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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

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


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


  • 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


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.


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