Blake Friedmann Authors in Best of 2018 Lists

With 2018 drawing to a close, everyone is sharing their favourite books of the year. At Blake Friedmann, we are so proud that our authors have been featured in so many of these selections. In celebration of these amazing achievements, we have compiled this summary of the lists in which our authors were included, along with the praise that accompanied their selection.



Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'Mesmerizing story…  It's impossible not to fall in love with Saba. She brings a ton of emotional texture to the story.'


SLAY IN YOUR LANE by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

Grazia, The 12 Books We Couldn’t Stop Talking About This Year

‘Guide to be­ing a black girl in mod­ern ur­ban Britain which is es­sen­tial read­ing for both the women it de­scribes and any­one who could do with a crash course in un­der­stand­ing their lives. Un­miss­able.’

The Guardian, Favourite Books of 2018

‘Never would I have thought a modern take on the British black female experience would be covered so wonderfully and with such excitement by two British black females. The range of topics were discussion worthy, and filled me for weeks with talking points … BUY A COPY FOR THE NEW YEAR AND BE SURPRISED AND EXCITED.’

Kimberley Sheehan, The Reading Agency, Books of the Year 2018

‘This book is a brilliant starting point to understand what it's like to be woman, black and a Londoner in 2018. It ultimately left me feeling hopeful about the future for women and empowered -- which has been a nice change compared to the rest of the year!’

Forbes, The Most Empowering Books by Female Authors of 2018

‘In this highly anticipated work from award-winning journalist Yomi Adegoke and her best friend, marketer Elizabeth Uviebinene SLAY IN YOUR LANE celebrates the gains that black women have already made in Britain whilst also highlighting the work that still needs to be done. It’s an encouraging and honest account of their own lives and a celebration of the achievements of some of Britain’s most successful black women that’ll leave you feeling fired up and hopeful for the future. For black women it serves as an inspiration and for other women and men a guide on how we can better support women of colour.’



Jake Kerridge, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Raven Crime Reads, Top 10 Crime Reads of the Year 2018

 ‘CITY WITHOUT STARS is an intense, emotive and completely absorbing read, suffused with a violent energy, and with an unrelenting pace to its narrative. It heightens the reader’s senses and imagination throughout, completely enveloping the reader in this corrupt and violent society, with instances of intense human frailty and moments of strength, underpinned by precise description, and flurries of dark humour. I thought it was absolutely marvellous.’

The Telegraph, 50 Best Books of 2018

‘A grim but unputdownable thriller set in Mexico, where the homicide rate is so high that a prolific serial killer goes nearly unnoticed.’

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UNCOVERED by Ian Birch

Steve Smith, Folio Magazine, The Best Books for Print Lovers 2018

‘This is the book true magazine geeks will appreciate most this holiday… a deft and deep compendium of provocations from titles large and small.’

LITTLE by Edward Carey

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The Times, Books of the Year (Historical Fiction)

'Told with extraordinary panache, and illustrated by Edward Carey, this tale of the founder of Madame Tussauds is a macabre joy.'

Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Books of the Year

'Edward Carey's LITTLE is weird, wonderful and unlike any other historical novel this year. Enriched by the author's own illustrations, this retelling of the early life of Marie Grosholtz (aka Madame Tussaud) is both macabre and moving.'

Kirkus, Best Historical Fiction

Amal El-Mohtar, NPR, Best Books of 2018

'Picking up on the same themes of bodies and objects as his Iremonger trilogy, Edward Carey's LITTLE is a tenderly macabre fictional memoir written in the voice of Anne Marie Grosholtz, the woman who would become Madame Tussaud… her life is full of deep sadness mixed with fabulous incident, and compassionate insight punctuated by the author's whimsical illustrations.'

William Ryan, Irish Independent, Authors Top Books of 2018

'A gripping novel of shy wit and darkly humorous occurrences and is mesmerising in its virtuosity. On top of which the author's own illustrations are wonderfully bizarre, as indeed is the story he tells.'



Jon Coates, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Jake Kerridge, Crime Time, Best of the Year 2018


HOLD/HOUSEGIRL by Michael Donkor

Melissa Gray, NPR, Best Books of 2018

‘I hate novels. This is a strong statement, I know – here’s why I make it before telling you about HOUSEGIRL: I hate novels because too often, I know exactly where the story is heading, where the characters are heading. I loved HOUSEGIRL because Michael Donkor's storytelling and character building were so exquisite… Two days after I finished the book, I found myself actually missing the characters. This is a rare accomplishment for a first-time author, which is why I recommend HOUSEGIRL – even though it's a novel.'

