Hodder Children’s Books acquire two novels from bestseller Sheila O’Flanagan

Photo copyright: Laurie Fletcher

Photo copyright: Laurie Fletcher

Hodder Children’s Books has announced the acquisition of two books for the 10+ age group from adult number one bestseller Sheila O’Flanagan. Anne McNeil and Jon Appleton jointly acquired British Commonwealth ex Canada rights from Carole Blake. The first book, THE RUNNER, will be published in 2016 and is the first frontlist volume rights purchase for the Hodder Silver imprint, which thus far has been digital-only.

When Joe flees school bullies and finds himself in another world, he must team up with native Kaia to save her civilisation. Kaia is a Runner, one of three teenagers tasked with transporting the crystals that power the shield that keeps her country safe from their lifelong enemy tribe. Travelling into enemy territory, Joe has to come to terms with this new world, his feelings for Kaia, and that all may not be as it seems with the Runner’s task… 

Anne McNeil said: “I was delighted when Marion Donaldson, Sheila’s publisher at Headline, passed The Runner to me to read, with a view to publishing it on the Hodder Children’s Books list.  So many submissions from authors outside children’s books have come to us over the years, from writers who perhaps perceive a gap; or look for a trend. Sheila, on the other hand, has written a novel for children because she had the story inside her and clearly immersed herself in the telling of the tale.  I love that. And I think that this book has real authenticity. Her enjoyment in the writing is self-evident.”

Jon Appleton said: “At Hodder Children’s Books, we’ve been curating Silver, our science fiction and fantasy list, for readers of all ages who love immersive, vividly created worlds. The Runner exemplifies all the qualities of Silver’s timeless, classic titles, and we’re delighted to make it our first brand-new acquisition and our focus title in 2016.”

Sheila O’Flanagan said: I’m delighted to embark on a new creative journey with a group of people who are so passionate about children’s books.”

Carole Blake said: Our relationship with Headline over the past 15 years has been very successful and satisfying, so it’s terrific to be able to keep this very different novel in the Hachette family.”

Sheila O’Flanagan’s adult novels are published in the UK by Headline, also part of the Hachette Group, and have sold in 17 languages. Her latest, IF YOU WERE ME, was published in July 2014.


Praise for Sheila O’Flanagan’s adult novels:

‘Sparkling and inspiring ... a must for the contemporary woman.’ – Ireland on Sunday

‘Magnificent, feel-good stuff ’ – The Bookseller

‘Sheila O’Flanagan writes with fluency as she explores territories of friendship, love and sweet revenge, and into it all, she tips a light comic touch.’ – Irish Independent

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.