We’re delighted to have so many exciting Blake Friedmann titles published in 2019 – many of these have already been recognised as books to look out for, so here’s a taster of what’s being said …

MANDALAY: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen by MiMi Aye (Bloomsbury Absolute, June)

‘June sees the launch of MANDALAY, a new book by MiMi Aye featuring nearly 100 simple Burmese recipes – from the national dish of mohinga (a fish chowder with rice noodles and lemongrass, traditionally served at breakfast) to lahpet thoke, a classic Burmese salad of pickled green tea leaves.’ — Olive Magazine, The 2019 Foodie Trend Report

‘Burmese food is set to become more popular with the publication of Mimi Aye’s MANDALAY.’ — Evening Standard, Veganuary 2019

‘Compared with its Thai neighbour, Burmese food is relatively unknown in the UK. That’s about to change, thanks to MANDALAY: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen, a sumptuous cookbook by MiMi Aye, published by Bloomsbury in June.’ — The Times, The Biggest Food Trends of 2019

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LOWBORN: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus, May)

LOWBORN will be a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4

Kerry Hudson looks back at her impoverished childhood, and travels around Britain asking what being poor means today.’ — The Guardian, 2019 in Books: What You’ll Be Reading This Year

‘Kerry Hudson’s memoir LOWBORN: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns… arrive[s] with a sense of urgency.’ — New Statesman, Back to the Future: What to Read in 2019

'Powerful and moving... An emotional and important read.' — iNews, 10 Best Books to Read in 2019

THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL by Peter James (Stage Production)

Peter James’s THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL has now been adapted for stage, starring BAFTA nominated actor and 2017 winner of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden as Ollie Harcourt, alongside Rita Simons (who played Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders) as Caro. The chilling sequel, THE SECRET OF COLD HILL, will be published in hardback by Pan Macmillan in October 2019.

See more about the tour schedule for THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL here.

‘There is an argument to be made that Peter James should have been on our “people who have had a great 2018” list. Two books out, including one to add to his famed Roy Grace series, Peter has certainly been busy in the past 12 months. This year is sure to be no different as the HOUSE ON COLD HILL show, based on his 2015 novel, goes on tour. While Peter may not be part of the show itself there is no doubt that the touring production will shine a further light on the book and the success or failure of the tour will affect him hugely. That is why he makes this list.’ — The Argus, Five Sussex Stars Who Will Have a Great 2019

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SHADOWPLAY by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker, June)

‘Fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, meanwhile, will be keen to get hold of Joseph O’Connor’s SHADOWPLAY which follows Stoker as he wanders the fog-bound streets of Victorian London.’ — Irish Times, Books to Look Forward to in 2019

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SAFE edited by Derek Owusu (Trapeze, March)
‘In an impressive roster of contributors, journalist Musa Okwonga’s chapter “The Good Bisexual” is a long overdue – and delicate – insight into the challenges black bisexual men face, from queer puberty, the double burden of racism and homophobia, homophobic harassment in the workplace, and ultimately, self-acceptance. A refreshing insight, given that black, bi men’s experiences are routinely rendered invisible.’ — Dazed, 11 New LQBTQ Books to Read in 2019


EAT IT ANYWAY by Eve Simmons and Laura Dennison (Mitchell Beazley, January)

‘In EAT IT ANYWAY, journalists Simmons and Dennison – founders of the website Not Plant Based – aim to dispel dietary myths and help others, who like them, have suffered from eating disorders, to rediscover their love of food.’ — The Irish Independent, The 72 Books We’ll Be Talking About in the First Half of 2019

THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library by Edward Wilson-Lee (Scribner, March)

‘This isn’t only a biography of Christopher Columbus and his son Hernando; it’s also a paean to the family library, which at its peak contained 20,000 printed materials, including music and images, obsessively collected from all over Europe.’ – Publishers Weekly, ‘Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2019’

And here’s a reminder of the Blake Friedmann titles and authors mentioned in Best of 2018 lists.


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.’