The Observer, Best Books of 2018

‘Exquisite debut’

Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'A unique take on the classic "housegirl" narrative.'


PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ME by Finuala Dowling

Jackie Kay, The Guardian, Best Books of 2018

‘A witty and wise collection. Her sequence about her mother’s dementia is very touching. Elsewhere, these vital works will have you crying with laughter.’



TODAY SOUTH LONDON, TOMORROW SOUTH LONDON by Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison

 Evening Standard, Best Comedy Books and DVDs of 2018


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THE CHILDREN’S HOME by Charles Lambert

New York Times, Before Watching ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ Read These 13 Haunted Books

‘”Abandoned children of varying ages begin showing up at the sprawling estate of a disfigured recluse, Morgan Fletcher,” Carmela Ciuraru wrote, calling it “one of the year’s most bizarre stories.” “Lambert’s subtle prose enhances the novel’s creepiness, as does his refusal to fully resolve or explain its many mysteries.”’


BOOKWORM by Lucy Mangan

Den of Geeks, Top Books of 2018

‘I’d like to report a robbery. Under cover of darkness, writer and Guardian TV critic Lucy Mangan crept into my soul, pocketed my memories and wrote them up beautifully in the guise of her “memoir of childhood reading.”… Lucy Mangan’s funny, warm BOOKWORM is personal and universal in the way that the very best books are… [It] rekindles old obsessions and sends you in search of any stories you may have missed at the time. I loved this book so much, I ate it.’



The Times, Books of the Year 2018

'Are novellas making a comeback? If they can match the elegance of [THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK], let's hope so. THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK is a delicate story of a Dutch paining and the death of a naked woman in Cape Town. As usual, DI Benny Griessel inquires.'



One of Ireland’s best-selling books of 2018



The Spectator, Books of the Year  

‘the fascinating history of Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando, guardian of his father’s flame, courtier, bibliophile and cataloguer supreme, whose travels took him to the heart of 16th-century Europe.’

Sally Andrew, Finuala Dowling and Henrietta Rose-Innes longlisted for Sunday Times Ficton Prize

We are delighted to announce that three of our authors have been longlisted for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Prize in South Africa.


RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER: A TANNIE MARIA MYSTERY by Sally Andrew, GREEN LION by Henrietta Rose-Innes (both published by Umuzi) and THE FETCH by Finuala Dowling (published by Kwela) are on the longlist for The Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, formerly the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. Now in its sixteenth year, this prize is awarded annually to a novel that is of ‘rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.’

Previous Blake Friedmann winners of these prizes include Ivan Vladislavić (who has won both the fiction and non-fiction prizes for PORTRAIT WITH KEYS and THE RESTLESS SUPERMARKET), Marlene van Niekerk for AGAAT (translated by Michiel Heyns), Zakes Mda (HEART OF REDNESS) and Hugh Lewin for STONES AGAINST THE MIRROR.

The shortlist will be announced at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May. For more information on the prize, click here.

For more information on the authors, please see their individual author pages on our website, or their own websites.

BFLA Authors in best of 2015 lists

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



Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015:
"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."

Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book of 2015:
“The exotic locale, the lovely patois and the heroine’s unique sensibility make Ms. Andrew’s “Recipes” a blue-ribbon winner.”

Samantha Gibb, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
“The quintessential feel-good SA whodunit, complete with recipes and advice. A must read.”

LUNGDON by Edward Carey




NPR Guide to 2015’s Great Reads:
“A magnificently engrossing indictment of our late capitalist modernity.”





THE FETCH by Finuala Dowling

Margaret von Klemperer, Fiona Snyckers & Helené Prinsloo, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘A sparkling comedy of manners, but under the froth there are serious issues, and it is Dowling’s sensitive handling of them that makes this such a lovely book’ – Margaret von Klemperer

‘Comparisons with Jane Austen are not misplaced.’ – Fiona Snyckers

‘The characters from THE FETCH by Finuala Dowling haunted my dreams. The story led me to a garden cottage in the deep south where I kept waiting to happen upon someone like William.’ – Helené Prinsloo


THE DARKEST HOUR by Barbara Erskine



Books Covered, Favourite Book Covers of 2015:
‘Tender, romantic, and earnest, just like the brilliant story within. The gold foil adds a luxuriousness without being flashy and the whole designs speaks of the era so perfectly. This is a standout cover in this area of the market.’




JELLYFISH by Janice Galloway

Zoe Strachan, The Herald:
‘Janice Galloway prefaces her new collection of stories, JELLYFISH (Freight, £12.99), with a quote from David Lodge: “Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life’s the other way round.” In fact she gives us plenty of both, but it’s the stories about mothers and children that really cut to the quick.’

Sara Crowley and Kaite Welsh, Bristol Prize Best Short Story Reads of 2015:
‘My most eagerly awaited publication of 2015 was Janice Galloway’s JELLYFISH (Freight) which I am reading very slowly so as to savour each brilliant word.’ – Sara Crowley

‘Galloway has hit a rich seam of imagination as she returns to the short story as a form. It’s perfect for her style – wry, slightly off-kilter and always returning to the theme of parent and child, the kind of subject matter that offers Galloway the chance to delve once more into the murky depths of human relationships.’ – Kaite Welsh

Scots Whay Hae! Best Books of 2015:
‘Janice Galloway has always been an innovative and playful writer, but never to the detriment of her prose… JELLYFISH is a timely reminder that she is one of the finest writers around. Each story, each sentence, is beautifully crafted by someone who cares enough to take such care… If you read a better book than Jellyfish this year you are a very lucky person indeed.’




Alice Thompson, The Herald:
‘In these stories, the powerful juxtaposition of scientific intellect and emotional frailty is played out engagingly. The stories also imply no matter how objective scientific genius is, the scientists themselves, like the rest of us, are subject to moral failings.’




YOU ARE DEAD by Peter James



Guardian Best Crime and Thriller books of 2015:
‘Peter James showed that a diversion this year into ghost stories with THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL had not diverted energy from his consistently impressive sequence of DS Roy Grace policiers, the 11th of which, YOU ARE DEAD (Macmillan), confidently combines a cold case with a very hot one.’




THE LAST PILOT by Benjamin Johncock

Isabella Costello Literary Sofa ‘My Year in Books’:
‘Ben Johncock’s debut has all the things I love about American fiction and he’s not even American. Gorgeous spare prose, authentic sense of time and place, a poignant story told with sensitivity and restraint – I have raved about this book so much it’s embarrassing.’

Reading Groups’ Staff Picks for 2015:
‘With echoes of Tom Wolfe’s THE RIGHT STUFF and Richard Yates’ REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, THE LAST PILOT re-ignites the thrill and excitement of the space race through the story of one man’s courage in the face of unthinkable loss.’

Ian Rankin’s End of Year Roundup

Utter Biblio, Top 10 of 2015

ICARUS by Deon Meyer



Financial Times’ Crime Books of the Year

Boston Globe's Best Mystery Books of 2015:
‘An website-related murder and a parallel plot that delves into the dregs of South Africa’s wine industry keep Benny Griessel and his cadre of Cape Town coppers on their toes.’




GREEN LION by Henrietta Rose-Innes


Ben Williams, Fiona Snyckers & Jennifer Malec, Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘And if readers missed Henrietta Rose-Innes’s GREEN LION (Umuzi) … they’d best not let 2015 expire without acquainting themselves’ – Ben Williams

‘Rose-Innes goes from strength to strength, refining her craft with each new book.’ – Fiona Snyckers

‘Masterful’ – Jennifer Malec



THE FOLLY by Ivan Vladislavic



Flavorwire’s 15 Worthwhile Books You Might Have Missed in 2015:
‘Praised by the likes of Coetzee and others — it’s not hard to see why…’




101 DETECTIVES by Ivan Vladislavic

Michelle Magwood, Jennifer Malec & Sophie Kohler Sunday Times SA Best book of 2015:
‘Mordantly funny, acutely perceptive and exquisitely styled, this collection of short stories is a definitive showcase of Vladislavic’s talents.’ – Michelle Magwood

‘Witty, enthralling and pleasurably disorientating.’ – Jennifer Malec

‘The stories are bewildering in their refusal to provide a clear resolution, but this is to their credit, in that each leaves a mystery to be solved.’ – Sophie Kohler




 Rose Prince, Spectator Best New Cookery Books 2015:
‘There is food in A Wong: The Cookbook (Mitchell Beazley, £25) for home cooks, but it is also a chef’s book. May every aspiring one buy it. If they did, Chinese food in Britain would go through a true revolution.’

Observer 25 best food books 2015:
‘At his Pimlico restaurant, Wong is keen to prove that Chinese food can be just as considered as other, more revered cuisines.’

