Carole Blake Open Doors Project

Blake Friedmann has decided to offer two places on their inaugural Carole Blake Open Doors Project, as well as a further three-month paid internship to a third applicant.

Ada Igwegbu, from Aberdeen, will take the first placement, from 8th to 19th May 2017. She said: ‘At the risk of resurrecting clichéd words, I am terribly excited to be part of the Carole Blake Open Doors Project. I heard about the programme by complete accident: a friend mentioned it in passing, I applied and here I am. I am thrilled.’

Connor Faulkner, from Doncaster, has been offered a second placement from 31st July to 11th August. He writes: 'I'm incredibly excited to be chosen as a candidate for the Carole Blake Open Doors Project. It's not very often that you're presented with such a brilliant opportunity, and I can't wait to get stuck into an industry which has eluded me for so long.'

Grace Kabeya, from Zimbabwe by way of University of Exeter, will take up a 3-month paid internship from May to July 2017. ‘A chance. A platform. An opportunity to learn more about the industry in one of the best possible ways. I could not be more grateful and excited. It is all I can talk about and I cannot wait to begin.’

Isobel Dixon added: 'All of us at the agency - and many of our internship alumni now working across the book trade - are looking forwar‎d to welcoming the first Open Door candidates to Mandela Street and sharing insights into this brilliant industry. We're very grateful to David Hicks and The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) for their generous support of this initiative, and to others who have offered to help in many ways including, crucially, with their time and experience. It's this generosity and energy that makes ours one of the great creative industries, one we seek to make even more varied, dynamic and inclusive.' 

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project is a programme specifically aimed at encouraging candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds to enter the publishing industry. Applications will re-open in July for a placement in late autumn 2017 – details of how to apply will be published on the Blake Friedmann website.

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project offers 10 days of work shadowing to selected applicants over a two-week period, including funding for travel and up to twelve nights’ accommodation in London. The programme, which will run twice a year, will include close mentorship with Blake Friedmann’s book agents, the opportunity to attend selected meetings with authors and others working in the publishing industry, and the chance to be involved in every aspect of day-to-day life as an agent. It is intended that candidates will come away from the project with varied knowledge of working for a leading literary agency, the beginnings of new and essential relationships in the publishing industry, and some excellent experience to include on their CVs.

Carole Blake and the Blake Friedmann team have always placed great value on diversity and openness, in the company's client list as well as its hiring practices. We aim to build on this foundation and be proactive about drawing from a wider pool of talented applicants who are passionate about books and ambitious about getting a job in publishing.

For more details on how to get involved with the project please contact Hattie Grunewald


We are delighted for our clients Tim John and Roger Spottiswode that ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ has won Best British Film at this year’s 3rd annual National Film Awards UK. The National Film Academy’s annual awards celebrates the UK’s best films and talent both in front and behind the cameras, and this year’s event, hosted at Porchester Hall in London, was home to a plethora of stars of industry.

The award, voted for by audiences, was hotly contested, and ‘Bob’ beat off competition including ‘Our Kind Of Traitor’, directed by Susanna White and starring Damien Lewis and Alan Skaarsard, and  ‘A United Kingdom’, directed by Amma Asante and starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo.

Directed by Roger, screenplay by Tim (and Maria Nation), and adapted from James Bowen’s international bestselling novel, ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ is based on Bowen’s true life experiences on the streets. Produced by Adam Rolston at Shooting Script Films, and financed/exec produced by Prescience, the theatrical release was November 2016, and was greeted by warm reviews and strong box office. The film stars Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head and Bob the Cat as himself. It is now available on DVD.

THE SATANIC MECHANIC serves up a sublime second helping in the Tannie Maria series!

US and Canadian readers hungry for the sequel to Sally Andrew’s delicious debut RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER are in for a treat, as Ecco and Harper Avenue publish the second of the Tannia Maria Mysteries, THE SATANIC MECHANIC, in North America today. It’s already received praise with a Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly who described it as ‘sublime’, while Seattle Review of Books called it ‘something to savor’. ‘I couldn’t resist diving into this book, almost as soon as I got the copy, and have read it twice since, says another reviewer. See more praise for the series below.

Tannie Maria is the plucky and endearing recipe writer turned crime fighter – and before she has time to take her Venus Chocolate Cake out of the oven, our glorious heroine finds herself embroiled in another mystery. In this wonderful sequel to RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER, Slimkat the land rights activist finds his life under threat and Tannie Maria is determined to find out who wants to kill him. But her boyfriend is keen to keep Tannie out of danger, and she's pretty sure he's hiding something so Tannie has mysteries of her own solve… Blending a perfect whodunnit with lovable characters, Sally Andrew really does have the perfect recipe for a crime series.

RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER was a Kirkus Best Book of 2015, A Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book 2015, The Bookseller Fiction editor’s Choice 2015 and A Good Housekeeping Book of the Month. It was published in the UK by Canongate, the US by Ecco Press, Canada by HarperCollins, Australia by Text and South Africa by Umuzi, and sold into 14 languages (and counting) across 5 continents. You can read here about how Sally created Tannie Maria, and here Sally writes about the appeal of ‘cosy’ crime.

Sally Andrew divides her time between the Cape Town coast and a nature reserve near Ladismith in the Klein Karoo, which she shares with her artist partner, a giant eland and a secretive leopard.

