 themed chapters and 10 numbered paragraphs, and each paragraph consisting of exactly 120 words, Lambert pieces together the sum of a life using gorgeous pen-portraits. An unusual and wonderful book to dip into.’ – Viv Groskop, Red Magazine

BFLA Authors in Best of 2014 Lists

John Boyne's (THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS) top books of 2014

John Boyne's (THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS) top books of 2014



It’s that time of year again when various media outlets release their ‘Best of’ lists, and we’re extremely proud that our authors have been included in a few of them. Below is a summary of the great places they were included and the great quotes that accompanied their pick.


HEAP HOUSE_front.png


HEAP HOUSE by Edward Carey

New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2014:

‘a dark and wildly original urban fantasy tale.’

Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2014:

‘Magnificently creepy… Deliciously macabre’

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2014:

‘Carey in a style reminiscent of Peake’s own, should appeal to ambitious readers seeking richly imagined and more-than-a-little-sinister fantasy.’ Reviewer’s Choice – the best books of 2014:

‘A desperately clever exploration of class and an indictment of late capitalist modernity, I can’t recommend this book enough.’


ANY OTHER MOUTH by Anneliese Mackintosh

List Top Scottish books of 2014:

‘cracking… a hot debut… tak[ing] on everything from grief, alcoholism and mental health to gang rape’

John Lister-Kay in The Scotsman’s Leading Scots’ top books of 2014:

‘The pain, the redemption, and above all the humour. This blend of fact and fiction will move you to tears.’ 

Herald Scotland Books of the Year 2014:

‘skilful, deft writing and a brutally honest insight into grief, mental illness and much more.’

Global Civilian's Best Books of 2014

‘Among the most important debuts of the year… by turns funny, affecting, heartening and strange, this is a hugely impressive first book.’ 



Kirkus Reviews Best Childrens’ Books of 2014:

‘Heaps of mystery, dry humor and tweed abound in this exemplar of crime fiction à la Doyle.’




THE THRILL OF IT ALL by Joseph O’Connor

Colm Toibin in The Observer – Writers choose their best books of 2014:

‘THE THRILL OF IT ALL uses layered narrative textures with both serious skill and engaging lightness so that the core drama emerges with clarity and wit.



Victoria Bateman and Emma Rees in Times Higher Education Books of 2014

'shifts attention away from professional women to those desperately scratching out a living elsewhere in society... This is a call to action.' - Victoria Bateman

'a marvellous ally, especially on those not infrequent days when the internet is a hostile, misogynist place.' - Emma Rees






Neel Mukherjee in The Irish Times Books of the Year:

‘It can be read as Vladislavic’s homage to Nabokov’s Pale Fire and is as imaginatively wild, as brilliantly conceived and written.’




BITTER EDEN by Tatamkhulu Afrika

NPR Best Books of 2014:

‘as beautiful as it is heartbreaking’





SERIOUS MEN by Manu Joseph

Zoe Heller in  New York Times Book Review Best book you read this year:

‘a witty arrogance and a weirdness… the funniest, most stylish book I’ve read this year.’


DIVIDED LIVES by Lyndall Gordon

Lin Sampson in Sunday Times 2014 best reads:

'layered and insightful.'

Included in Guardian's Best Biographies and Memoirs 2014




WEEPING WATERS by Karin Brynard

William Saunderson-Meyer in Sunday Times 2014 best reads:

'brimming with authenticity... with the translation beautifully done by Isobel Dixon and Maya Fowler. Unforgettable'



FALSE RIVER by Dominique Botha

Lin Sampson and Hamilton Wende in Sunday Times 2014 best reads:

'Beautiful, elegiac prose... touch[es] the heart of our constantly shifting identities, of sadness, memory and hope, of our place in nature, family and history.' - Hamilton Wende

'funny, sad and lyrical' - Lin Sampson



THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavic

Damon Galgut inThe New Indian Express Discovering Old Gems

'bafflingly under appreciated... immaculately-written.. a clever and elegant book that lodges in the mind like a dart.'