THE TYPEWRITER'S TALE by Michiel Heyns, published today by St. Martin's Press

THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE by Michiel Heyns is published today in the USA by St. Martin’s Press. When the novel was first released in South Africa, it was shortlisted for both the Commonwealth Prize for African Writers, and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize, SA. It was also featured as a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime in 2016.

The book has already been receiving pre-publication praise in the USA:

‘Literary history blends masterfully with a plot of intrigue in this slim and delightful novel' - Kirkus Reviews

‘An engaging whodunit atmosphere, in which faithfully re-created real-life individuals mix well with authentically drawn fictitious ones' Starred Booklist


THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE brings to life acclaimed writer Henry James, but the author is not the hero of the piece — the heroine is the wonderful fictional character of his typist, Frieda Wroth.

We discover society in the town of Rye around ‘the Master’, as seen through the cool gaze of his typist, Frieda — a woman stirred by the suffragette movement and her own fledgling passions and ambitions. Admiring of the great author, she nevertheless feels under-valued, as his mere ‘typewriter’. But when the dashing Morton Fullerton comes to visit, Frieda finds herself at the centre of an intrigue every bit as engrossing as the novels she types every day, bringing her into conflict with the flamboyant Edith Wharton, and compromising her loyalty to her employer.

Caught in a complex triangle with urbane, long-winded James, suave, witty Morton Fullerton and voracious, larger-than life Edith Wharton, Frieda tries to obey the Master’s dictum: ‘Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.’ But living, she finds, exacts a price…


More praise for THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE:

 ‘THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE beams a brilliant light onto the world of Henry James, illuminating the language, manners and social mores of the early twentieth century. This exquisite account of the master and his amanuensis is a tour de force; her story, for all the confines of a typist's life in Rye, a triumph. Heyns is an important figure in South African letters; here, he is profound and humorous. THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE is a breathtaking work and, above all, a pleasure to read.’ – Zoe Wicomb

‘What a great idea!  The master-observer is observed by his stenographer. A delicious treat for Henry James aficionados, and also for those who may never have read a word. Sly, sympathetic, high-minded, involving, moving, funny. I loved it, and was very sorry to reach the last page. But Frieda Wroth and Mr James and the other characters will live on in my mind.’ – Ronald Frame

‘THE TYPEWRITER’S TALE is admirable for its Jamesian inwardness and delicacy. It’s a brilliant idea to explore the typewriter’s view of the great writer she serves and to imagine so plausibly how she is drawn into his world.’ – Lyndall Gordon

‘A hugely refreshing South African novel … Heyns has a knack for building clear, expressive prose like a watchmaker fitting together the workings of a timepiece.’ – Gareth Pike, Sunday Times


Michiel Heyns is a Professor Emeritus of English Literature, prize-winning novelist, translator, and critic. All of his novels have been published in South Africa by Jonathan Ball, who publish I AM PANDARUS in 2017. Freight will publish LOST GROUND in the UK in 2018.


Valerie Brandes and Laure Deprez of Jacaranda Books have acquired LITTLE SUNS, the latest novel by acclaimed South African writer Zakes Mda. A deal for UK and British Commonwealth rights, excluding Southern Africa, was struck with Mda’s agent, Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann. Originally published in South Africa by Random House’s Umuzi imprint, Jacaranda will publish LITTLE SUNS in their Global Classics list in 2018.

  Author Zakes Mda. Photograph by Sal Idriss

Author Zakes Mda. Photograph by Sal Idriss

The novel opens in 1903 as rickety old wanderer Malangana – ‘Little Suns' – searches for his lost love Mthwakazi, a feisty healer who once tended his clan’s queen. As the trail of his romantic quest goes hot and cold, Malangana recalls how his king refused to be coerced into joining forces with the British and how his people’s uprising and the murder of Magistrate Hamilton Hope sparked vicious retribution from the colonisers. The Wars of Hope parted him from his beloved – after the decades of humiliation and exile, can he find her now?

LITTLE SUNS is based on real historical events – after these frontier wars were quelled, Zakes Mda’s own ancestors were exiled to Lesotho. In this vivid new novel Mda has drawn on published accounts and the oral stories of family members and local praise poets, woven together with his uniquely vigorous prose, historical insight and humour.

Laure Deprez said of the acquisition, ‘We are deeply honoured to be publishing this acclaimed author from South Africa. We feel confident that Zakes Mda will find significant success in the UK market.’

Zakes Mda said, ‘I'm greatly honored to be published by Jacaranda, joining a number of African writers whose work I respect immensely, and opening my work to a much broader readership.’

Agent Isobel Dixon praised Jacaranda’s ‘spirited dedication to diverse voices’ and said ‘it’s wonderful that Zakes has found a home there. His many fans have been clamouring for greater access to his work in the UK and I rejoice in the thought that LITTLE SUNS will find many more readers here now.’

Praise for Zakes Mda:

 ‘The great South African novelist of his generation, a writer rich in both imagination and ironic political attitude.’ The Philadelphia Inquirer

 ‘A voice for which one should feel not only affection but admiration’ – New York Times

‘It’s a different kind of South African literature, a South African magical realism …I can’t wait to read more’. Barbara Kingsolver on WAYS OF DYING

‘In novel after novel, Zakes Mda seems to have cultivated a mode of writing in which the realistic and the magical co-exist with unruffled ease.’ – Harry Garuba, Independent

'Zakes Mda is among the most acclaimed exponents of a new artistic freedom. His fiction has a beguiling lyricism and humour.' – Maya Jaggi, The Guardian

Zakes Mda is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent writers, and many of his era-defining plays and novels are hailed as classics of the literary canon. He divides his time between South Africa and the U.S., working as a professor of Creative Writing at Ohio University, director of the Southern African Multimedia AIDS Trust in Sophiatown, and dramaturge at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. He is a patron of the Etisalat Prize.

Follow Zakes Mda on Twitter @ZakesMda

THE HIDING PLACE by Trezza Azzopardi, re-published today by Picador

Trezza Azzopardi’s THE HIDING PLACE is re-published today by Picador, as part of their Picador Classic series. Originally published in 2000, this intensely lyrical debut novel portrays the life of Dolores – the youngest of six daughters, growing up amidst a disintegrating family in 1960’s Cardiff.

When it was first released, THE HIDING PLACE won the 2001 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. The edition published today features a beautiful new cover and an introduction by D. J. Taylor.

Dolores is the youngest of six daughters. Growing up in the 1960s in Cardiff's poverty stricken Tiger Bay, her life is cursed from the start when, on the day of her birth, her father gambles and loses everything on a bet that Dolores will be a boy. As Dolores grows older, we see the world through her eyes: Tiger Bay is a place of gaming rooms and cafes, of crumbling houses and burning secrets, and for Dolores and her sisters, their home is a dangerous place, filled equally by fear and love. Thirty years later, the estranged sisters return to Tiger Bay for their mother's funeral. It is a time of consolation, of memories and nightmares, and a chance for Dolores to understand the tragedy that has shaped her existence.



 ‘Vivid, moving, alive: The Hiding Place opens up ordinary-looking doors to let us into an intense and brilliantly foreign world.’ – Andrea Ashworth

'Dark and stifling images abound in this powerful first novel… Azzopardi is an assured magician when it comes to tricks to keep the reader turning the pages, despite the harshness of her material…   An astonishingly accomplished book.’ – The Independent

THE HIDING PLACE has been compared with the work of Frank McCourt and Andrea Ashworth and it is not hard to see why. But Azzopardi’s book is fiction and it has a certain poise and cohesion of theme that cannot be achieved in memoir…. Azzopardi has written a scalding, thrilling book about the havoc and despair it is possible to wreak inside a family; but also how the bonds formed within it cannot be destroyed by violence, poverty, time, fire – anything.’ – The Observer

‘The unsentimental quality and the constant beauty of Azzopardi’s writing … She has clearly mastered principles of precision and control, holding the reader throughout with a deft touch.’ – The Times

‘A writer of remarkable sensibility and literary prowess …readers will be riveted by this brilliantly psychological prose poem of a family united only in helplessness and despair, in a poverty-stricken corner of the world rarely seen in fiction.’ – Publishers Weekly


Trezza Azzopardi was born and grew up in Cardiff, and teaches Creative Writing at UEA. Her novels REMEMBER ME (2004) and WINTERTON BLUE (2007) were both listed for the Wales Book of the Year. Her latest novel, THE SONG HOUSE, was serialised on BBC Radio 4. The novella, THE TIP OF MY TONGUE, based on one of the tales from The Mabinogion, was published in October 2013.

MASTER OF WAR: VIPER'S BLOOD by David Gilman - out in hardback from Head of Zeus (and THE LAST HORSEMAN out in paperback)!

VIPER’S BLOOD, the fourth title in the bestselling MASTER OF WAR series, is published in hardback today by Head of Zeus. This novel sees Gilman continuing his gripping take on the Hundred Years War, following on from the events of GATE OF THE DEAD, in which Thomas Blackstone left his life as a mercenary in 1350s Tuscany.

As VIPER’S BLOOD begins, Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest host England has ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict.

Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King's daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone's family to revenge the defeats he inflicted on them. Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive...

Robert Fabbri, bestselling author of the Vespasian series, has described the MASTER OF WAR series as a “gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty”. The series has been sold in Brazil, Hungary, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Germany, where Rowohlt will publish the first three titles this year with a major marketing campaign.

