Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family – and is the most unhappy creature in the world.
Anne Turner has wit and talent – but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution.
When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign’s favourite may rise and rise – so long as he remains in favour.
With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything.
Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I, A Net for Small Fishes is the most gripping novel you’ll read this year: an exhilarating dive into the pitch-dark waters of the Jacobean court.
“This is the first time we are seeing… a conversation about defunding, and some people having a conversation about abolishing the police and prison state. This must be what it felt like when people were talking about abolishing slavery.” – Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter.
Abolishing the Police (An Illustrated Introduction) is both a contribution to this conversation and an invitation to join it. It provides rigorous and accessible analyses of why we might want to abolish the police, what abolishing them would involve, and how it might be achieved, introducing readers to the rich existing traditions of anti-police theory and practice.
Its authors draw on their diverse on-the-ground experiences of political organising, protest, and resistance to policing in the UK, France, Germany, and the United States, as well as their original research in academic fields ranging from law to security studies, political theory to sociology to public health.
Without assuming any prior specialist knowledge, they present the critical tools and insights these disciplines have to offer to ongoing struggles against the injustices of policing (and consider, in turn, what these disciplines must learn from these struggles.)
“I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.” London, 1965.
An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.
John Anthony Burgess Wilson (1917-93) was an industrious writer. He published over fifty books, thousands of essays and numerous drafts and fragments survive. He predicted many of the struggles and challenges of his own and the following century.
Burgess’s most famous book is A Clockwork Orange (1962), later adapted into a controversial film by Stanley Kubrick. The linguistic innovations of that novel, the strict formal devices used to contain them, and its range of themes are all to be found too in Burgess’s poetry, an area of his work where he was at once most free and most experimental. His flair for words, formal discipline, experimentalism, and fondness for variousness mark every page.
From a sapient pig to human extinction, syphilis to broken bones, a woman who births rabbits to changelings in the crib, this collection explores the full range of human fallibility as well as the eternal quest for hopefulness.
Cures is filled with strange characters: volcanic women, a rat catcher on the brink of retirement, a bonesetter, a drunkard, a mermaid; the collection is brimful with both the uncanny and the familiar, exploring the joys of parenthood, the folly of dissipation and reflecting on lives lived – mixing words in search of a tonic.
In 1974, Stormbringer was a pivotal album for Deep Purple. The second one made by the Mk3 lineup of Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale, it was ultimately the album that would see Blackmore call it a day with Deep Purple until the Mk2 line-up reformed in 1984. Blending a range of styles across heavy rock, funk and soul, Stormbringer is a very unique Deep Purple album and there is a lot to be said about the story behind it.
In this book, music author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an in depth perspective on Stormbringer from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Deep Purple’s legacy today. As the author explains: “Basically, the book covers how the album was made, what was going on with the music in terms of the artist’s intentions, how it did musically and commercially and what happened next.” The narrative is essentially driven by contemporary interviews with the artists with small bits of music theory where relevant… in some cases they delve into the structure / key signatures / time signatures, based on the original sheet music without straying away from being an engaging read for non-musicians.
Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child.
Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina.
Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
An eclectic collection of poems from the unique perspective of a poet who has spent much of his life at the hard edge of education.
These poems reflect the emotions and experience of being a teacher as well as the thoughts and feelings about everything that externally impinges on teaching English. While the collection will have broad appeal to fellow practitioners, it will also resonate with anyone and everyone who has attended school.
Mike Ferguson’s poems about teaching and examining were written over a 30 year period as an English teacher, and over 35 years as an examiner of English Literature at GCSE level. The eclecticism comes not only from reflecting over a long period of time but, more pertinently, on a varying focus of style and the experiences themselves.
Ferguson’s most recent writing is almost exclusively ‘experimental’ in vein. A small core of poems are sonnets. A number of poems air the poet’s political and critical views on education.
Bonkers correspondence to and rom UK punk artists during 2020. Whimsical and comical by turns, it features lots of the late 70’S/early 80’S punk bands including Cock Sparrer, Angelic Upstarts, Red Alert, The Blitz, Screaming Dead, Gonads, Zips and Those Naughty Lumps.
Luísa from Nothing, born Matilde Boshoff in 1911, is the last living heiress of Nothing, a vast estate in the wine countryside north of the Portuguese capital. Without heirs of her own, the only way to save Nothing from the nothingness of disappearance is to accept living. In anonymous company, Luísa tells the story of Nothing and the paradox of a place name that nullifies existence. Luísa is also a non-existence, with a name she never took but in which she has lived from birth.
Going back to the early 19th century when Nothing was created out of the chaos of the Napoleonic Invasions, Luísa traces the story of her family and its intersection with Portuguese and world history in a place where oddities and unpronounceable possibilities were always as natural occurrences as ghosts and werewolves. After a life of losses and brushes with the unfathomable, Luísa realises Nothing is her own eternal self.
Felix White, for reasons often beyond him, has always been deeply in love with cricket. His passion for the game is at the fore on the BBC ‘s number one cricket podcast and 5Live show, Tailenders, which he co-presents with Greg James and Jimmy Anderson. It’s Always Summer Somewhere is his funny, heartbreaking and endlessly engaging love letter to the game.
Felix takes us through his life growing up in South West London and describes how his story is forever punctuated and given meaning by cricket. Through his own exploits as a slow left arm spinner of ‘lovely loopy stuff’, to the tragic illness of his mother, life with The Maccabees and his cricket redemption, Felix touches on both the comedic and the tragic in equal measure. Throughout, there’s the ever-present roller coaster of following the England cricket team. The exploits of Tufnell (another bowler of ‘lovely loopy stuff’), Atherton, Hussain et al, are given extra import through the eyes of a cricket-obsessed youth. Felix meets them at each signposted moment to find out what was really behind those moments that gave cricket fans everywhere sporting memories that would last forever, sending the book into an exploration of grief, transgenerational displacement and how the people we’ve known and things we’ve loved culminate and take expression in our lives.
It’s Always Summer Somewhere is an incredibly honest detail of a life lived with cricket. It offers a sense of genuine empathy and understanding not just with cricket fans, but sports and music fans across the world, in articulating our reasons for pouring so much meaning into something that we simply cannot control. Culminating in the heart-stopping World Cup Final in 2019, the book finally answers that question fans have so often asked… what is it about this game?
This troubadour life is only for the fiercest hearts, only for those vessels that can be broken to smithereens and still keep beating out the rhythm for a new song.
Last Chance Texaco is the first-ever no-holds-barred account of the life of two-time Grammy Award-winner Rickie Lee Jones, in her own words. It is a tale of desperate chances and impossible triumphs, an adventure story of a girl who beat the odds and grew up to become one of the most legendary artists of her time, turning adversity and hopelessness into timeless music.
With candour and lyricism, the ‘Duchess of Coolsville’ (Time) takes us on a singular journey through her nomadic childhood, to her years as a teenage runaway, through her legendary love affair with Tom Waits, and ultimately her longevity as the hardest working woman in rock and roll. Rickie Lee’s stories are rich with the infamous characters of her early songs – ‘Chuck E’s in Love,’ ‘Weasel and the White Boys Cool,’ ‘Danny’s All-Star Joint’ and ‘Easy Money’ – but long before her notoriety in show business, there was a vaudevillian cast of hitchhikers, bank robbers, jail breaks, drug mules, a pimp with a heart of gold, and tales of her fabled ancestors.
AN OBSERVER BEST DEBUT NOVELIST OF 2021 ‘Seductive . . . Gorgeous’ The Times ‘A fresh perspective on an age-old tale’ Irish Times
‘I am the queen of two crowns, banished fifteen years, the famed and gilded woman, bad-luck baleful girl, mother of three small animals, now gone. I am fifty-five years old. I am Lear’s wife. I am here.’
Word has come. Care-bent King Lear is dead, driven mad and betrayed. His three daughters too, broken in battle. But someone has survived: Lear’s queen. Exiled to a nunnery years ago, written out of history, her name forgotten. Now she can tell her story.
Though her grief and rage may threaten to crack the earth open, she knows she must seek answers. Why was she sent away in shame and disgrace? What has happened to Kent, her oldest friend and ally? And what will become of her now, in this place of women? To find peace she must reckon with her past and make a terrible choice – one upon which her destiny, and that of the entire abbey, rests.
Giving unforgettable voice to a woman whose absence has been a tantalising mystery, Learwife is a breathtaking novel of loss, renewal and how history bleeds into the present.
Tesya has reasons to feel hopeful after leaving her last job, where she was subjected to a series of anonymous hate crimes. Now she is back home in London to start a new lecturing position, and has begun an exciting, if tumultuous, love affair with the enigmatic Holly. But this idyllic new start quickly sours. Tesya finds herself victimized again at work by an unknown assailant, who subjects her to an insidious, sustained race hate crime. As her paranoia mounts, Tesya finds herself yearning for the most elemental desires: love, acceptance, and sanctuary. Her assailant, meanwhile, is recording his manifesto, and plotting his next steps.
Inspired by the author’s personal experiences of hate crime and bookended with essays which contextualise the story within a lifetime of microaggressions, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes is a heart-breaking, hopeful, and compulsively readable novel about the most quotidian of crimes.
An anthology of writing and art works that simply respond to the work “listen” – through poems, paintings, photos, stories, songs, gardens and much more – all about listening and the importance of silence.
The artwork and writing in this anthology explore different perspectives on what it means to listen: from listening to music and the environment with one ear to listening to people with the other.
Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: forged through loneliness, broken by secrets, saved by love.
Irrepressible Betty Ramdin, her shy son Solo and their marvellous lodger, Mr Chetan, form an unconventional household. Happy in their differences, they build a home together. Home: the place keeping these three safe from an increasingly dangerous world – until the night when a glass of rum, a heart to heart and a terrible truth explodes the family unit, driving them apart.
Brave and brilliant, steeped in affection, Love After Love offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back.
A national treasure’s journey to the brink and back. ‘Will I wake up?’ ‘There’s a 50:50 chance.’Michael Rosen wasn’t feeling well. Soon he was struggling to breathe, and then he was admitted to hospital, suffering from coronavirus as the nation teetered on the edge of a global pandemic.
What followed was months on the wards: six weeks in an induced coma, and many more weeks of rehab and recovery as the NHS saved Michael’s life, and then got him back on his feet. Throughout Michael’s stay in intensive care, a notebook lay at the end of his bed, where the nurses who cared for him wrote letters of hope and support. Embarking on the long road to recovery, Michael was soon ready to start writing about his near-death experience.
Combining stunning new prose poems by one of Britain’s best loved poets and the moving coronavirus diaries of his nurses, doctors and wife Emma-Louise Williams, this is a beautiful book about love, life and the NHS. Featuring original illustrations by Chris Riddell, each page celebrates the power of community, the importance of kind gestures in dark times, and the indomitable spirits of the people who keep us well.
Mysticism is history. Chinna de Kock has awoken to the fact that she cannot override the virus mutating at warp speed inside her. Traumatised by events in her Cambridge lab, she has stopped eating and speaking, but her calculations allow her to feel, map and assess her way forwards. With her estranged mother Elektra riding out the pandemic in Bali, these mathematical incantations are her only hope for survival.
Enter Jill Purce, a cult ’70s documentary maker who Chinna, from her grandmother’s bed in Sumatra, watches fervently. Chinna is enamoured: by Jill and her belief in the vitality of change, and by the piercing gaze of her son, Chinna’s professor Merlin, whose vision of fungi as flesh, life as polyphony, has turned viral.
Exuberant and unforgettable, Nada Holland takes the reader beyond easy stoicism and into more puzzling terrain. Uncovering the mysteries that bring together East and West, future and past, and mother and daughter, Motherborn is a celebration of our emergent and entangled life on earth.
