Penny and De Courcy Shortlisted for Political Book Awards

Two Blake Friedmann authors are shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Book Awards 2015. Anne de Courcy’s MARGOT AT WAR is shortlisted for the category Politcal Book of the Year, and Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS is shortlisted in the Polemic of the Year category.

The winner of the Political Book of the Year wins £10,000, and awards are also given out to other category winners. The winners will be announced on 24 January.

MARGOT AT WAR is a biography of Margot Asquith, published by Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, Anne de Courcy vividly recreates this extraordinary time when the Prime Minister’s residence was run like an English country house. 

Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS was published by Bloomsbury. Smart, clear-eyed and irreverent, it is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty-first century which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics and the Internet.

Three Blake Friedmann authors named in Green Carnation Prize Shortlist

Three of Juliet Pickering’s authors have been named in the Shortlist for the fourth annual Green Carnation Prize. Kerry Hudson (THIRST, Chatto & Windus), Anneliese Mackintosh (ANY OTHER MOUTH, Freight) and Laurie Penny (UNSPEAKABLE THINGS, Bloomsbury) have been nominated for the prize which is awarded to LGBT writers for any form of the written word. This year was the first time the award was open to works in translation. The winner will be announced at an event at Foyles, Charing Cross Road on 28 November.

THIRST by Kerry Hudson follows Alena and Dave who meet during a London heatwave to begin a love affair as dark, joyful and frenetic as the city itself. Dave 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 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.

Anneliese Mackintosh’s ANY OTHER MOUTH is a viciously funny, gut-wrenching and shockingly frank account of sexual misadventure, familial disintegration, loss, hope and self-discovery. Part short story collection, part fictionalised memoir,  ANY OTHER MOUTH is a highly personal work in which Anneliese takes the most intense episodes of her life so far, and reimagines them into profound, playful and poignant tales.

UNSPEAKABLE THINGS by Laurie Penny speaks for a new feminism that takes no prisoners, a feminism that is about justice and equality, but also about freedom for all. It talks about the freedom to be who we are, to love who we choose, to invent new gender roles, and to speak out fiercely against those who would deny us those rights. It is a book that gives the silenced a voice ­– a voice that speaks of unspeakable things.


Praise for the books:

“[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.” – The Guardian

‘One of the saddest yet most uplifting things I’ve read in ages… Mackintosh is a real talent and ANY OTHER MOUTH is a remarkable debut.’ – The Independent

‘Insightful, provocative and bold… UNSPEAKABLE THINGS [is] essential for anybody who truly believes in equality and freedom.’ – Irvine Welsh

Two Blake Friedmann authors nominated for Green Carnation Prize

Two Blake Friedmann authors have been longlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. Kerry Hudson’s THIRST and Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS were both among the 13 books selected for the prize which celebrates the best of LGBT literature. Other longlisted nominees include Neel Mukherjee, Anna Freeman and Emily Mackie. The shortlist will be announced on 6 November.

THIRST is a heart-breaking romance of almost unbearable fragility in contemporary East London & Russia. Kerry Hudson is also author of TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA, which was shortlisted for 8 awards, including the Green Carnation, and won the Scottish First Book Award. Both books were published by Chatto.

Laurie Penny’s UNSPEAKABLE THINGS is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty-first century which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics and the Internet. It was published by Bloomsbury earlier this year.

Praise for THIRST:

'Hudson excels at depicting twilight lives... tremendously affecting… impressively unostentatious in its instinct for a common story within a city of millions that rarely gets heard.' - Claire Allfree, The Metro

'Hudson builds up narrative tension slowly. It’s not so much the will-they-won’t-they tension that is more pervasive to general romance, but rather a sense, even before we know Alena’s back-story fully, of external threat lingering in the air, knocking on the door of Dave’s flat, now a refuge... THIRST is hardly an easy summer read but it is probably an essential one.' - The Scotsman


‘We need her. … We need fresh, extreme voices to make us re-examine ourselves for complacency and closed-mindedness. Penny forces us to test the ground we stand on and say, yes.’ – Melanie Reid, The Times

‘[Laurie Penny] knits rendingly painful personal anecdotes into the essays in "Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution," … [she] is resolutely urgent (and sometimes very earnest) as she reaches for context, reminding us of the excluded and the undervalued.’ – Joy Press, The LA Times

Laurie Penny shortlisted for the Red Women of the Year awards 2014


Celebrated journalist Laurie Penny has been shortlisted for the Red Women of the  Year awards 2014 in the Blogger category. She is up against bloggers Carrie Barclay, Muireann Carey-Campbell, Charlotte O’Shea and Niamh Shields. The winner will be announced later this year.

You can view Laurie’s blog here.

Laurie’s new book UNSPEAKABLE THINGS was published by Bloomsbury last week. Clear-eyed, witty and irreverent, Laurie Penny is as ruthless in her dissection of modern feminism and class politics as she is in discussing her own experiences in journalism, activism and underground culture. Read an extract in The Guardian here.

Six Blake Friedmann Books out today!

It’s a big publication day at Blake Friedmann with six books by our authors being published in the UK today!

Barbara Erskine’s latest novel THE DARKEST HOUR is published by HarperCollins. An epic tale of love and heartbreak set in World War II and the present, Lucy’s husband is killed in a bizarre car accident and a painting he was to have restored leads Lucy back to the life of the artist, Evie. Finding a painted-over figure of a WWII pilot behind Evie’s self-portrait, Lucy unravels the mystery of the two men in Evie’s life, and their relevance to Lucy’s own. Barbara Erskine is the author of the bestselling novel LADY OF HAY, which has been continuously in print for 28 years and sold in 26 languages.

No. 1 Irish bestseller Sheila O’Flanagan’s new novel IF YOU WERE ME is published by Headline. Stressful presentations are part of a day’s work for Carlotta, but this one was in 2 languages. Missing her plane home wasn’t part of the plan, and missing her future mother-in-law’s birthday party is just the first of a sequence of events that turns her emotional and work life upside down.  Headline have sold more than 6 million books by Sheila.

Feminist, socialist and associate New Statesman editor Laurie Penny’s new book, UNSPEAKABLE THINGS, is published by Bloomsbury. Publishers Weekly called the book “a feminist book for our time that burns with a wild light and deserves attention.” Clear-eyed, witty and irreverent, Laurie Penny is as ruthless in her dissection of modern feminism and class politics as she is in discussing her own experiences in journalism, activism and underground culture. Read an extract in The Guardian here.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE HANGED MAN is the latest novel in Ann Granger’s Victorian Crime series, published by Headline. When Inspector Ben Ross is called to Newgate Prison by a man condemned to die by the hangman's noose he isn't expecting to give any credence to the man's testimony. But the account of a murder he witnessed over seventeen years ago is so utterly believeable that Ben can't help wondering if what he's heard is true. It's too late to save the man's life, but it's not too late to investigate a murder that has gone undetected for all these years.  She has more than 5 million books in print in English and German.

Told in her trademark multiple first-person style, AN OPEN MARRIAGE is the new novel by Tess Stimson published by Macmillan. Mia Allen has never quite adjusted to living in England. Her husband Kit though, loves the sense of community and his job as a school teacher in a private school.  Like Mia, Kit's boss Charlie is also looking for more excitement in her life. When she and Rob are invited to dinner with Mia and Kit, she jumps at the chance to make new friends. One evening, the increasing attraction between them all moves up a notch, but it's not long before the seductive highs of these new friendships lead to desperate lows. Can any of their relationships survive this unconventional arrangement? 

Finally the paperback of THE SUMMER QUEEN, the first book in Elizabeth Chadwick’s stunning Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, is published by Sphere. You can view a trailer for the book here. Choice Magazine called it “engrossingly written and well researched.”   Chadwick has delivered the manuscript for the second volume, THE WINTER CROWN and is now writing the final volume THE AUTUMN THRONE.  She is a New York Times bestselling author and according to The Historical Novel Review is “The best writer of medieval fiction currently around.”