New digital literary imprint from Little, Brown
In June 2013, Little, Brown Book Group will launch the first digital literary imprint from a major UK publisher. Blackfriars has been created with the aim of discovering and nurturing new talent (or talent that has been away for a while) 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 will be open to new work from writers at any stage in their career. Smith says, ‘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.’
The list will launch in June, with a media partner who will promote Blackfriars, its titles and its democratic ethos of giving opportunities and exposure to exciting new work. 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.’
Blackfriars will have its own website, which will be a lively, interactive home for the list, featuring extracts, blog pieces from some star-name writers across the LB/Abacus and Virago lists recommending their favourite new authors, and a ‘reader recommends’ function where the general public can make a case for why their favourite unpublished writer deserves a place on the Blackfriars list. The website will be supported by dedicated Blackfriars social media channels and a monthly email newsletter.
With the weight of an award-winning publisher and experienced in-house teams behind it, and the flexibility to respond to an ever-changing market, Blackfriars will be a key player in the rapidly evolving relationship between writers, readers and publishers.
Blackfriars June launch titles
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