David’s "gripping... smart and subtle" standalone THE LAST HORSEMAN, featuring American and Irish characters in the South African War, was published by Head of Zeus last year and is also out today in paperback. The Bookbag picked THE LAST HORSEMAN as one of the Best Historical Fiction Books of 2016.


Praise for the MASTER OF WAR series:

‘Move over Bernard Cornwell! Historical fiction at its best.’ – Historical Novel Society

‘Like a punch from a mailed fist, MASTER OF WAR gives a true taste of the Hundred Years War. It is a gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty.' - Robert Fabbri, bestselling author of the Vespasian series.

‘If you only read one historical debut this year, make it this one. The prose is sharper than a bodkin arrow, the pace faster than thought and to be honest it was a book that I just couldn’t put down. Great stuff.’ – Gareth Wilson, - Falcata Times

 ‘A violent, tempestuous, glorious novel. I was gripped from the very beginning and the book never once let go of me until its end, by which point I was exhausted by its intensity, thrills and trauma. Among my top historical fiction reads of the year.' – For Winter Nights

 ‘See-saw drama at its best… so many reasons why, when life tried to encourage me to put the book down, I resisted stridently. This is writing that twists around seldom seen hist-fict depth.’ – Ani Johnson, The Bookbag



'Gritty, compelling, an exciting yet moving tale of love, war and Africa.' - Tony Park, bestselling author of RED EARTH

'Gilman's writing is, as always, powerful and sympathetic to the subject...The simply excellent writing drags you from rain-soaked Ireland to the dusty plans of the Transvaal, making you experience every step and emotion along the way.' - Parmenion Books

'Gripping and full of action, but is also smart and subtle about questions of loyalty and guilt in a war with few good guys.' - The Times

'David once again proves his ability to add texture into his tapestry in the form of sub-plots and back stories...A novel that packs so much alongside and under a totally riveting story.' - The Bookbag Top Ten Historical Fiction Books of 2016

'Gilman had me hooked from page one...[He] has actually remained neutral in telling the story, a feat that shows what a truly great author he is.' - Breakaway Reviews

'The writing is sharp, contains some great characterisation...Back this up with top notch action sequences, more than a few heart-in-mouth moments, backed with good pace and all round it's a series for me to savour with each new offering. Cracking' - Gareth Wilson, Falcata Times

'Packed full of intrigue, adventure and excitement...The writing is skilful, and while the story is a page turner full of adventure, there are moments in which we are reminded that though most of the characters are fictional, the horror of this war was not...A perfect read for fans of Bernard Cornwell.' - Historical Novel Review

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 Photo credit: Stevie Finegan

Photo credit: Stevie Finegan

Icon Books has acquired THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY by Nancy Tucker. Commissioning editor Kiera Jamison has acquired World English language rights from Hattie Grunewald at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency.

Nancy’s first book, THE TIME IN BETWEEN: A MEMOIR OF HUNGER AND HOPE was called ‘stylish and incisive’ by the Guardian, ‘astonishingly good’ by the Sunday Times and was praised for its nuanced understanding and honesty by Psychologist magazine and MIND. 

Based on 100+ hours’ of interviews with young women, THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY explores what it’s really like to experience mental illness, and how we can all be more sensitive towards those who suffer. 

THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY explores seven conditions – including anxiety, self-harm, borderline personality disorder, OCD, binge eating disorder, PTSD and dissociative identity disorder – offering a nuanced, authentic impression of what it means to suffer from each. Conversations about mental health are increasing, and the subject is experiencing a long overdue ‘moment’. However, the current landscape lacks depictions which are both vivid and sensitive; arresting and nuanced; humorous and meaningful.

Having started her writing career with an affecting memoir of her own battles with anorexia and bulimia nervosa, Tucker is keen to demystify mental illness and to and humanize its many sufferers. She says, ‘What we lack are books which combine the personal with the academic, placing stories of suffering in the context of the root of that suffering – and which do so sensitively, honestly and readably. I wanted to offer readers a unique window into the day-to-day trials of living with an unwell mind.’

Adds Jamison, ‘We are delighted to be working with Nancy again. Her observations are keen, her tone in turns humorous, sharp and poignant, and towards her subjects deeply compassionate. She pushes us all to do better in how we think, talk about and treat mental illness, particularly in young women.’

It is essential reading, not just for sufferers of mental illness and their loved ones, but for all those who come into contact with – and wish to better understand – the mentally unwell.

Icon will publish as an £14.99 Demy hardback, and as an ebook, in spring 2018.

For more information please contact Claire Maxwell, Publicity Manager; / 0207 700 9967