Discover the vibrant life of Hernando Colón, Christopher Columbus’ illegitimate son in Edward Wilson-Lee’s illuminating new biography THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS out now from William Collins in hardback, ebook and audio. Helen Castor called it ‘a thought-provoking exploration of the ways in which we acquire, organise and retrieve information about the world and our place in it.’  In Literary Review Felipe Fernández-Armesto described the book as ‘a fascinating and beautifully written account of how Hernando conceived and assembled his library is set within a highly original biography of the compiler. It’s a work of imagination restrained by respect for evidence, of brilliance suitably alloyed by erudition, and of scholarship enlivened by sensitivity and acuity.’ You can also read Alison Flood’s Guardian feature on Edward and the book here

Without libraries, who are we? We have no past, and no future… This fascinating book tells for the first time in English the story of the first great universal library in the age of printing — and of the illegitimate son of Christopher Colombus who created it. Hernando Colón spent his life trying to build the first universal library of print: personally scouring bookshops in an attempt to acquire a copy of every book, he brought them back to his library in Seville, where he drove himself mad attempting to devise how best to navigate and organise the world of print.

Hernando lived in extraordinary times. He knew Erasmus, Dürer and Thomas More, was at the forefront in the first international conference to determine the circumference of the world, led the team that created the first world map on scientific principles — and invented the modern bookcase!

Hernando’s life placed him at the centre of the ages of exploration, print, and the Reformation: he spent a year living with his father marooned aboard a shipwrecked hull off Jamaica and wrote the first biography of Columbus. To reconstruct his life is not only to recover a vision of the Renaissance world, but also to appreciate the passions and intrigues that lie beneath our own disciplined attempts to b ring order to the world. THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS is an unforgettable journey through these layered realities — and a bibliophile’s dream!

Last night saw the launch of THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS in the beautiful Wren Library in Cambridge. Home to over 700,000 books printed before the 1820s, medieval manuscripts and archives, the Wren Library was the perfect location to launch the captivating biography of a man who dedicated his life to the collection of books. Edward will be appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book programme on Sunday 20 May to talk about Hernando’s library.

Rights to THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS have been sold internationally in France, Spain, Germany, Japan and Italy, with more international news to come shortly!

Edward Wilson-Lee is a Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he teaches medieval and Renaissance literature and Shakespeare. After growing up in Kenya and Switzerland, he went to university in London, New York, Oxford and Cambridge, living briefly in Mexico and New Orleans in between.

Follow Edward on Twitter

Visit his website


‘Edward Wilson-Lee’s fascinating and beautifully written account of how Hernando conceived and assembled his library is set within a highly original biography of the compiler. It’s a work of imagination restrained by respect for evidence, of brilliance suitably alloyed by erudition, and of scholarship enlivened by sensitivity and acuity. … The ‘library that would collect everything’ became, as it grew unmanageably, a Borgesian labyrinth of ‘baffling marvels’. Wilson-Lee describes it with verve and strews his account with Rabelaisian lists, incantatory and almost magical in effect, of the sort Hernando loved.’ — Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Literary Review

‘Hernando Columbus deserves to be as famous as his father, Christopher…Wilson-Lee’s greatest strength is the subtlety with which Hernando’s public life as a courtier and his private life as a collector are interwoven. Unless you like libraries a lot then the most important thing about Hernando is not the most interesting. But in these elegantly handled parallels, Wilson-Lee leads us almost by stealth to an understanding of his subject’s greatest achievement.’ — Dennis Duncan, Spectator

'T‎his is a remarkable and deeply absorbing book – both a vivid account of the extraordinary life of Hernando Colón, younger son of Christopher Columbus, and a thought-provoking exploration of the ways in which we acquire, organise and retrieve information about the world and our place in it. THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS is minutely-researched history that reads like fiction – at once hauntingly redolent of Eco and Borges, and sharply relevant in our data-driven age.' — Helen Castor, author of SHE-WOLVES: THE WOMEN WHO RULED ENGLAND BEFORE ELIZABETH

‘Edward Wilson-Lee’s terrific new book brings to life Christopher Columbus’s son Hernando, his quirky and dazzling library, and the complex worlds between which he lived. THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS eloquently captures the life of an extraordinary man, while making his era resonate with our own: it is about how we seek to organise our minds and our lives, and, above all, about why books continue to matter.’ — Joe Moshenska, author of A STAIN IN THE BLOOD