It’s all go at the Agency this week with a February shower of shiny new publications, bestseller charts and some award news. Here are this weeks highlights!
Thursday 4th February was a big day for us this week, with no less than SIX agency books unleashed into the world! Enormous congratulations to Benjamin Dean, Sarah Hagger-Holt and Helen Rutter for their children’s middle-grade novels, Inga Vesper for her 1960s American crime novel The Long Long Afternoon, and Michelle Elman for her smart, sassy and empowering non-fiction guide The Joy of Being Selfish.
You can catch Benjamin Dean‘s Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow (S&S Children’s), Helen Rutter‘s The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh (Scholastic), and Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt (Usborne) hanging out proudly on the Waterstone’s homepage under ‘Best new children’s books’ (who could miss those covers?)
Good to see so many #MMAgency Feb publications dominating @Waterstones' best new children's books 🤩🤩🤩 @NotAgainBen @HelenRutterUK @SarahHaggerHolt #MeMyDadandtheEndoftheRainbow #TheBoyWhoMadeEveryoneLaugh #ProudofMe pic.twitter.com/QluT6HegmV
— Madeleine Milburn Agency (@MMLitAgency) February 2, 2021
Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow has also officially been announced as Waterstones’ Book of the Month for February so we are thrilled that booksellers are getting behind Ben Dean and the special Archie Albright!
Helen Rutter and her outrageously cool twelve-year old Lenny appeared on Sky News this week, talking openly about stammering and empathy, and the inspiration behind The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh. We’re fast becoming Lenny’s no.1 fan club at the Agency and rumours abound that his little sister is getting creative with some agency bookmarks…!
On the adult fiction side, we’re also celebrating the publication of The Long Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper (Manilla Press/ Bonnier), which has been included as one of the Independent’s Books of the Month for February, and was also reviewed by Women and Home, who called it “an assured debut that lays bare the American Dream’s fault lines”. Inga has also written this fantastic piece for Female First introducing herself to readers with ten interesting facts, including a newly acquired lockdown skill of poi juggling! (We’ll be signing you up for lessons after lockdown Inga, you’ve been warned).
Congratulations now to Michelle Elman for the publication of The Joy of Being Selfish. This is THE definitive book on boundaries and why you need them! Michelle, who is a five-board accredited life coach, Tedx speaker and social media’s ‘Queen of Boundaries’ calls the book “a practical guide that will reclaim your time, energy and self-belief”. Yes please. The Sun gave it a punchy mention in today’s issue, giving it a solid three stars.
And finally happy paperback publication to Miranda Malins for her suberb historical fiction debut The Puritan Princess. Miranda gave a lovely interview on BBC Radio Bristol during Friday afternoon, and you can catch her February blog tour here!
On to some chart news now, and we are wild with joy to see Wintering by Katherine May still claiming the No.14 spot in the New York Times bestseller list, and is up at No.5 on the Indie bestseller list in the US.
The Push by Ashley Audrain is also looking exceedingly comfortable at No.6 on the hardcover New York Times bestseller list, No.8 on the combined print/ebook bestseller list and No.14 on the audio bestseller list. Not forgetting Canada, where The Push is still sitting at No.1 overall, topping both the hardcover fiction and Canadian fiction lists! And she is still gracing the UK hardback fiction chart too at No.16, with C.J. Tudor‘s The Burning Girls at No.20.
Ashley has been a publicity powerhouse in recent weeks (hardly surprising for this former Publicity Director) and on Monday she featured in a Penguin Live webinar with author Lisa Jewell, and hosted by Daisy Buchanan.
On Thursday we caught Ashley in action again, this time in conversation with her Italian publisher Rizzoli Libri in an interview that you can watch on YouTube (although no subtitles provided for that, sorry!) Last week The Push (La Spinta) was No.17 on the Foreign Fiction Chart so it is thrilling to see Ashley doing so well in translation too.
Scottish newspaper the Herald has published a piece on the rise of ‘mum-noir’ in fiction and how women writers are finally blasting apart many of the taboos and difficulties of motherhood. Featuring (you guessed it) The Push, as well as Katherine Faulkner’s forthcoming suspense novel Greenwich Park, this is interesting take on a fast-growing publishing genre.
Katherine Faulkner – whose novel has been highlighted as a book to watch out for in 2021 by the i, Daily Mail and Grazia – was one seven authors featured in Bloomsbury’s online webinar #BloomburyNightIn on Thursday, where authors were interviewed about their books and writing process. Katherine’s smart and unsettling thriller about unreliable friendships and motherhood is published in April, so you can pre-order here.
Join our #BloomsburyNightIn on Thurs 4th Feb to hear from eight of 2021’s literary stars – before their books even publish.
Including @zakiya_harris, author of the electrifying, spine-tingling and oh-so zeitgeisty THE OTHER BLACK GIRL
— Bloomsbury UK (@BloomsburyBooks) February 4, 2021
We loved this charming review from the W. I. for Caroline Bishop’s The Other Daughter: “a thought-provoking tale that, without preaching or losing pace, urges us to examine the changing nature of feminism through the generations and how we view our right to choose our own destinies. A powerful look at the ties that bind within a family, it has an uplifting message that love is, ultimately, all that matters.” Set in Switzerland and published on 18 February by Simon & Schuster, you can pre-order Caroline’s beautiful novel here.
It’s time to announce some awards news, and well done to Abbie Greaves, Clare Pooley and Fiona Valpy who have all been shortlisted for a 2021 Romantic Novelist’s Association Award! The Silent Treatment and The Authenticity Project have both been shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award, and The Skylark’s Secret has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Award.
Congratulations to the 2021 shortlist for @GoldsboroBooks Historical Romantic Novel Award: @catherinetinley @Dineycost @elisabeth04liz @chadwickauthor @FionaValpy @julie_cohen @FeinLouise @VickieCornwall @FCapaldiBurgess @carolematthewshttps://t.co/ibW8vKLub0 #RoNA21 pic.twitter.com/wboggBOHDU
— Romantic Novelists' Association (@RNAtweets) February 1, 2021
Not forgetting our fantastic children’s authors, who’ve been doing a great job of waving the Agency flag in the run-up to publication. Jen Carney’s The Accidental Diary of B.U.G and Benjamin Dean’s Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow have been included in the the ‘Ten titles not to miss’ this season, while Katie Kirby’s hilarious middle-grade comedy The Extremely Embarrassing Life of Lottie Brooks has been ranked in top 100 books on Amazon – over a whole month before publication!
Hurrah for our International Rights Team who’ve well and truly blasted the January cobwebs away with this slew of rights deals:
Brazilian rights to Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson have sold to Companhia das Letra
Polish rights to Wintering by Katherine May have been won by Znak at auction
Russian rights to Keep Your Friends Close and No Kiss Goodbye by Janelle Harris have gone to Phoenix
Albanian rights to The Push by Ashley Audrain have gone to Dudaj Publishing (the Agency’s second ever Albanian deal, and the 33rd language for The Push!)
On that note, the Agency are now hiring an Associate Rights Agent, so don’t delay for the chance to come and join the international team! Full details can be found on our website here.