Praise for the Tannie Maria series:

‘Vivid, amusing and immensely enjoyable read about detection (and cooking) in an intriguing part of southern Africa. …  A triumph.’ – Alexander McCall Smith

‘A culinary and linguistic treat … and has a pleasing bite.’ – Cathy Rentzenbrink, Editor’s Choice, The Bookseller

‘In a suspense fiction world filled with serial killers, dead girls and gratuitously detailed depravity, the intelligently written cozy is an increasingly rare bird.’ – Kate Sharper News

‘Winning debut culinary cozy. Take a pinch of Alexander McCall Smith, a dash of Diane Mott Davidson, and add a smidge of the wild veld and you’ll get a taste for this lekker story (that’s “delicious” in Afrikaans). … With a fascinating setting, engaging characters, and a full complement of drool-worthy recipes, this is sure to leave readers craving more.’ – * Starred Library Journal

‘A delightful debut, tender and funny. The mystery takes on the worldwide problem of abused women while revealing both the beauties and problems of South Africa. And the recipes will make you want to drop everything and start cooking.’ – * Starred review, Kirkus

‘An intriguing mystery in an exotic locale, a work of enormous charm.’—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

‘Delectable. …Mouth-watering descriptions of food and landscapes delivered in an Afrikaans patois produce a distinctly new kind of tea cozy, one just right for curling up on a winter afternoon while daydreaming about the heat of the African sun’—Leigh Haber, O Magazine, ’16 Books to Start 2016 Right’

 ‘A sincere, charming South African debut…its many irresistible recipes are the creation of Tannie Maria, a gentle-souled widow who believes that good food can solve problems bigger than hunger…Tannie Maria’s painful experiences of domestic abuse give Andrew’s novel a credibility and depth that nicely ballast its many heartwarming moments.’— Charles Finch, USA Today

Sheila O’Flanagan’s THE MISSING WIFE a Number One Bestseller!

Sheila O’Flanagan’s compelling novel THE MISSING WIFE, published in paperback on 9 March, has been a bestselling success in its first full of week of sale, shooting to the Number One bestseller spot in Ireland and Number Four in the Sunday Times Paperback Fiction Bestseller list.

THE MISSING WIFE was hugely popular amongst O’Flanagan’s fans when it was released by Headline in 2016, and broke the bestselling Irish writer’s already impressive record for the number of weeks in Ireland’s Top 5.

Set in the sunny south of France, this engrossing novel charts the story of a woman determined to escape, the man who wants to find her, and the friends and family unaware of the dark truth behind her flight.

When Imogen Naughton vanishes, everyone who knows her is shocked. She has a perfect marriage. Her handsome husband treats her like a princess. She's always said how lucky she is. So why has she left? And how will she survive without Vince?

What goes on behind closed doors is often a surprise, and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap she knows she must. But as she begins her journey to find the woman she once was, Imogen's past is right behind her...

Will it catch up with her? And will she be ready to face it if it does?

THE MISSING WIFE will be published in the US in February 2018 by Grand Central, and rights are already sold in several foreign markets including Czech Republic, Russia, Estonia and Germany, where Insel will publish.

See more on Sheila’s website.

Follow Sheila on Twitter


‘Another first class bestseller. I read the book in one sitting as it was so enjoyable, full of romance and kept you riveted until the last page. A must for all Sheila's fans’ – Woman's Way

 ‘A smart and twisty yarn’ – Heat

‘O'Flanagan's lightness of touch and gentle characterisations have produced another fine read; an ideal addition to that summer holiday.’ – Sunday Express

‘A lovely book that will keep you guessing right up until the end.’ – Bella

‘Insightful, witty and full of fun... This is touching, tense and clever writing.’ – Irish Independent

‘This GONE GIRL-esque novel will have you gripped until the very end **** -  Look

‘Must-read’ – Express

Sheila O’Flanagan is the award-winning author of over twenty novels, including THE MISSING WIFE, MY MOTHER’S SECRET, IF YOU WERE ME, ALL FOR YOU (winner of the Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award) and BAD BEHAVIOUR, as well as the bestselling short story collections DESTINATIONS, CONNECTIONS and A SEASON TO REMEMBER.  In 2016 Hodder Children’s Books published THE CRYSTAL RUN, her first book for younger readers and the paperback is due out in May 2017, with the follow-up THE CRYSTAL RUN: SHIELD OF LIES out in 2018.

In 2003 she received the prestigious Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED by Beryl Matthews - published tomorrow by Allison & Busby!

Published tomorrow in hardback by Allison & Busby is WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED by Beryl Matthews.

Set in London, 1912, WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED follows identical twins Lester and Lillia Holdsworth – both destined for the stage. Lester is a brilliant pianist; Lillia a magnificent opera singer. But their cruel father has other ideas for their future. Lester is sent to a military academy, while Lillia must marry Lord Dalton - a self-righteous, pompous friend of her father's looking for a young wife to give him an heir. Yet their plans to defy their father's wishes are put on hold when war breaks out in 1914. Suddenly Lester is flying planes for the RFC and Lillia trains as a nurse to help those wounded at home, and then abroad. For both twins, the fighting brings hardships and difficult choices. They wait in hope, like the rest of Europe, for the war to end and the music to start again.

Matthews is an incredibly prolific writer, publishing a novel almost every year since 2002. Her first novel THE OPEN DOOR was published by Penguin when Matthews was 71.


About Beryl Matthews

As a young girl, Beryl Matthews’ ambition was to become a professional singer, but lack of funds drove her into an office, where she worked her way up from tea-girl to credit controller. After she retired, she began to pursue her dream of becoming a published author.