Discovering new literary talent
Blackfriars aims to discover and nurture new talent (or talent that has been away for a while), run by Clare Smith of L,B/Abacus and Ursula Doyle of Virago.
Blackfriars is a unique venture, the first of its kind in the UK, and is open to new work from writers at any stage in their career. Smith said of the launch, ‘We know there are writers out there producing wonderful novels and memoirs, and we know there are readers of literary fiction and non-fiction who would welcome guidance through the digital labyrinth.’
Doyle says, ‘Writers are still writing; readers are still reading; we see Blackfriars as enriching our literary publishing and making the relationship between reader, writer and publisher one of real collaboration.’
The Family Thief by Annabel Dilke: BCN rights acquired from Bill Hamilton, AM Heath. An absorbing, beautifully written story of a unique family which is unwittingly harbouring the seeds of its own destruction. Annabel Dilke is a novelist, former BBC journalist and screenwriter. Her work has been shortlisted for the Dennis Potter Award and the Sunday Express Award. She lives in South London.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan: BCN rights acquired from Cathryn Summerhayes acting on behalf of Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Endeavour. A heartrending, gripping novel set in Belle Epoque Paris, inspired by the real-life model for Degas's Little Dancer Aged 14 and the era’s most notorious criminal trial. The Painted Girls debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in January 2013.
Too Good to be True: A Memoir by Benjamin Anastas: BCN rights acquired from Becky Thomas, acting on behalf of Bill Clegg, William Morris Endeavour. Ben Anastas’s debut novel was published by Ursula Doyle at Picador in 1998. This honest, raw, darkly funny memoir is about having and losing it all, in both literature and life.
Clare Smith is formerly of HarperCollins, where she had three Richard & Judy selections (The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee, Everything & Nothing by Araminta Hall; The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn), a TV Book Club choice (Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne, who was also longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2011 and for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012) and Will Wiles’ Care of Wooden Floors (which went on to be a Waterstones 11 2012 selection). In 2013 she will publish Kevin Maher’s debut, The Fields, one of this year’s Waterstones 11, and The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page, on the Little, Brown list.
Ursula Doyle, formerly of Picador, has published critically acclaimed, prizewinning and bestselling writers ranging from Alice Sebold and Curtis Sittenfeld to Dave Eggers and Jon Ronson; among the titles she has acquired and published at Virago are The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (a Richard & Judy pick), The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (a Waterstones 11 and Waterstones Book Club pick) and Girl Reading by Katie Ward (a Cactus TV Bookclub pick). On the Virago list in 2013 she will publish Claire Messud’s new novel The Woman Upstairs (her previous, The Emperor’s Children, was longlisted for the Man Booker), and The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan