I, Robot by Peter Crouch

Following on from his huge bestseller, How to be a Footballer, Peter Crouch dives even deeper into the secret world of football. 

'Peter Crouch is a comedy genius' - Daily Mail 

'The funniest man in British sport' – Metro 

‘One of the funniest human beings on the planet’ Romesh Ranganathan


I, Robot - How to be a Footballer 2
By Peter Crouch
Ebury Press / 17 October / Hardback £20/ Ebook £9.99

A true legend of English football, with a career that has taken him from World Cups to Champions League finals, Crouch is prized for his self-deprecating humour and his universal appeal that transcends club affiliation. Newly retired after a stellar career, the humble professional with a great sense of humour has gathered legions of fans hungry to hear his hilarious take on the frequently ridiculous world of football.

In I,Robot Crouch further lifts the lid on the nation’s favourite sport in his usual honest, candid and utterly entertaining way. Whether it’s offering genuine insider insight into how the game works – from striker selfishness or the art of bench-warming to explaining what managers or agents really do. Then there are his legendary tall tales – from accidentally becoming best mates with Mickey Rourke (though not Madonna) to spilling the beans about, well, Gareth Bale’s magic beans. And why does Crouchy’s dad still walk the dog in his 2005 England tracksuit? This book is a true insider guide.


ABOUT PETER CROUCH

Peter Crouch is a retired English professional footballer. He was capped 42 times by the England national team between 2005 and 2010, scoring 22 goals for his country in that time, and appearing at two World Cups. He is one of 28 players to have scored 100 or more Premier League goals, holding the record for the most headed goals in Premier League history. With a truly illustrious footballing career behind him, he has played for Queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke, Burnley and England. Peter’s award winning That Peter Crouch Podcast is due to air for a third series this Autumn.

@petercrouch


ABOUT TOM FORDYCE

Tom Fordyce, Peter’s co-writer, is the BBC’s award-winning Chief Sports Writer. He ghosted Swim Bike Run, the autobiography of Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, which was a Sunday Times number one bestseller; The World of Cycling According to G with Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and Sevens Heaven with Ben Ryan, winner of the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year 2019. Tom hosts That Peter Crouch Podcast with Peter, alongside Radio One’s Chris Stark.

@tomfordyce


Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang

A major new biography from the internationally-bestselling author of Wild Swans, Mao and Empress Dowager Cixi. A gripping story of sisterhood, revolution and betrayal, and three women who helped shape the course of modern Chinese history.


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Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister
By Jung Chang
Jonathan Cape / 17 October / Hardback / £25

They were the most famous sisters in China. As the country battled through a hundred years of wars, revolutions and seismic transformations, the three Soong sisters from Shanghai were at the centre of power, and each of them left an indelible mark on history.

Red Sister, Ching-ling, married the ‘Father of China’, Sun Yat-sen, and rose to be Mao’s vice-chair.

Little Sister, May-ling, became Madame Chiang Kai-shek, first lady of pre-Communist Nationalist China and a major political figure in her own right.

Big Sister, Ei-ling, became Chiang’s unofficial main adviser – and made herself one of China’s richest women.

 All three sisters enjoyed tremendous privilege and glory, but also endured constant mortal danger. They showed great courage and experienced passionate love, as well as despair and heartbreak. They remained close emotionally, even when they embraced opposing political camps and Ching-ling dedicated herself to destroying her two sisters’ worlds.

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, intrigue, bravery, glamour and betrayal, which takes us on a sweeping journey from Canton to Hawaii to New York, from exiles’ quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, and from the compounds of the Communist elite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratic Taiwan. In a group biography that is by turns intimate and epic, Jung Chang reveals the lives of three extraordinary women who helped shape twentieth-century China.


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ABOUT JUNG CHANG

Jung Chang is the internationally bestselling author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; Mao: The Unknown Story (with Jon Halliday); and Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine who Launched Modern China. Her books have been translated into over 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies outside Mainland China where they are banned. She was born in China in 1952 and came to Britain in 1978. She lives in London.

Jung Chang is available for interview and events .


BOOK TOUR 2019/2020

·      Cheltenham Literary Festival – 12 October

·      Durham Literary Festival – 13 October

·      Manchester Literary Festival – 14 October

·      Linghams Bookshop – 15 October

·      Salisbury Literary Festival – 18 October (Salisbury Cathedral)

·      London Literature Festival / Asia House at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank – 19 October

·      Dublin Festival of History – 20 October (Printworks of Dublin Castle)

·      Toppings, Edinburgh – 22 October (Greenside Church)

·      Toppings, Bath – 23 October (Christchurch)

·      Waterstones, Canterbury – 24 October

·      Blackwells, Oxford – 29 October (Newman Rooms)

·      Dulwich Literary Festival – 13 November (George Farha Auditorium)

·      Chorleywood Bookshop – 18 November (Chorleywood Memorial Hall)

·      Daunts, Marylebone High Street – 28 November

·      Cambridge Literary Festival – 1 December

·      How To Academy, Conway Hall – 2 December 

·      Aldeburgh Literary Festival – 5-8 March 2020


The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

With film rights bought by the producers of ‘La La Land’ and ‘The Night Manager’ and foreign rights sold in 28 countries this novel about the secrets behind Boris Pasternak's banned literary masterpiece, Dr Zhivago, is Hutchinson’s lead debut for 2019.


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The Secrets We Kept
By Lara Prescott
Hutchinson / 3 September / Hardback, Ebook, Audio/ £12.99

A book really can change the world.

At the height of the cold war, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR and help Boris Pasternak’s new novel make its way into print around the world.

Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who uses her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a novice, and under Sally’s direction quickly learns how to blend into a crowd, make connections and ferry classified documents all over Washington DC.

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story - the decades-long love affair between Boris Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga, who went to prison for him and was the inspiration for Zhivago’s heroine, Lara – with a narrative about two American women whose lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk are entangled with the history of the CIA.

From Pasternak’s country estate in Peredelkina to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C . to Paris, Manhattan, and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a time and a place and a watershed moment in the history of literature with astonishing veracity and command.

Lara Prescott has woven an irresistible literary thriller from one of the greatest love stories of all time. This unforgettable debut novel – which captivates in its rich historical detail and soars in emotional intensity – is destined to be one of the books of the year.


TALKING POINTS

  • How Lara’s old job working on political campaigns made her interested in cold war propaganda tactics—how tactics have evolved from books to Twitter bots and Facebook groups, but the motives are still the same.

  • How history repeats itself re: the censorship of literature, persecution of writers, and how those in power still fear the power of words.

  • Historically the spy novel genre is male-dominated, but there is now a rise of women writing spy fiction.

  • 2020 is the 60th anniversary of Pasternak’s death - his legacy and the importance of Doctor Zhivago today.


ABOUT LARA PRESCOTT

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Lara Prescott received her MFA as the prestigious Fania Kruger Fellow from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin. Before she started the MFA, she was an animal protection advocate and a political campaign operative.  She worked on campaigns around the world – including for the first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. She also worked at Bully Pulpit Interactive and AKPD.

Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, BuzzFeed, Day One, Tin House Flash Friday, and other places. She won the 2016 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize (and Pushcart honourable mention) for the first chapter of this novel.  She has spent years researching the history around The Secrets We Kept.

Lara lives in Texas with her family.

www.laraprescott.com/  @laraprescott

Lara will be in the UK from 28 September – 5 October 2019

She will be appearing at literary festivals and bookshops including:

  • Mr B’s, Bath – Tuesday 1 October

  • Henley Literary Festival – Wednesday 2 October (lunchtime)

  • Chorleywood Bookshop (event at Chorleywood Library) – Wednesday 2 October (evening)

  • Ilkley Festival – Saturday 5 October

  • Cheltenham Literary Festival – Sunday 6 October


Bearmouth by Liz Hyder

A bold and original novel about justice, independence and resisting oppression that introduces a remarkable new voice.


Liz Hyder is a writer of true courage
— David Almond
Ambitious and darkly brilliant...It’s provocative, tender, claustrophobic and epic. It blew my mind
— Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Bearmouth
By Liz Hyder
Pushkin / 19 September / hardback / £12.99

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Newt has been living and working in Bearmouth mine from a tender age. The days are full of strict routine and a quiet acceptance of how things are – until, that is, Devlin arrives. Newt fears any unrest will bring heightened oppression from the Master and his overseers. Life is hard enough and there is no choice about that. Or is there? Newt is soon looking at Bearmouth with a fresh perspective - one that does more than whisper about change: one that is looking for a way out.

Liz Hyder has written an astounding debut novel that shows a young person daring to challenge the status quo. Bearmouth draws on Liz's research into the working conditions of children in Victorian mines in Britain. Inspired by her findings, she has created an imagined world riven with social injustice and populated by characters who don't simply accept things because they are told they must.

a mighty impressive piece of work… compelling, powerful and utterly unique. The voice of Newt is so original, demonstrating a lyrical dexterity in such a brilliant style’ - Brian Conaghan, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award

A hugely atmospheric read... a page-turner for sure’ - John McLay, Artistic Director, Bath Children's Literature Festival

‘memorable, different and stunning… BEARMOUTH is *that* fresh and new, and that exciting, just as Mortal Engines was when it came out’ - Katy Moran, author

clearly destined for greatness... It will stop you in your tracks. It will grip you, bewitch you, haunt you. It's a brilliant, brilliant book’ - Nicholas Pegg, writer, director, actor


TALKING POINTS

  • How the Victorian era has been glamorised, we think of top hats, steam trains and infrastructure not the exploitation it was built on

  • The parallels between the Victorian era and now - how exploitation today has been re-branded as opportunity with the likes of zero hours contracts

  • Mining and children– with children as young as four working down the mines six days a week, it is a forgotten part of British history for many

  • The lack of creativity in the education system – importance of creative writing for and with young people

  • What I’ve Learnt from Storytelling - from working on soaps and ongoing series to novels, films, plays and a writing retreat in rural Scotland. The importance of understanding all sorts of stories in terms of content, form and style.

  • From the birth of the industrial revolution to the famed ‘blue remembered hills’ – why Shropshire is the best kept secret in the country

  • In defence of suburbia – growing up on the edge of the capital with Epping Forest as a playground

  • Language – why dialect, accents and making up words is important


ABOUT LIZ HYDER

Liz Hyder is a writer, creative workshop leader and freelance PR Consultant in the arts. She has been part of Writing West Midlands’s Room 204 writer development programme since 2016. In early 2018, she won The Bridge Award/Moniack Mhor's Emerging Writer Award. Bearmouth is her debut novel.

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A past member of the National Youth Theatre, Liz has a BA in Drama from the University of Bristol and is on the board of Wales Arts Review. Previously, she’s developed a pilot series with Channel 4 Scotland, collaborated with the E17 Shadow Puppet Theatre for the Cultural Olympiad and been runner-up of the Roy W Dean Writers’ Grant (International Writing Award). Her debut short film The Caller won the Highly Commended Award at London Film Festival and was the only UK film in competition at Slamdance that year.

She worked in BBC publicity for six years on everything from EastEnders, Holby and Casualty to Radio 4. Since going freelance, she has been shortlisted for and won various PPC Awards with both Riot Communications and Maura Brickell. Since 2016, she has been the Film Programme Coordinator at the main Hay Festival.

Liz is available for interviews, features, events and creative workshops. She is based in Shropshire but travels widely.


MORE INFORMATION

For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

‘A brilliant, breathless thriller that kept me guessing to the last shocking page’

—Erin Kelly, Sunday Times bestselling author of He Said/She Said


What You Did
By Claire McGowan
Thomas & Mercer / 1 August / Kindle £3.98 / hardback £18.89 / paperback £4.99

A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying, but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

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‘A knockout new talent you should read immediately.’ - Lee Child

One of the very best novels I’ve read in a long while... astonishing, powerful and immensely satisfying.’
- Peter James

‘Plenty of intrigue makes this a must read’ - Woman & Home

‘A great novel that happens to be a crime novel....A winner’ - Mark Lawson, Radio 4 Front Row

’McGowan’s pacy, direct style ensures that the twists come thick and fast.’ - The Irish Times

‘Taut plotting and assured writing’ - Good Housekeeping

A gripping yarn you will be unable to put down’ - The Sun


TALKING POINTS

  • Should we keep the same friends all our lives?

  • What does modern friendship mean? Competitive friendship /frenemies

  • Envy and how it can ruin your life, especially between friends, and how it can be sparked off by social media posts, the pressure to have a perfect life

  • Being an outsider at an Oxbridge University - what it was like going to Oxford as a state-school pupil from Northern Ireland

  • What it’s like writing about sexual assault in the wake of Me Too – the responsibility to get it right

  • The beta marriage - so much pressure to ‘have it all’, is it good to have a ‘crash and burn’ marriage so that you can learn what you really want from life and love, and do it right next time?

  • Traditional gender roles – the benefits of being raised by a working mother and a father who did most of the childcare and housework (very unusual in rural Ireland in the 80s)

  • The joys of having platonic male friends – going to an all-girl convent school and then an old-fashioned university I didn’t have male friends until I was in my twenties. They now enrich my life in all sorts of ways

  • What’s it like to experience loneliness as a young person and the shame and stigma attached to this, and how to build a friendship group from scratch

  • The best way to be dumped – why ‘ghosting’ should be banned and why we should bring in a ‘dating charter’ for etiquette in these days of Tinder and online hook-ups

  • Is divorce contagious? – when I got divorced at the age of 31 I was the third in my close group of six friends to break up within less than a year

  • How illness helped me find my dream job


ABOUT CLAIRE MCGOWAN

Born in Northern Ireland in 1981, Claire McGowan studied in Oxford then lived overseas in France and China. She is the author of standalone thriller The Fall, and the Paula Maguire series, including The Lost, The Dead Ground, The Silent Dead, A Savage Hunger, Blood Tide, and The Killing House. The Paula Maguire series was optioned by the BBC in 2014. A ten-part radio drama written by Claire was broadcast on Radio 4 in early 2019, and as a screenwriter she was selected as the 2017/18 Nickelodeon International Writing Fellow.

Claire set up the Crime Thriller Writing MA at City University, London, and has also taught for the Arvon Foundation, Guardian Masterclasses and at many literary festivals.

As Eva Woods, she has published four women’s fiction novels, including the bestselling How To Be Happy.

More information is available from: www.ink-stains.co.uk and you’ll find Claire on Twitter at @inkstainsclaire 

Claire is available for interview, features and events.

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MORE INFORMATION 

For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Just Another Mountain by Sarah Jane Douglas

An uplifting memoir from a strong female voice that shows the restorative power of mountain walking  


Just Another Mountain  
by Sarah Jane Douglas 
Foreword by Sir Chris Bonington  
Elliott & Thompson / 20 June / hardback / £14.99 

Loads of people get horrible diagnoses all the time so really it isn’t anything special or extraordinary that I found myself with membership to the cancer club. To be honest, I’d been expecting it, but the news was still received like a swift kick to the balls. For me, the hardest thing to get my head around was the fact that twenty years earlier I’d held my own mum’s hand when breast cancer stole her life from mine. It had taken me most of my adulthood to recover from her loss... Faced with my diagnosis, there was only one thing I could do, the thing I’d come to rely on so much these last few years. I had to put one foot in front of the other, and just keep walking.
— Sarah Jane Douglas
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In 1997, at the age of 24, Sarah lost her mother to breast cancer. Alone and adrift in the world, she very nearly gave up hope – but she’d made a promise to her mother that she would keep going no matter what. So she turned to the beautiful, dangerous, forbidding mountains of her native Scotland.   

By walking in her mother’s footsteps, she learns to accept her own troubled past, finding the strength to overcome her grief – and, ultimately, to carry on in the face of her own diagnosis twenty years later. 

Searingly honest and utterly relatable, bringing the exhilarating triumphs and challenges of mountain walking to life with wit, charm and raw candour, Just Another Mountain is a story of hope and redemption, of a mother and a daughter, and of how we can learn both to live and to love. Sometimes, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other … and just keep walking. 


Talking points

  • Mountain climbing – from Scotland’s Munros to Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas 

  • Mother daughter relationships and dealing with loss 

  • Unpicking the mystery of the death of her Mother’s greatest love (and the man who was nearly her stepfather), Gerry, in the Himalayas 

  • Female friendship 

  • Cancer – and sanity saving daily walks throughout the course of treatment 


About Sarah Jane Douglas

Sarah Jane Douglas writes the popular blog ‘Smashing Cancer in the Face’. She is an artist and former teacher who lives with her two teenage sons in an old fishing village on the northeast coast of Scotland, is a lover of mountains and is proud to be Munroist number 5764. This is her first book. 

Sarah actively fundraises for Cancer charities. Last year The Show (Breast Cancer Care) raised £150,000, and Sarah also arranged a ‘Full Monty’ to raise money for Maggie’s Highlands

Sarah is available for interview, features and events.


More information

For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Gary Bell

The start of a fantastic new legal series, perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith, written by an acclaimed QC and set in the extraordinary, stranger-than-fiction world of the halls of British justice


Beyond Reasonable Doubt 
Elliot Rook, QC: Book 1
By Gary Bell (and Scott Kershaw)
13 June 2019 / Hardback / Raven Books / £12.99

Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation. He is also a complete fraud.

Gary Bell

Unbeknown to the high society of the Inns of Court surrounding him, Rook is not the Old-Etonian, Oxford graduate he pretends to be. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret. 

Until now...

A young woman has been found murdered on the outskirts of Rook’s home town. Billy Barber a violent football hooligan and white supremacist – is accused of her murder. Barber is insisting that Rook defend him. If Rook refuses, Barber will expose him, bringing crashing to the ground the life and career that Rook has spent his life building. Rook must now team up with Zara Barnes, the state-school-educated apprentice dismissed out of hand by his snobbish legal counterparts, but in whom Rook sees a special talent.

The truth is there for the finding.

But at what cost?


Talking points

  • Gary used his own life as inspiration for his fiction (including pretending to be an Old Etonian)

  • Social diversity at the Bar

  • Cuts in legal aid and the knock-on effects

  • Crime and its causes


About Gary Bell

Born into a coal mining family, Gary Bell QC left school without any qualifications and was an apprentice mechanic, fork lift truck driver, production line worker, builder, fireman and door-to-door salesman, as well as a notorious football hooligan, before being arrested for fraud aged 18.

After a brief stint in prison he set off to seek fame and fortune abroad and, after two years drifting around Europe ended up penniless and homeless. He next enrolled in a FE College to study his O and A levels, and then went on to study law as a mature student at Bristol University where he 'became' an Old Etonian.

After graduating he spent a year as a litigation lawyer in Beverly Hills before coming back to England to become a barrister. He has spent over thirty years at the Bar, specialising in defending in major fraud and murder trials, becoming a QC in 2012.

Always on the look out for challenges and opportunities he has also been an award winning stand-up comedian; an after-dinner speaker (when at University he won several national debating competitions and was runner up in the World's Humorous Debating Competition at Princeton); he has learned to fly a plane, hosted his own TV show (the Legalizer) on BBC1; writes regularly for national newspapers; has a column in The Spectator and wrote his best-selling autobiography, Animal QC.

* Gary Bell is available for interview, features and events *


About Scott Kershaw 

Scott Kershaw is the author of two novels. Prior to becoming an author, Scott worked as a professional chef for several years, and travelled the continent as a music journalist.


More information 

For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Red Door | 13 June 2019 | Hardback | £12.99

Why would one of Silicon Valley's most powerful billionaires offer a British ghostwriter a million dollars to write the autobiography of one of Hollywood's biggest stars?

Only once he is living and working amongst the world's richest and most beautiful people does the ghost realise that there is way more than a publishing deal at stake. Everyone he meets seems to have a hidden agenda and someone is willing to kill to ensure that their plans work out. But what are those plans, who are the ultimate puppet-masters and how far are they willing to go?

What Lies Around Us takes us to a world where ghostwriters work with presidents, (James Patterson and Bill Clinton writing The President is Missing), and create presidents, (Tony Schwartz who ghosted The Art of the Deal ,  setting President Trump on the road to becoming the most famous name in the world). 

This is the world of myth-makers, story-tellers and media manipulators – the people who really run the world and the ones who shape the global conversations.


Talking points

  • How exactly does it work when a rich and powerful man like Trump decides they want to write a book? Who shapes the message? How is the message sold?

  • Who is more likely to be telling the true stories today – ghostwriters, who are paid to create bestselling books, or journalists, who are paid to sell newspapers and create click-bait?

  • Why are books still such powerful media weapons, as illustrated by the multi-million selling political books of 2017 from authors like Michelle Obama, Bob Woodward and Michael Wolff?

  • How much power do ghostwriters and speech writers exert when telling the stories of political and business leaders and other celebrities?

  • Do traditional publishers add any value to a book? In this story every publisher in the world wants the book that the ghost is writing, but if the subject can afford to publish it themselves, why would they need a traditional publishing deal?

  • There is so much written about how hard it is to make a living as a writer, less about how much in demand ghostwriters are.                                                              


About Andrew Crofts

Andrew Crofts has published more than 100 books, including Confessions of a Ghostwriter, Freelance Writer’s Handbook and Ghostwriting, a dozen of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. Best-selling author, Robert Harris quoted Ghostwriting extensively in his novel The Ghost, later filmed by Roman Polanski with Ewan McGregor in the lead. 

Travelling all over the world Andrew has worked with victims of enforced marriages in North Africa and the Middle East, sex workers in the Far East, orphans in war-torn areas like Croatia and dictatorships like Romania, victims of crimes and abused children everywhere. He has also worked with celebrities from the worlds of film, music, television and sport.

Andrew’s fiction includes the critically acclaimed Secrets of the Italian Gardener, in which the same ghostwriter finds himself dangerously enmeshed in the Arab Spring while ghosting for a Middle Eastern ruler.

More information is available from: http://andrewcrofts.com/ and you’ll find Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewCrofts 

Andrew is available for features, interviews and events.


More information

For more information about this book, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Breakdown: Making Sense of Politics in a Messed-Up World by Tatton Spiller

The Breakdown is a smart, entertaining handbook showing how we can understand – and feel better about – modern politics.


The Breakdown: Making Sense of Politics in a Messed-Up World
By Tatton Spiller
Elliott & Thompson / 30 May / hardback / £12.99

We’re in a time of enormous political engagement, but most of us are ill equipped to truly understand and debate the issues currently rocking our world. Instead, we become entrenched in our echo chambers, convinced that those with a different viewpoint are stupid, awful human beings whose actions must be stopped. This lack of political knowledge and wider understanding is unsurprising – after all, few of us are taught about our political system or about different ideologies – but it leaves us unable to engage in the conversation, to influence others’ opinions, or to effect change. It leaves us with no control.

With sections including How it All Works; How Different People Think; and Making Change Happen, this superbly clear-sighted, light-hearted and judgement-free book will equip readers with the tools they need to understand the different arguments, to work out what is happening and why – and then to do something about it.

In a shifting political landscape that can at times be frustrating, emotional or confusing, The Breakdown is an oasis of calm in a turbulent world.

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TALKING POINTS

  • How subscription ‘news’ websites have a vested interest in keeping you angry

  • How we dehumanise the opposition thereby preventing any kind of meaningful debate

  • Why there is a reluctance to try and solve problems and find workable solutions, and the damage this is causing

  • Social media abuse and the damage it is doing to democracy

  • A snappy tour of different political ideologies (liberals; libertarians; socialists; traditional conservatives; one-nation conservatives; social democrats)

  • A tour of political battlegrounds – Education; Privatisation; Tax and Spend; Immigration; Free speech; Brexit

  • A look at successful changemakers of the 21st Century, and what drove that success

  • Tips to keep your head clear and out of your echo chamber


ABOUT TATTON SPILLER

Tatton Spiller is the founder of Simple Politics, a hugely successful project that aims to explain and engage people with politics, both online and via talks. He has been a teacher and a journalist, and worked at the Houses of Parliament, devising, training and delivering education sessions for visiting school students. While at Parliament, he watched many, many debates, engaged thousands of people, and organised Q&A sessions with hundreds of MPs. This gave him a real insight into how the whole thing works. The nagging feeling that nobody was really breaking down politics in a way that engages people never left him.

Tatton is available for interviews, features and events.


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Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years by Stephanie Calman

We imagine the teenage years as a sort of domestic meteor strike, when our dear, sweet child, hitherto so trusting and innocent, is suddenly replaced by a sarcastic know-all who cruelly disregards the important wisdom we have to pass on. But with her characteristic unflinching honesty and bracing wit, Stephanie Calman debunks that myth.  


Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years 
By Stephanie Calman 
Published in hardback by Picador on 16 May 2019 at £12.99
 

Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years by Stephanie Calman

Confessions of a Bad Mother: The Teenage Years by Stephanie Calman

When you’re pregnant you think: ‘I’m having a baby’, but you’re not. Inside that chubby exterior is a person who will eventually catch trains by themselves, share a fridge with ten strangers, go to a festival in Croatia without succumbing to a drug overdose, and one day, bring you a gin and tonic when your own mother is dying.  

Bad news: adolescence begins much earlier than you expect, around the age of seven.  

Good news! The modern teenager is a compassionate soul, the product of political correctness, Circle Time and all five series of ‘Friends’. 

Not quite so good news: the key insights you’ve gathered over four or five decades are still going to be brutally rejected, with a casual: ‘Like, whatever. Can I go now?’  

Stephanie takes a fresh look at this whole process and finds that her teenagers are frequently thinking and feeling the same thing as she is: that the other person has all the power and basically hates them. 

And having nurtured them through every stage of development, from walking to school by themselves to their first hangover, she finds herself dreading the separation – feeling bereaved even – as they skip off to university without a second glance. As the grown-up, you cannot let them see you in this pathetic state. It’s time to be brave and try to move on with your life. 


Talking points

  • Navigating the shift from teenage years to adulthood 

  • Dealing with the death of a parent, as a parent 

  • Preparing yourself for your children to flee the nest by dwelling on the bad times 

  • Are teenagers really so difficult, or have they had a bad press? 

  • How working from home as two freelancers helps promote benign neglect 


About Stephanie Calman

Stephanie Calman is the founder of the ground-breaking Bad Mothers Club website and the author of six previous books including the bestselling Confessions of a Bad Mother. She created the hit Channel 4 sitcom Dressing For Breakfast and has appeared on many TV shows including Have I Got News For You and The Wright Stuff.

She has also written for most British newspapers and magazines including the Daily Telegraph, Observer, Guardian, Cosmopolitan, GQ and Harpers & Queen, and has contributed to a wide variety of radio programmes, including Woman's Hour and The Today Programme. She is still married to the author Peter Grimsdale, whose latest book High Performance is also out on May 16. 


More information

For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Jamie Murray launches YouTube channel

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Six-time Grand Slam doubles champion and Davis Cup winner Jamie Murray OBE also has 21 ATP Doubles titles and represented Great Britain in the Davis Cup 2007-2018 and in the Olympic Games 2008, 2012and 2016.

Jamie has launched his YouTube channel to give a unique and inspiring insight into the life and business of a doubles pro and to share his training drills and coaching tips with players, fans and coaches of all ages and stages.

Doubles has been my career since 2006 but it is also the bedrock of our school, club and county competitions. I want to inspire many more players to improve their doubles game and by creating my own YouTube channel I can share as much as I can of what I do on and off court. YouTube is a great way to learn all sorts of things – I learned how to make scrambled eggs by watching Gordon Ramsay and I want to make my tennis tips as easy to follow as that! It’s going to be a simple, effective platform for people all over the world to come and learn about tennis.
— Jamie Murray

Video clips will be uploaded regularly and will include tactics and positioning for different doubles situations; easy to follow coaching tips and skill-building exercises; warm up and cool down routines; fitness training for speed, strength and flexibility; nutritional advice – how to fuel and refuel before, during and post-match or training; mental preparation and video analysis; the role of the coach; how to choose a doubles partner; the art of on court communication and much, much more.

There will also be lots of fun updates on what Jamie likes doing when he’s not on the tennis court; what music he listens to, his favourite TV shows, restaurants and his fantasy football team.


ABOUT JAMIE MURRAY

Jamie Murray, 33, is a professional tennis player. He grew up in Glasgow and attended Dunblane Primary School and Dunblane High School. 

As a young player he was coached by his mother, Judy, and by the age of 12 was one of the top 3 players in Europe alongside Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet.  He was a GB Junior Internationalist from the age of 10-17 and National 18 + under Boys Doubles Champion in 2002.  He made the decision to concentrate on doubles as a career in 2006. The following year at the age of 21, he won his first Grand Slam title in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Jelena Jankovic. Since then Jamie has gone on to claim 21 ATP doubles titles and captured two men’s Grand Slam doubles titles, at the Australian Open and the US Open in 2016. He picked up another two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles in 2017 with Martina Hingis at Wimbledon and the US Open and most recently he partnered Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the 2018 US Open, his 6th Grand Slam victory. He was also a key member of the GB team which won the Davis Cup in 2015.

Jamie lives in Wimbledon, London, with his wife Alejandra, who he married in 2010 at Cromlix House near Dunblane. Away from tennis, Jamie enjoys golf (right-handed), playing off a handicap of 4. He is a member of Wentworth Club. When not competing, Jamie is a regular commentator on the BBC, Eurosport and Sky Sports. Murray was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to tennis and charity.

  • Jamie is currently working with the LTA and Glasgow Life to help organise and promote the ATP Challenger Tournament, called the Murray Trophy, to be held in Glasgow from 16-22 September 2019.

  • Jamie is a Patron of the children’s charity, Whizz-Kidz, helping youngsters with disabilities to become active and independent. Jamie is involved in a sports mentoring capacity and is committed to raising awareness of wheelchair sport.

  • Other charities that Jamie supports include: Judy Murray Foundation; Children Change Colombia


ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS

  • doubles vs singles in tennis, and why singles get all the attention

  • the psychology of playing doubles and the art of communication

  • the importance of giving back to tennis and his role on the ATP player council

  • how to build a partnership with your team mate (Jamie had nearly 50 different partners between 2009 and 2012, before teaming up with John Peers and then Bruno Soares)

  • the different between men’s doubles and mixed doubles

  • his hopes for tennis in Scotland

  • making tennis fun and stimulating for kids

  • making tennis accessible and affordable to everyone

  • the support team that makes life as a pro athlete work

  • fitness, rehab and nutrition / hydration dos and don’ts

  • how to plan your tournament schedule

  • life on the road – Jamie is typically on tour for 25-30 weeks a year

  • travel tips for jet lag, and hotels and restaurants in tournament cities

  • his ambassadorial role with Whizz Kidz

  • his love for Manchester United, Hibs and Game of Thrones



One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

Ready Player One meets Stranger Things in this new novel by the bestselling author whom George RR Martin describes as “an excellent writer.”


One Word Kill
By Mark Lawrence

1 May 2019 | £19.99 HB | £4.99 PB | e-book £3.98 | Audiobook £20.12 | 47North (an imprint of Amazon Publishing)

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In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.


‘The ending is absolutely spectacular and wraps everything up perfectly. I loved the setting, the protagonist, the characters including the supporting and very minor players, the thrills and spills and emotions.’ - Fantasy Book Review

‘an enthralling tale about people challenged by dire adversity, and isn’t that at the heart of every great story?’ - The Fantasy Hive


Mark Lawrence is married with four children and lives in Bristol with his family. Before becoming a writer his day job was as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say 'this isn't rocket science … oh wait, it actually is'.

He is the author of the Broken Empire trilogy (Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and Emperor of Thorns), the Red Queen’s War trilogy (Prince of Fools, The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim) and the Book of the Ancestor series (Red Sister, Grey Sister and Holy Sister).


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The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

Number 15 in bestselling Maisie Dobbs series…


The American Agent
By Jacqueline Winspear
26 March 2019 | Hardback £19.99 | Allison & Busby

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When an American war correspondent’s murder is concealed by British authorities, Maisie Dobbs agrees to work with an agent of the US Department of Justice to help an old friend discover the truth.

With German bombs raining down on London, Maisie is torn between the demands of solving this dangerous case and the need to protect a young evacuee. And what will happen when she faces losing her dearest friend and the possibility that she might be falling in love again?

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in Kent and emigrated to the USA in 1990. She has written extensively for journals, newspapers and magazines, and has worked in book publishing on both sides of the Atlantic. The Maisie Dobbs series of crime novels is beloved by readers worldwide – always going into the New York Times top 10 on publication. Jacqueline will be available for interviews, events and written features.

More info at: jacquelinewinspear.com


‘An outstanding historical series’ - New York Times

‘Maisie Dobbs is a revelation.’ - Alexander McCall Smith

'I'm a huge Maisie Dobbs fan' - Lee Child

‘Wry and immensely readable’ - Daily Mail

‘A series that seems to get better with every entry’ - Wall Street Journal


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Dublin Public Transport — New Map Project

A new rail map and public transport website for Dublin unveiled this week


  • New rail map includes ALL Dublin train and tram lines, with interchanges clearly labelled

  • Wheelchair accessibility and bike parking information is featured for the first time

  • The map uses high quality design – similar to those found in other major European cities

  • New Dublin public transport site, dublinpublictransport.ie provides travel information for bus, rail and trams all in ONE place

Although there has been a rail revival in Dublin in recent years, with a significant expansion of Dublin’s tram and train networks, graphic design has failed to keep up! Go to any railway station or tram stop in Dublin and you’ll be struck by the lack of a map highlighting how all the rail services integrate with each other. This contrasts starkly with the abundance of lovingly-designed maps at stations and on trains in other European cities.

With this in mind, Chris Singleton of Style Factory Communications worked with graphic designer Richard Hart to fill this gap. The result: a new Dublin train map showing all rail lines in an easy-to-understand format that wouldn’t be out of place in other European capitals like London, Paris or Berlin.


Map features

  • The map features all DART, Commuter and Luas lines along with at-a-glance frequency guidance.

  • Wheelchair accessibility information for each station is included on the new map – something that is missing from existing maps.

  • The map provides clear information regarding which stations provide bike and car parking.

  • The map includes the two Airlink airport bus routes to help visitors to Dublin switch easily from airport buses onto other modes of transport in the capital. 

This new map will serve as a valuable travel resource for both Dubliners and visitors to the city. It’s currently a BETA version, and feedback from rail users in Dublin is very welcome. The train map can be viewed here.


A new website for Dublin public transport, too 

Despite the expansion of Dublin’s public transport network in recent years, the capital currently lacks a Dublin-specific travel website to help people make the most of it. So Style Factory has also launched an easy-to-use website that provides, in one place, all the information needed for anyone wishing to travel around Dublin.

The new Dublin Public Transport site aims to give users:

This website has been produced independently of Dublin’s public transport operators, but using information they make publicly available. As with the map, the site is currently a BETA version, and feedback from Dublin public transport users on it is very welcome.


About the designer, Chris Singleton

Chris Singleton is originally from Dublin, but has been living in London since 2004. He runs the popular tech / design blog Style Factory and fronts the London-Irish art-rock band Five Grand Stereo.


More information

If you have any press enquiries or interview requests please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Another Planet by Tracey Thorn

A memoir about suburban childhood from Tracey Thorn, singer-songwriter and Sunday Times bestselling author of Bedsit Disco Queen

‘Another Planet is about being a teenager in suburbia in the 1970s, and revisiting one’s own youth from middle age. It touches on class, culture, music, plum jam and parenting teens. It’s wonderful. You’ll read it in one go’ - Nina Stibbe

‘I loved it. Thorn is the rarest of things: a singer whose phrasing is as good on the page as it is through a microphone’ - John Niven


Another Planet - A Teenager in Suburbia
By Tracey Thorn
7 February 2019 | Hardback £14.99 | eBook | Audio Download

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‘I’m not the only person to have grown up stifled and bored in suburbia, it’s almost the law. The diary entries, this monotonous litany of having nothing to do, are a relentless howl of frustrated energy. Brookmans Park was stultifying, frozen-in-time. In the world at large, things changed a lot during the 1960s and 70s, but in the heart of the Green Belt nothing seemed to move. Stranded in the past, it wrestled with the present, and hated the future. And there I was, stuck with it.’

In a 1970s commuter town, Tracey Thorn’s teenage life was forged from what failed to happen. Her diaries were packed with entries about not buying things, not going to the disco, the school coach not arriving. 

Before she was a bestselling musician and writer, Tracey Thorn was a typical teenager: bored and cynical, despairing of her aspirational parents. Her only comfort came from house parties, Meaningful Conversations, and the female pop icons who hinted at a new kind of living. 

Returning more than three decades later to Brookmans Park, scene of her childhood, Thorn takes us beyond the bus shelters and pub car parks, the utopian cul-de-sacs, the train to Potters Bar and the weekly discos, to the parents who wanted so much for their children, the children who wanted none of it. With her trademark wit and insight, Thorn reconsiders the greenbelt post-war dream so many artists have mocked, and so many artists have come from. 

‘I adored this. Wise, tender, beautifully observed, deadly funny. A green belt memoir classic’ - Max Porter 

‘Tracey Thorn turns the tables on her teenage boredom and chips a jewel out of doing stuff – and not doing stuff – in suburbia. A meditation on mooching and moping, escaping and finding, mums and dads, love and ageing, which is reflective, warm and deeply touching’ - Keggie Carew

'Another Planet is a poignant, rueful, tender portrait of a world so little written about, but which so many of us will recognise. I devoured it. Thorn is a brilliant writer, and a brilliantly insightful chronicler of a certain type of English experience' - Melissa Harrison

‘I devoured Another Planet. Thorn’s intimate reflections on teenage angst, motherhood, panic attacks, family and music are so moving and insightful, and written with wit and sensitivity’ - Cosey Fannie Tutti


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Tracey Thorn is a singer-songwriter and writer. After forming her first band, Marine Girls, while still at school, she delivered her breakthrough debut mini solo album, A Distant Shore, in 1982. She then spent seventeen years in bestselling duo Everything But The Girl. Since 2007 she has released three further solo albums, one movie soundtrack, a clutch of singles and two books, including the Sunday Times bestselling memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen. She currently writes a column for the New Statesman and launched her new album Record in March 2018. She lives in London with her husband Ben Watt and their three children. 

@tracey_thorn | traceythorn.com


PRAISE FOR TRACEY THORN

‘The Alan Bennett of pop memoirists. I loved her book so much I wanted to form a band, too. Preferably with Thorn’ - Caitlin Moran

‘Beautifully written, dryly funny and searingly honest’ - Sunday Times

‘The Everything But The Girl frontwoman and former Marine Girl seizes our attention because she never asks for it, and in that her authorial voice is like her singing voice, soft and low, magnetic’ - Guardian

‘Warm, assertive, sweetly funny, but most of all honest’ - Daily Telegraph

‘I loved it’ - Nina Stibbe


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The Stress Solution by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

From BBC 1’s Doctor in the House and author of the Sunday Times bestselling The 4 Pillar Plan.

“The way we’re living our modern lifestyles is causing us a lot of problems and stress is the biggest health issue I see in my clinic and I want to combat this. Many people don’t realise that by implementing small changes to their routine can reduce or completely eradicate stress.”


The Stress Solution: The 4 Steps to Reset Your Body, Mind, Relationships and Purpose
By Dr Rangan Chatterjee
3rd January 2019 | Penguin Life | Trade Paperback £16.99 | Fully illustrated, full colour

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"Small changes make a big difference - we can all benefit from reading this" - Jamie Oliver

“Life’s consistent pressures can get too much. This book will help you stay calm and sane in this chaotic, busy world” – Amelia Freer

“It’s thought that between 70 and 90% of GP consultations are related to stress”

Dr Rangan Chatterjee knows this better than anyone. As a practising GP he’s seen first-hand how stress affects his patients and has found simple but effective methods to help them. Now he’s on a mission to show that combatting stress is easier than you think. For Dr Chatterjee, the key to solving the problem of stress is about addressing the underlying causes of our anxieties in four main areas: Body, Mind, Relationships, and Purpose.

Pairing the science of what happens in our brains and our bodies when we become stressed, with personal accounts and patient cases in The Stress Solution Dr Chatterjee offers simple and achievable interventions to help you re-set your life, offering simple tools for how to cope with modern-life.

Introducing a new way of thinking about health, The Stress Solution will help you to live a happier, more fulfilling and stress-free life.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee is one of the most influential doctors in the UK and is changing the way that we look at illness. He is known for taking a 360 degree approach to health, which was highlighted in his ground-breaking BBC TV show, Doctor in the House, and in his first book The 4 Pillar Plan. He is the resident doctor on BBC One's Breakfast, a regular commentator on BBC Radio and hosts his own chart-topping podcast, Feel Better Live More.

More about the book

Purpose – People with a strong sense of purpose enjoy significantly better health compared to those who don’t including less likelihood of developing heart disease, strokes and depression.

  • How to design your morning routine effectively

  • How to live with Love, Intention, Vision, Engagement

Relationships - Major sources of twenty-first-century stress are a lack of human touch, the insidious erosion of intimacy and the deprioritization of friendship.

  • How to keep a touch diary and nurture intimacy

  • How to nurture your friendships and combat loneliness

Body – We feel stress in the body – experiencing it as physical sensations. But the body can also be a cause of stress.

  • How to eat the alphabet and create more diversity in your diet

  • How to prioritise your sleep and adjust your circadian rhythm?

Mind - Just as bodies need fuel, minds need stillness. We need relaxation just as we need vitamins, fat and fibre.

  • Avoid technology overload – take a digital holiday

  • Spend time surrounded by nature

  • Use breathing methods or meditation to reduce stress

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Further endorsements for The Stress Solution

“Comprehensive, empowering and grounded in scientific research, Dr Chatterjee tackles the disabling affliction that so many of us suffer yet few of us defeat: stress” – Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep

“Rangan’s new book is full of useful advice on how to stay calm and live a happier, more fulfilled life” - Michael Acton Smith, founder of Calm

Further links

https://drchatterjee.com/

Feel Better, Live More podcast: https://drchatterjee.com/blog/category/podcast/

Instagram: @drchatterjee / Twitter: @drchatterjeeuk / Facebook.com/drchatterjee

Further information on The 4 Pillar Plan

  • 100,000 copies sold across all editions

  • Amazon #1 bestseller, Nielson Number Two Bestseller, Number 2 in the Irish Charts

  • No 1 iTunes podcast – Feel Better, Live More – has had over 1 million downloads so far and recent guests include Michael Acton Smith, Dr Megan Rossi and Professor Matthew Walker


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Her Last Move by John Marrs

“One of the most exciting, original thriller writers out there. I never miss one of his books.” - Simon Kernick

‘Whatever you do, don’t read this in the dark, or on your own…’  - Cara Hunter, author of Close to Home, on Her Last Move


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Her Last Move by John Marrs
Thomas & Mercer | Paperback | 8 November 2018 | £8.99 |e-Book - £3.98

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

Talking points

  • Her Last Move is the first book to use a Super Recogniser (a small branch of the Met manned by coppers who never forget a face) as a main character.

  • Joe Russell is a gay male detective, deliberately written in as non-cliched a way as possible –

  • not hiding his sexuality, married to another guy.

  • This is John’s fifth book and the first that hasn’t been written on a commuter train – he has now given up journalism to write full time.

  • John’s publishing journey - from self-publishing to deals with Thomas & Mercer (Amazon Publishing).

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John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Her Last Move is dedicated to John’s late father, Charlie, who was a police officer for 25 years.

Follow him on Twitter @johnmarrs1 Facebook: @johnmarrsauthor Instagram: @johnmarrs.author
website: johnmarrsauthor.co.uk


Selected Praise for The One

‘A dark thriller for the Valentine's Day skeptic.’ – New York Post

‘Intriguing premise from the always-excellent Marrs…this is gripping from the start and full of surprises, this kept us up long after lights out’ 4**** – Heat Magazine

‘Brilliantly inventive thriller, The One is a must-read for anyone who’s ever braved the dating pool’ – Good Housekeeping

‘A page-turning psychological thriller with a difference, this is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.’ - Irish Examiner

‘I couldn’t put it down.’ - Woman’s Weekly

‘This will have you gripped’ – Woman’s Own


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The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare 

A moving winter diary and an evocative exploration of the seasons that reveals the healing power of the natural world 


The Light in the Dark - A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare
Elliott & Thompson | 1 November 2018 | HB £12.99

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As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough. 

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights. 

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

Talking points

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Redemptive power of walking / watching
  • Family and depression
  • Power of the seasons
  • Winter - the consolations / celebrations / beauty / colour of winter
  • Winter as the best season - revivifying, stripped back, the energising effect of winter
  • Nature in winter
  • Winter food
  • Rural farming

Horatio Clare lives in West Yorkshire.  He is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant, is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children's book.

Horatio Clare is available for interview, features and events. 

Follow Horatio Clare @HoratioClare 


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The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris

October 5th marks one year since the publication of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Since publication last year the book has become ‘a cultural phenomenon’ (The Guardian) and started ‘a revolution’ (Chris Packham) across the country.


The Lost Words
By Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
5 October 2018 | Hamish Hamilton | hardback £20

#TheLostWords

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  • The bestselling poetry book of the last year

  • Crowdfunder campaigns to place copies in every school in (so far) over a dozen English counties and all of Scotland and Wales

  • Inspiring grassroots change in education – thousands of schools across the country are now using the book both indoors and outdoors to encourage children to interact with nature

  • Crowdfunders to get copies into every care home and hospice in Britain

  • Art work to be adapted to decorate hospitals and hospices

  • Art exhibition touring the country with record-breaking visitor numbers

  • Outdoor children’s theatre adaption

  • Day long music festival and album to tour in 2019

  • New audio adaptation

  • The inspiration for writing competitions, nature trails and much more

  • Winner of the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, and nominated for eight national awards

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris is a work full of wildness, beauty and power. This bestselling and award-winning book has become, as the Guardian puts it, ‘a cultural phenomenon’, finding its way into the lives and dreams of hundreds of thousands of people around the world - inspiring hope, wonder and change.

The Lost Words has moved people across the UK to work with charities, book-shops and local communities to raise money to get the book into schools, hospices and care homes. People feel passionately that The Lost Words offers an invaluable opportunity children and young people to connect with the natural world, especially those who might otherwise least have access to nature. The book also provides families and older generations who aren’t engaged with the natural world a new route into this previously unexplored terrain. As it has taken root in Britain’s schools and beyond, so it has re-ignited a passion in children, teachers and parents to explore the natural world, with classes and entire schools venturing out into woods, parks and gardens to discover more about their surroundings, and to re-discover the lost words from the book, and their meaning. Within three months of publication The Lost Words was voted one of Britain’s ten favourite nature books. It is a book that has inspired the nation:

‘What is being given with each copy of the book is, really, hope and change. Jackie and I could never have foreseen it during the years we spent writing it, but The Lost Words has been an acorn from which a wildwood has grown. We feel very lucky to be part of a much broader movement underway in Britain, bringing everyday nature back into our everyday lives, especially those of our children.’ - Robert Macfarlane

Crowdfunding for schools

20 communities have successfully set up crowdfunding campaigns to get copies of the book into schools with many more organised and planned.

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Areas include: all of Scotland (where Jane Beaton raised £25,000 to get a copy of the book to all 2,681 schools in Scotland); all of Wales (#acornistowood), and English counties including Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, with campaigns soon to launch for Devon, Cheshire and Kent.

Copies of the book are being delivered to schools by bicycle (one man cycling 400 miles back and forth across Dorset), by sea kayak to outlying island schools, or in the company of barn and tawny owls (brought into schools by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust)

London is the latest to launch, coordinated by charity Trees for Cities in collaboration with the Mayor of London to raise money to get 2,000 copies into London primary schools

Thousands of schools in the country are now using the book in their classrooms and playgrounds, sparking classes to do more outdoor learning, to improve the environments of their schools, and to undertake creative projects around nearby nature and its names. Examples of some of the extraordinary work are available here

Crowdfunding for care homes and hospices

Carers are using The Lost Words to combat loneliness and isolation in diverse vulnerable groups – carers share the book with older people, people with Dementia and people at the end of life.

Earth Science Partnership in Wales successfully raised money to put a copy of The Lost Words into each of the 101 publicly managed care homes in Wales #rockistomountain

A crowdfunder is about to launch to get copies into every hospice in the UK for carers to use with patients at the end of life.

Inspiring theatre, music, art, nature trails, writing…

Interactive outdoor children’s theatre show Seek Find Speak, based on The Lost Words, premiered at Timber Festival and is touring the country, part-funded by Arts Council England

Musical project Spell Songs commissioned by Folk by the Oak brings together eight musicians including Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart and Kerry Andrew to create a new body of work inspired by The Lost Words. The performance will tour in 2019 in venues including Snape Maltings and The Royal Festival Hall, and an album will be released.

The National Trust property Bodnant Garden in Wales created a ‘Lost Words trail’ which attracted over 7000 visitors, (c. 3500 of them children)

The Lost Words Exhibition launched at Compton Verney Art Gallery and is touring galleries around the country (including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where visitor numbers exceeded 32,000 – 3 times as many as any previous exhibition there; and the Foundling Museum London, where it had nearly 13,000 visitors). The exhibition will move to Nymans, West Sussex in January.

National Poetry Day (October 4th) are about to launch a competition through schools for children to write their own poetry inspired by the book. Numerous other writing competitions have taken place across the country, including the University of East Anglia’s Festival of Literature for Young People

Around the World

The Lost Words has been published in North America and Canada, and will be published in European countries including Sweden, Germany and Holland.

New audio edition to be released on October 18th 2018

The audiobook is narrated by Benjamin Zephaniah, Edith Bowman, Guy Garvey and Cerys Matthews, with a new introduction written and read by Robert Macfarlane. All are iconic voices of modern Britain and bring the magic of both nature and language to listeners.

Alongside these voices, Penguin Audio has commissioned a soundscape created by renowned natural-history field recordist Chris Watson, which evokes Jackie Morris’ stunning artwork and draws listeners deep into the living world. Wren’s songs, raven’s calls, rain falling onto ferns and willow trees blowing in the wind: together, the soundscape and the spoken spells conjure the wonder and variety of nature and place.

Awards

  • Winner of Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, alongside The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

  • Winner of the Beautiful Book Award at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 

  • Winner of the Hay Festival Book of the Year 2017

  • The first children’s book to be shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writing.

  • Shortlisted for the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018: Country Book of the Year

  • Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2017

  • Shortlisted for the UK’s Favourite Nature Book

The research on why The Lost Words movement is crucial

  • The RSPB’s 2013 Connecting with Nature report, based on a three-year research project, found only one in five British children to be “positively connected to nature”.

  • A 2017 report found that British children spend less time outside each day than British prisoners (under an hour).

  • In a National Trust survey, only a third of children aged 8-11 could identify a magpie, though 9 out of 10 could name a Dalek.

  • The 2016 State of Nature report found Britain to be “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”, with 53% of British species in decline.

Further information

An extract from a short film that Robert and Jackie made for BBC’s Newsnight, introducing the issues around nature-deficit and nature disconnection, and the book’s work in this area, can be viewed here.

It was Newsnight’s most popular film on social media from November to January, viewed more than 2.5 million times.

The inspiration behind the book

When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary – widely used in primary schools across Britain – was published, a sharp-eyed reader noticed that a number of common ‘nature words’ had been dropped from the new edition. The deletions formed a crooked almost A-to-Z, and they included acorn, adder, bluebell, buttercup, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher – kingfisher! – lark, newt, otter, wren and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail.

These nature words had been dropped from the dictionary because they were no longer being used enough by children; were no longer judged to be alive enough in their voices, stories and in the books they read to merit inclusion in the dictionary. This was not the dictionary’s fault – it was the country’s. For many people, it seemed a powerful signal of the gap that has opened between childhood and the natural world in Britain and beyond; indeed, between everyday life and everyday nature up and down the ages.

In 2015 the writer Robert Macfarlane and the artist Jackie Morris began work on a book that might summon back these ‘lost words’, and the creatures and plants they named, into the mouths and the minds of children in Britain. “Protest can be beautiful”, Jackie Morris has written, and the hope of The Lost Words was to make a ‘spell book’ of power and beauty that could protest the gap between nature and childhood, and perhaps even work to close it.

Taking the form of twenty ‘lost’ words, collected alphabetically from ‘Acorn’ to ‘Wren’ each word becomes a spell - written by Macfarlane - which is intended to be read aloud. The images Morris painted capture first the absence of the plant or creature within its habitat and then its return. The spell summons the image and the word back into being, making this a book of enchantment in more than one sense.


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For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Under the Wig by William Clegg QC

Leading murder lawyer, William Clegg QC, reveals tricks of the trade and provides an inside account of top criminal trials.

‘This is a gripping memoir from one of our country's greatest jury advocates, offering a fascinating, no-holds-barred tour behind the scenes of some of the most famous criminal cases of modern times.’ - The Secret Barrister

‘Clegg deftly weaves memorable criminal prosecutions into an unforgettable legal memoir.’ - Joshua Rosenberg


Under the Wig - A Lawyer’s Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence
By William Clegg QC

Canbury Press | 4 October 2018 | £16.99 | hardback

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How can you speak up for someone accused of a savage murder? How do you sway a jury? Or get a judge to drop a case?

Meet London’s top murder case lawyer as he meets clients in prisons, confronts witnesses in packed courts and frees innocent people jailed for decades.

In a vivid memoir, William Clegg QC revisits his most notorious and intriguing trials, from the acquittal of Colin Stagg to the murder of Jill Dando, and from Britain’s first Nazi war criminal to the man given life because of an earprint.

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the nervous moments before a verdict — and how our right to a fair trial is now in great peril. Switch off the TV dramas and plunge into the criminal law in action.

Well-known cases featured:

  • Colin Stagg’s trial for The Wimbledon Common Murder
  • The Chillenden Murders (Dr Lin and Megan Russell)
  • The Earprint Murder
  • The Murder of Jill Dando
  • Rebekah Brooks’s Phone Hacking Trial
  • Representing the deranged serial killer Robert Napper (who murdered Rachel Nickel and Samantha Bisset)
  • Fighting for Private Lee Clegg in Northern Ireland 
  • The trial of the man accused of Joanna Yeates’s murder 
  • Defending Britain’s first ‘Nazi war criminal’

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William Clegg, QC, is one of the most celebrated advocates at the English bar. A barrister for 47 years, he has been the go-to lawyer for complex murder and fraud cases for decades and has fought over 100 murder cases. He is head of chambers at 2 Bedford Row, one of the four leading criminal sets in London.

Clegg also argues:

  • Innocent people will be jailed for murder because of Legal Aid cuts
  • Wearing of wigs in court should be stopped
  • There are many cases of police incompetence – as seen in the Rachel Nickel case

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For more information about this book, please don't hesitate to get in touch.