issue #5 * 21st May 2021

In the last couple of weeks at David Higham Associates, we…


Val McDermid on being longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award for Still Life.

Marlowe Granados, whose debut novel, Happy Hour, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Jonathan Gibbs on being longlisted for the Sunday Times/Audible Short Story Award, for A Prolonged Kiss. The shortlist is announced on 6th June and the winner on 8th July.

Maz Evans on the publication of the first book in her brand-new series, The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife,  published by Hodder Children’s Books on May 13th.

Several of our authors on being shortlisted for the CWA Daggers:

Catherine Ryan Howard’s The Nothing Man for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; S W Kane’s debut The Bone Jar for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger; Nick HayesThe Book of Trespass for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and Peter May for the Dagger in the Library


Carolyn Woods’ jaw-dropping memoir Sleeping With a Psychopath hitting the Sunday Times Top 10 non-fiction paperback list after only three days of sales.

The publication of two non-fiction works by award-winning poets:

Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller. Granta published a superbly crafted essay from the collectionMr Brown, Mrs White and Ms Black, and Kei has been interviewed widely on the radio including Radio 3’s The Verb, and an excellent discussion of the essay form—“exploring the thought without hiding”—with Rachel Kushner on Radio 4’s Front Row.

Not Even This: Poetry, parenthood and living uncertainly by Jack Underwood which was reviewed thoughtfully by Houman Barekat in the Guardian: “[Underwood] is a lucid and engaging companion. The voice that comes through in these pages is immensely likable – humble, conscientious and emotionally intelligent.” Granta published a moving and idiosyncratic extract,A Song About Singularities’, ft. poetry and black holes: “On the whole, most people understand that the value of a poem comes largely out of an acceptance of its singularity, an acceptance of its uncertain value, which does not, after all, prohibit you from enjoying the feeling of being drawn into it, the pull of its gravity. The aftermath of a good poem is not unlike the physicist’s infinity outcome: a monstrosity according to the standard rules and definitions… and yet, there it is, churning away in space, a small, massive song. Such an outcome is not an intellectual or emotional impasse, but a dynamic form of obscurity, to be gnawed upon indefinitely.”

The publication of two of Jeremy Strong’s fantastic children’s books: Armadillo and Hare and the Very Noisy Bear in paperback and Armadillo and Hare and the Flamingo Affair in hardback and audiobook.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake, winning the 2021 Annual Literature Award from The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries in America. It was also shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers Award and the British Book Awards. 

The publication of Jane Rogoyska’s brilliant exploration of one of the most enduring mysteries of the Second World War. Garlanded with pre-publication praise from Daniel Finkelstein, Serhii Plokhy and Adam Zamoyski, Surviving Katyń: Stalin’s Polish Massacre and the Search for Truth is published by Oneworld.


An extraordinary review in the Irish Times which described the recently published debut novel, The Coming Bad Days, by Sarah Bernstein as: “a startling and inventive piece of work about the absurdity and difficulty of being alive….What marks this debut out is the quality of the writing, a searing style that vividly portrays the experiences of a troubled woman. The clinical voice of the unnamed narrator is balanced with stylish prose – lucid, propulsive writing that is exquisitely crafted. Although this book deals with 21st-century preoccupations, the level of craft and formal tone hark to an earlier era. There is a Jamesian quality to the prose.”

The cover for Of This Our Country, a collection of personal stories and reflections of Nigeria, featuring an essay by Irenosen Okojie. Do take a look and listen!

Made deals for…

Jon Wilson’s provocative new history of the heyday of the nation-state, Out of Chaos – to Clive Priddle at Public Affairs in the US and Matthew Cotton at OUP in the UK.

Carolyn Woods, with Luebbe acquiring German language rights for her gripping and enthralling new book Sleeping With a Psychopath. 

Ben Myers’ remarkable work of historical fiction, The Gallows Pole, has been commissioned for series at BBC and is to be adapted by This Is England’s Shane Meadows and Element Pictures (Normal People, Ripper Street, Dublin Murders). Forensically assembled from historical accounts, The Gallows Pole fictionalises the incredible true story of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners as they raise a criminal enterprise in eighteenth century Yorkshire.

In an article in Screen Daily, Shane Meadows said: “Gallows Pole is an incredible true story, little known outside of Yorkshire, about a group of very naughty men and women who started clipping and counterfeiting coins out in the Moors, as a way to keep themselves and their community alive. I’ve never made a period drama before so I’m absolutely buzzing, and to be doing it with Piers at the BBC, his incredible team, and Element Pictures is nothing short of an honour.”

Originally published in 2017 by Bluemoose, The Gallows Pole was released to rave reviews, and went on to win the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. The Gallows Pole will be produced by Element Pictures and executive produced by Piers Wenger and Tom Lazenby for the BBC. The deal was brokered by Clare Israel on behalf of Jessica Woollard at David Higham Associates.


Granta’s aquisition of UK and Commonwealth rights to Hannah Stowe’s Move Like Water, a beguiling and beautiful work of non-fiction about our human relationship with the sea and the creatures who inhabit it. Stowe is a marine biologist, sailor and artist and this book draws on her research at sea as well as her experience of sailing through some of the planet’s most varied waters. The book is underpinned by a powerful environmental message, but Stowe’s argument is made through the stories she tells – about swimming with her mother as a child, about listening to whale song, about being at sea at night.  

Laura Barber at Granta commented: ‘This heartfelt hymn to the sea promises to be an unforgettable introduction to one of the most gifted nature writers of the new generation.

The audio publication of Stephen Fry’s Making History and its paperback reissue.

Lee Walters’ new sci-fi mystery drama series Silverpoint, for CBBC. The show begins filming in Northern Ireland in June and follows four children at a summer camp who all swear to secrecy over a mysterious object they find in the woods, fearing nobody will believe them.

The Unholy, which is based on James Herbert’s seminal book Shrine, was released in UK cinemas on 17th May and is due to be released on 2nd April in the US. It’s directed by Evan Spiliotopoulos and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead). The film has come in at No. 5 in the UK box office! You can watch the trailer here:

Looked forward to… 

Stanley Donwood’s exhibition at Jealous East  – Uncanny Scenery of a Dream –  the work he made for a collection of Thomas Hardy poetry selected and introduced by Robert Macfarlane

World Productions’ adaptation of Val McDermid’s Karen Pirie series for ITV. Filming started this week in Scotland and Outlander star Lauren Lyle will take the lead role of Karen Pirie. 

The National Theatre’s production of Under Milkwood in the Olivier Theatre, starring Michael Sheen, Karl Johnson and Sian Philips and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Opening performance will be 16th June, running until 27th July. 

Dr Clarke’s famous quote on the future of technology – “trying to predict the future is a discouraging and hazardous occupation…” – will be used as a voice over in the upcoming Formula E advert. 

We hope you enjoyed our latest news round-up. Happy reading, keep watching,


Published by wordsandpictures

The weekly newsletter from David Higham Associates

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: