Chatto to publish ground-breaking new memoir from Kerry Hudson, LOWBORN

Kerry Hudson author photo.jpg

Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director at Chatto & Windus, has acquired UK and Commonwealth (ex. Canada) rights to LOWBORN: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns by award-winning novelist Kerry Hudson. Rights were bought from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedman as part of a two book deal.

LOWBORN is a deeply personal book which will see Hudson return to the towns she grew up in around the UK: she lived in seven places before the age of 15, in a succession of council estates and B&Bs for the homeless, where she attended nine primary schools and five secondary schools. In returning to these places, she hopes to uncover long buried truths about her own life but also seeks to illuminate what life is really like for Britain’s poorest today. Hudson brings her own experiences and her authentic voice to one of the most urgent and pressing issues of our times.  

Kerry Hudson will document her journey around the country for the Pool where she will be a regular contributor in the lead up to publication of Lowborn in January 2019. Her first piece will run on Wednesday 25 October.  You can also follow her on Twitter: @thatkerryhudson.

Kerry Hudson comments:  ‘To write a book like this, and begin to try and answer questions I’ve had since my youth, is truly something I never imagined might happen. Alongside my own story, Lowborn will also tell those of so many in the UK who are often overlooked, exploring subjects that I feel desperately need to be highlighted. I’m incredibly happy to work once again with Chatto & Windus and with an editor as brilliant and astute as Becky knowing they feel as passionately as I do that these are stories that need to be given voice.’

Becky Hardie comments: ‘Using her own troubled childhood as a map, Kerry Hudson’s Lowborn will take a hard look at what it means to be poor in post-Brexit Britain. We are so proud to be Kerry’s publisher – she is a force for good in our world – and Lowborn will be a crucially important, timely and affecting book. We need this book, just as we need Kerry Hudson.’

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma (Chatto & Windus, 2012) was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, the Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst (Chatto & Windus, 2014), won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Etranger.

Kerry founded The WoMentoring Project and has written for Grazia, Guardian Review, Observer New Review, Metro and YOU magazine. She has represented the British Council in South Korea, mentored with IdeasTap Inspires and TLC, teaches for the Arvon Foundation and was commissioned by the Writers’ Centre Norwich to give a provocation on diversity as part of their ‘National Conversation’ series.


THIRST by Kerry Hudson was chosen by WH Smith as one of the titles for Fresh Talent promotion, launched in February with the aims to promote new and emerging writers.

The retailer said it had been working closely with publishers to curate the list, which he expects will capture the attention of commuters and travellers. W H Smith Travel fiction buyer Matt Bates said: “Our Fresh Talent promotion is going from strength to strength, showcasing the very best in new and emerging writing talent. We have worked closely with major publishing houses as well as independents to curate what is undoubtedly a very strong selection.”

THIRST is a contemporary love story from Scottish First Book Award winner Kerry Hudson. It has been published in 2014 by Chatto, and translated in French and Italian.

Alena and Dave are both on the run from disaster, and meet during a London heatwave to begin a love affair as dark, joyful and frenetic as the city itself. Dave, who has built a carefully controlled world of self-denial and isolation, is drawn to Alena's passion for life, while Alena discovers that sex can be more than a transaction and that love and safety are priceless commodities. But a relationship founded on secrets is easily shattered, and when Alena's ex-lover arrives, threatening to expose her, Alena flees. By the time Dave overcomes his mistrust about Alena and her past, and follows her into the bitter Russian winter, he can only hope he's not too late to convince her that just as spring will come, second and even third chances can always be found. THIRST is a heart-breaking romance of almost unbearable fragility based in contemporary East London and rural Russia.

Born in Aberdeen, Kerry Hudson grew up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks which provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel. She was chosen as a Bookseller Rising Star 2014 for her work on the WoMentoring project. She currently divides her writing time and affections between Hackney and Hanoi, and is working on her third novel.


Praise for THIRST:

‘Explores the lives of people not generally considered fit for literature and does so with wit and a shrewdness that makes Hudson's subjects zing from the page.’ – Guardian

'Tremendously affecting… impressively unostentatious' – Claire Allfree, The Metro

‘Heart-wrenching without being maudlin, THIRST is a novel about the scraps of hope that people find when they’re completely out of options… Hudson has an eye for detail and her meticulous research shows without bogging down the narrative. There are villains, but no obvious heroes. It’s a bleak outlook, but Hudson makes it beautiful.’ – Kaite Welsh, The Independent