Jesse Loncraine's IN THE FIELD acquired by Blue Mark Books

Blue Mark Books will publish IN THE FIELD, a powerful and affecting novel by debut author Jesse Loncraine.

Editorial Director Toby Fountaine bought UK rights from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann, for publication in April 2017.

IN THE FIELD follows Orin Perth, who disappears in East Africa after delivering a devastating article on Christine Lokeka, whose 12 year-old son, Paul, has been snatched by the militia that left her husband dead. Orin’s mother Liz, a hardened war reporter, embarks on a search to find her estranged son, enlisting the help of Christine. As Liz and Christine deal with their sons’ disappearances, Orin and Paul struggle to stay alive without losing their humanity in the process. IN THE FIELD grapples with the dilemmas of conflict journalism, and how far familial bonds will stretch when lives are at stake.

Jesse Loncraine, a short story writer for The White Review and former student of Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS, has worked on documentaries about war crimes from Colombia and Guatemala to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In East Africa, he partnered with the International Criminal Court on outreach, disseminating information on the Court’s cases to affected communities.

Toby Fountaine said: 'This fantastic debut novel grabbed me in the first few paragraphs, and it didn’t let me go until I’d finished it. It still hasn’t. It’s a gripping story, and deals with some tough moral dilemmas. The characters and setting are wonderfully rendered by Jesse, and I found it very moving: he captures the relationships between two mothers and their sons brilliantly. And between the story, the drama, and all the emotion that comes with them, IN THE FIELD is simply a joy to read, sentence by sentence, because Jesse’s writing is bold, striking and often beautiful.'

Jesse Loncraine said: 'For all the newspaper articles and history books I have read about violent conflicts around the world, none were as powerful as hearing a single woman relate her experiences of war. That gap in experience—that tension between reportage and reality—became one of my central concerns when I started writing IN THE FIELD. Ironically, it was through a work of fiction that I felt best able to explore the dilemma of how we, as writers, tell other people’s stories. I never found a comfortable answer; I suspect there isn’t one. But with IN THE FIELD I hope I am at least able to pose the question—through the intimate stories of two mothers and their sons—in a compelling way. I am very grateful to Juliet for taking a leap of faith in signing me when this book was just a short story, and to Toby at Blue Mark Books for choosing to publish it.'

Juliet Pickering said: 'Jesse’s writing talent stood out from the first time I read his short stories. I’m delighted to have matched this striking, provocative debut with the ambition of Blue Mark Books. It’s vital we publish fiction that challenges as well as transports us, and Jesse’s is an important new voice.'

Read more about Jesse.