Season’s greetings! Given the time of year, we’re feeling even more sentimental than usual about our authors – we really couldn’t ask for a more talented bunch! In the last Weekly Highlights of 2020 (sob) we’ve got some fantastic news to share…

You are looking at the chilling revamped cover for Lesley Sanderson‘s The Birthday Weekend (Bookouture) – this mystifying thriller is out today, and follows two estranged friends who attempt to bury a grisly shared past over the course of a birthday weekend – with disastrous results. You can purchase the eBook now.

Katie Kirby also teased us with the cover for The Extremely Embarrassing Life of Lottie Brooks, a brand new Middle Grade comedy which will be released by Puffin Books on the 18th March 2021. We meet Lottie, whose life is already officially over at the age of 11 and three-quarters. We can hardly wait to read all about Lottie’s tweenage escapades!

And the lovely Helly Acton revealed the brand spanking new paperback cover for her comedy, The Shelf (Bonnier / Zaffre), which is being released on the 7th January. A must-buy for those of you who love some searing social commentary mixed in with your laughs.

In what is an incredibly exciting development, the MM team were delighted to confirm this week that Nita Prose‘s highly anticipated 2022 release, The Maid  (HarperCollins/HarperFiction), a charmingly quirky murder-mystery, will be brought to the big screen. We were thrilled to announce that Universal Pictures has optioned the book for a screen adaptation, with – wait for it – Academy Award® and BAFTA Nominee Florence Pugh to play the starring role of Molly! The news predictably spread like wildfire, being picked up by entertainment outlets such as the Mail Online, Empire, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. With a US book deal which broke Agency records earlier this year, we are so happy to see the momentum keep on building for what is sure to be a massive hit following its publication!

Wintering (Penguin Random House) by Katherine May hasn’t slowed down yet! Her stirring memoir exploring rest and retreat has made the US national indie bestseller list for another week running! UK readers will also be  very pleased to know that it is back in stock in most book retailers – you can get the lovely paperback edition from Bookshop.org, Hive Books, Waterstones, or at your local indie outlet, who should be able to order it in. And we can now confirm that the book has won a Porchlight Business Book Award 2020, in the category of ‘Personal Development & Human Behaviour’ – congratulations, Katherine!

In deal news, we want to wish a massive congratulations to Pyae Moe Thet War, who has just closed a wonderful deal with US publisher Catapult for her debut essay collection, You’ve Changed. The book is set for a September 2022 release, and will explore the intersections of Pyae Pyae’s identity, growing up between Myanmar and the west.

Jenny BaylissThe Twelve Dates of Christmas (Pan Macmillan) is, of course, the talk of the town. There’s still plenty of time to fill your stocking with this fabulous yuletide romcom, so get buying! We’re  extremely happy to reveal that it has been selected as WH Smith’s Book of The Month. The book was also featured by on the Today Show‘s online rundown of all the wonderful ways to celebrate the holidays without leaving the house – we approve!

Helly Acton‘s super-fun reality show comedy, The Shelf (Bonnier Books / Zaffre) has been selected as one of Apple’s Best Audiobooks of The Year’ – it’s easy to see why it’s won so much favour, given that Daisy Edgar-Jones, of Normal People fame, is the narrator. Look out for the paperback, which is released on the 7th January!

Congratulations to Caroline Mitchell, who has hit 100,000 views on her YouTube channel! True Crime Detective examines the darkest and most disturbing true crime stories, from Caroline’s intriguing perspective, being a former detective. The channel has been an instant hit with fans, and we predict more milestones coming! Be sure to check out our write-up on the channel , and to subscribe right now.

Fiona Valpy was a very special guest at Birnam Book Festival this week; she joined a fantastic discussion all about her latest historical novel, The Skylark’s Secret  (Amazon Publishing / Lake Union), with a rapt virtual audience. You can listen back to the event,  ‘In Conversation with Jamie Jauncey‘, now.

The Authenticity Project, the uplifting debut by Clare Pooley, has been featured in Real Simple‘s round-up of the best books of 2020. This is no surprise, given that the book’s seen great success in the states following its hardback release by Penguin Random House / Pam Dorman Books. American fans will soon be able to get their hands on the paperback, too – it’s being published there on the 29th December, and we predict even more acclaim!

T.A. Willberg’s delightful murder mystery debut,  Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, which is being published in the US by HarperCollins / Park Row on the 29th December, got a shout-out from E! News  in their list of top December reads. Be sure to add it to your TBR now, and to look out for it, come publication day.

HWA Crown Award winner Jane Healey, whose debut historical novel, The Animals at Lockwood Manor (Pan Macmillan / Mantle), was released to wide acclaim earlier this year, has graced the Feminist Book Club (Paris) podcast, where she chats all about taxidermy, haunted houses, and happy queer love stories. A very cool listen!

Are you curious to know more about the exciting world of agenting? This week, top digital author Rona Halsall interviewed her agent, our very own Hayley Steed, picking her brain on trends, advice for prospective writers, and her personal wish list.

Helen Scarlett‘s arresting gothic debut, The Deception of Harriet Fleet (Hachette / Quercus), got a big shout -out from Arsenal player Beth Mead, who shared with her followers that she couldn’t wait to get stuck into the title. Remember that eBook is on sale for the rest of this month for only 99p!

The Education of Ivy Edwards (Piatkus), the endlessly charming debut by Hannah Tovey, has been soaring up the charts this week, currently sitting pretty at No.1 in Amazon’s ‘Humorous Dark Comedy’ category.

Our IRD has kept the phenomenal rights deals coming right until the very end – we’re ecstatic to close the year out with the following:

Japanese rights to Katherine May‘s Wintering have gone to K&B Publishing.

Russian rights to Charmaine Wilkerson‘s Black Cake have gone to Atticus.