Backstage at the Lyceum in London, Tracey Thorn and Lindy Morrison first met. Tracey’s music career was just beginning, while Lindy, drummer for The Go-Betweens, was ten years her senior. They became confidantes, comrades and best friends, a relationship cemented by gossip and feminism, books and gigs and rock ‘n’ roll love affairs.
Morrison – a headstrong heroine blazing her way through a male-dominated industry – came to be a kind of mentor to Thorn. They shared the joy and the struggle of being women in a band, trying to outwit and face down a chauvinist music media. In My Rock ‘n’ Roll Friend Thorn takes stock of thirty-seven years of friendship, teasing out the details of connection and affection between two women who seem to be either complete opposites or mirror images of each other.
This important book asks what people see, who does the looking, and ultimately who writes women out of – and back into – history.
If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?
‘A thought-provoking, compelling and entertaining read. I could barely put the book down until its equally heart-wrenching and heart-warming ending. A wonderful, smart and funny book – I know readers will absolutely love it’ Louise Fein, bestselling author of People Like Us
The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she’s trying to keep from her overloaded family.
Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most – and make every decision about her life – will never know.
Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?
PSYCHOMACHIA reads like an NA meeting with Donna Tart, Joan Didion, DBC Pierre, James Frey, Angela Carter, Reinaldo Arenas, Virginia Despentes and JT Leroy battling their collective consciousness. Literature like this is usually presented through the male gaze, hence the fashion and rock n roll literati naming Kirsty Allison London’s finest.
She’s hilarious – she’s fucked up. Scarlet Flagg is so wasted, she doesn’t know if she killed the arch patriarch of rock n roll, Malachi Wright of Wright States International Touring after he raped her at a festival at 14. Scarlet is the kinda girl you wanna help, fuck, and leave. But is she dangerous? Did she murder Malachi or was it her boyfriend, Iggy Papershoes, frontman of Heroshima? Or perhaps her drug-dealing father? Scarlet doesn’t remember – she hardly remembers her own name.
This is brutal female drug-lit at its finest. The first novel of the real nineties, Scarlet is an unreliable narrator of epic fin-de-millennia proportions floating in a Shoreditch-warehouse haze. Her fast moving chronicle of the secret drug-filled, love starved, sex satiated-nightmare world of East End fashion, art and music afterparties is set in an era before MeToo, when stigmas meant keeping schtum, and getting in with the male-dominated in-crowd relied on copious amounts of class-As. Like Jean Genet in a prison cell, without camera phones, social media or mental health awareness, Scarlet searches for redemption in the pursuit of revenge through blurred lines in Ibiza, Paris, London and New York.
MacGregor is desperate to return home. Unfortunately, he’s marooned in the Gulf of Darién, following independent Scotland’s doomed colonisation attempt at the end of the 17th century. Worse still, he’s a character in a novel whose author is dying, and he’s running out of time.
As the author’s preoccupations, memories and spiralling thoughts start to pollute MacGregor’s world, he finds his narrative eroding and his escape routes blocked. Desperately clinging to hope, MacGregor is determined to keep his Creator writing long enough to deliver him home. But will he be able to drive the story to its end before his Creator reaches theirs?
‘An intoxicating mixture of poetry and prose, Slug is a taboo-busting delight’ SCOTSMAN
‘One of the best poets we have’ MATT HAIG
The new collection of poetry and prose from the Ted Hughes Award-winning author of Nobody Told Me. From Finnish saunas and soppy otters to grief, grandparents and Kellogg’s anti-masturbation pants, Slug is a book which holds a mirror lovingly up to the world, past and present, through Hollie’s driving, funny, hopeful poetry and prose. Slug is about the human condition: of birth and death and how we manage the possibilities in between.
When we look at the landscape, what do we see? Do we experience the view over a valley or dappled sunlight on a path in the same way as those who were there before us? We have altered the countryside in innumerable ways over the last thousand years, and never more so than in the last hundred. How are these changes reflected in – and affected by – art and literature?