BFLA Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2015!

Several Blake Friedmann writers are attending this year’s Franschhoek Literary Festival. The festival runs from the 15th to the 17th May. The events take place in village venues within a few minutes' walk of each other, which creates a vibrant ambience in streets buzzing with book-lovers.

The emphasis is on informal discussions and spirited debates between several writers with a chairperson, or one-on-one conversations, and occasional talks. The FLF hosts the shortlist announcements of the annual Sunday Times Literary Awards, for which several Blake Friedmann authors are longlisted.

Karin Brynard, author of WEEPING WATERS (Penguin, 2014), is appearing in two events on Saturday 16th May – ‘Telling Tales or Tub-thumping’ at 1pm and ‘What a Plot I’ve Got’ at 4pm.

Finuala Dowling, author of THE FETCH (Kwela, 2015), features in 5 events throughout all 3 days of the festival, talking about both poetry and prose.

Dorothy Driver, editor of a new edition of Olive Schreiner's FROM MAN TO MAN (to be published by UCT Press/Juta in June) will be appearing in events alongside Lyndall Gordon and Finuala Dowling on the 16th and 17th May.

Lyndall Gordon, author of DIVIDED LIVES (Little, Brown, 2014), is also busy with 5 events across 3 days, including a Life-writing Workshop on Friday 15th May.

Deon Meyer, author of ICARUS (Hodder, 2015; Afrikaans, Human & Rousseau 2015), will be talking about crime writing in 4 events across all 3 days of the festival.

S.A. Partridge, author of SHARP EDGES (Human & Rousseau, 2013), is asking ‘Who Likes what Teens Read?’ at an event on Friday 15th May.

Henrietta Rose-Innes, author of GREEN LION (Umuzi, 2015), appears on Friday 15th May at 2.30 at ‘Prizing African Writing’, and Saturday 16th May at 1pm at ‘Hello World, Africa Here’.

Ivan Vladislavić, author of 101 DETECTIVES (Umuzi, 2015) is taking part in 4 events across the three days of the festival.

You can find out more information about our authors and their events here.

Agent and Director Isobel Dixon will also be taking part in some poetry events at the festival.

Finuala Dowling to appear at 26th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival this weekend

Finuala Dowling is appearing at the Twenty-Sixth Aldeburgh Poetry Festival this weekend. The festival, which includes over 50 events, is run across the Suffolk towns of Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh. The UK’s pre-eminent annual festival of contemporary poetry, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival is for a mix of international names, lesser-known voices and exceptional newcomers. The festival also tends not to invite poets back more than once in a ten-year period, in order to keep line-ups fresh and exciting, so this will be a rare chance to catch Finuala appearing at Aldeburgh.

Finuala will be appearing at the following events:

Friday 7 November, 17:30-18:30

How to craft sly, succinct, memorable lines at the Jerwood Kiln Studio in Snape

Saturday 8 November, 9:30-10:30

Discussion: Poetry & Disobedience – Britten Studio, Snape PF9
with Thomas Lux, Tom Pickard and Hannah Silva

Sunday 9 November, 15:30-17:15

3.30-5.15 – Main reading: Finuala Dowling, Thomas Lux, Adelia Prado – Britten Studio, Snape

with Ellen Dore Watson (Translator)

Follow the festival organiser, The Poetry Trust, on Twitter or use the hashtag #APF26 to follow the events.

Finuala Dowling’s first poetry collection, I FLYING, won South Africa’s prestigious Ingrid Jonker Prize.  Her second collection, DOO-WOP GIRLS OF THE UNIVERSE was joint winner of the Sanlam Prize for poetry, and her third, NOTES FROM THE DEMENTIA WARD, won the Olive Schreiner Prize. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in several anthologies. Her first novel was WHAT POETS NEED, followed by FLYLEAF. HOME-MAKING FOR THE DOWN-AT-HEART won the M-Net Prize 2012 and was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize in the same year. Her new novel THE FETCH will be published in South Africa by Kwela in March 2015.


Praise for Finuala Dowling:

‘In years to come Dowling will be recognised for the home-grown Austen that she is.’ – Diane Awerbuck, TimesLive

‘[Dowling’s] fiction has its own special flavour, achieved by an alchemy of wit, irony, acuity, common sense and desperation.’- Jane Rosenthal, Mail & Guardian

 Dowling is the local master of tragicomedy.’ – Danie Marais, Boeke-Insig