Spirit of Place offers a panoramic view of the British landscape as seen through the eyes of writers and artists from Bede and the Gawain-poet to Gainsborough, Austen, W. G. Sebald and Barbara Hepworth. Shaped by these distinctive voices and evocative imagery, Susan Owens describes how the British landscape has been framed, reimagined and reshaped by each generation. Each account or work of art, whether illuminated in a manuscript, jotted down in a journal or constructed from sticks and stones, holds up a mirror to its maker and their world.
It is the summer solstice, but in a faded Scottish cabin park the rain is unrelenting. Twelve people on holiday with their families look on as the skies remain resolutely grey. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a teenage boy chances the dark waters of the loch in his kayak; a retired couple head out despite the downpour, driving too fast on the familiar bends.
But there are newcomers too, and one particular family, a mother and daughter with the wrong clothes and the wrong manners, start to draw the attention of the others. Who are they? Where are they from? Should they be here at all? As darkness finally falls, something is unravelling . . .
From the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss’ Summerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times.
Reflections on hope, survival and the messy miracle of being alive
It is a strange paradox, that many of the clearest, most comforting life lessons are learned while we are at our lowest. But then we never think about food more than when we are hungry and we never think about life rafts more than when we are thrown overboard.
The Comfort Book is a collection of consolations learned in hard times and suggestions for making the bad days better. Drawing on maxims, memoir and the inspirational lives of others, these meditations celebrate the ever-changing wonder of living. This is for when we need the wisdom of a friend or a reminder we can always nurture inner strength and hope, even in our busy world.
“Youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
It’s 1941, the last summer of American innocence, and eighteen-year-old Lillie Carrigan is desperate to love and be loved, to lose her virginity, to experience her life’s great, epic romance. Preoccupied with whiskey and cigarettes, sex and Catholic guilt, Lillie unknowingly sets in motion events leading to death and estrangement from her two best friends.
A decade on, Lillie is still haunted by the ghosts of that summer. Did she act solely out of youthful naivety and adolescent jealousy? Or perhaps there were darker forces at work: grief, guilt, sexual assault, and the double standards of her strict religious upbringing. Searching for patterns and meaning in the events of that year, and anxious to understand the person she has become, Lillie reflects on the darkness of her tarnished youth and confesses her sins.
It’s Holy Week in the town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla is to play Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep.
Vivid, darkly funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby’s first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo’s mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel’s mother, whom Angel isn’t speaking to; and Tio Tive, keeper of the family’s history. In the absorbing, realist tradition of Elizabeth Strout and Jonathan Franzen, Kirstin Valdez Quade brings to life the struggles of her characters to parent children they may not be equipped to save.
Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Sara Ogilvie, The Hospital Dog is a big-hearted tale about a very special, very brave dog.
Here is a dog, a Dalmatian called Dot,
Is she quite ordinary? NO, SHE’S NOT!
After their breakfast and a swim in the sea, Dot and her owner Rose jump on the bus to the hospital. Dot loves visiting the children of Wallaby Ward and they’re always pleased to see her too; from a crying baby to a bored teenager – a pat, a stroke and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up. But the work of the hospital dog doesn’t stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it’s up to Dot to save the day!
A fantastic rhyming story from the creators of the bestselling picture book, The Detective Dog – winner of the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award.
The Hospital Dog Book and CD comes with an audio CD of the story read by actress and singer Dame Floella Benjamin, perfect for reading along, for car journeys, bedtimes, or any time at all!
A delightful and scintillating hymn to science.’ Carlo Rovelli
Comedian Robin Ince quickly abandoned science at school, bored by a fog of dull lessons and intimidated by the barrage of equations. But, twenty years later, he fell in love and he now presents one of the world’s most popular science podcasts. Every year he meets hundreds of the world’s greatest thinkers.
In this erudite and witty book, Robin reveals why scientific wonder isn’t just for the professionals. Filled with interviews featuring astronauts, comedians, teachers, quantum physicists, neuroscientists and more – as well as charting Robin’s own journey with science – The Importance of Being Interested explores why many wrongly think of the discipline as distant and difficult. From the glorious appeal of the stars above to why scientific curiosity can encourage much needed intellectual humility, this optimistic and profound book will leave you filled with a thirst for intellectual adventure.