issue #12 – 17th September 2021

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


The cast for Ben Myers’ The Gallows Pole adaption from Shane Meadows, an adaptation of the Bluemoose 2017 novel in a deal brokered by DHA’s Clare Israel. Michael Socha (This is England, Papillon), Sophie McShera (Cinderella) Anthony Welsh (Master of None) and George MacKay (1917, Captain Fantastic) are all set to star in Shane Meadows’ BBC adaption.

Based on the novel of the same name, the series tells the true story of David Hartley (played by Socha) and the Cragg Vale Coiners who, against a backdrop of eighteenth century Yorkshire, embark on the biggest fraud in British history.

Sarah Vaughan’s international deal with Simon & Schuster for Reputation, due to be published in the UK in March 2022. Author of the bestselling novel Anatomy of a Scandal, Sarah’s upcoming political thriller is a suspenseful mystery perfectly positioned for readers who are curious about what it means to be a woman in the world today.

Nikita Gill’s The Girl And The Goddess has been optioned for TV by Lena Headey and Boat Rocker Studios. Nikita will exec produce the series alongside Headey and Tina Thor at Peephole, and Katie O’Connell Marsh and Nick Nantell at Boat Rocker.

“I’ve long been in love with Nikita’s words, The Girl and the Goddess is a tale that just begs to be seen and celebrated,” said Headey. “I’m so excited that we now get to tell this story.”

“I’m delighted to be working with Lena, Peephole and Boat Rocker to bring my deeply personal tale The Girl and the Goddess to life,” said Nikita. “They’re an absolute dream team.”

The Girl And The Goddess was published by Ebury on National Poetry Day 2020. The deal was brokered by Penelope Killick on behalf of Nicola Chang at David Higham Associates.


The phenomenal success of Paula Hawkins’ thriller A Slow Fire Burning which scorched its way to No.1 in the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller lists last week and remains in the top 3 this weekend…

‘Fast-paced, highly charged and carried off with so much confidence.. it is impossible to resist’ – Sunday Times

…with Jay Kristoff on reaching Number 2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list with the first in his new series, Empire of the Vampire. Robin Hobb has described it as: ‘A chilling new take on vampire lore and those who must battle that darkness. Empire of The Vampire looks fearlessly at how ruthless Good must become when confronted with unrelenting Evil’.

Kei Miller’s Things I Have Withheld being longlisted for the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize.

Charity Norman and The Secrets of Strangers which has been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Best Novel Award 2021.

The publication of Carnegie Medal-winner Geraldine McCaughrean’s adaption of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale The Secret Garden in a magical picture book form. Beautifully illustrated by Margarita Kukhtina and published by Nosy Crow, this is sure to become a beloved bedtime ready for children and the adults in their life!

Nicola Davies’ inclusion in The Bookseller’s new ‘Discover Preview’ section, which aims to showcase titles from small presses and underrepresented authors. Nicola’s upcoming poetry collection with Graffeg, This Is How The Change Begins is described by The Bookseller: ‘…these poems skilfully confront the recognisable realities of the climate crisis’.

The publication of zoologist Dr Nick Crumpton’s new must-read Everything You Know About Dinosaurs is Wrong! Debunking dino-themed myths left, right and centre, this funny and informative new picture book, published by Nosy Crow, is illustrated by Gavin Scott and is out this Thursday! Click here to see a preview.

The first reviews of FT  journalist Sebastian Payne’s Broken Heartlands. It was the Observer’s Book of the Week, and received a rave review: ‘Labour’s crisis in the red wall, and the party’s attempts to resolve it, will shape the future of English politics. This engrossing, warm and insightful work is an indispensable guide to how it came about.’

It also garnered high praise in the Sunday Times review: ‘Compelling, authoritative but human… The book will inevitably become an important resource for historians… impressive and entertaining.’

The book made front-page news in The Times which also featured a double-page serialised extract. Broken Heartlands was published by Pan Macmillan on Thursday 16th September.

The recent publication of Adele Nozedar’s The Tree Forager. Aimed at tree lovers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated handbook is the first guide to foraging specifically from trees, looking at all the incredible things we can get and make from them, from food and remedies to toys, whistles and ink.

The paperback publication of Sigrid Nunez’s What Are You Going Through. An unexpectedly life-affirming novel about choosing to die by National Book Award winner and bestselling author of The Friend. “Love, death, friendship, compassion & SO MUCH wisdom. I just adore Sigrid Nunez” – Paula Hawkins

The publication of Jacqueline Wilson’s new children’s book The Primrose Railway Children. Inspired by E. Nesbit’s timeless classic, this heart-warming story follows Phoebe, her mother and her siblings who must adjust to a new life after the beloved father of the family suddenly disappears. Jacqueline was on BBC Breakfast on Saturday 11th September to speak more about her books and is travelling to bookshops and theatres to do some in-person events – you can book tickets here.

The book birthday of the wonderful new spooky tale, Rules For Vampires, by Alex Foulkes and illustrated by Sarah Ogilvie. This is Alex’s debut novel and is set to be a fantastic series with Simon & Schuster, featuring Leo and her very unusual family. Fans of Lemony Snickett and Skulduggery Pleasant will devour for breakfast.

The publication of Generations by Bobby Duffy– a brilliant sequel/companion volume to his much-praised debut The Perils of Perception. A fascinating deep-data dive, Generations seeks to answer the question in its subtitle: Does when you’re born shape who you are?

And the publication of 100 Poets: A Little Anthology by John Carey – the follow-up to his Top 10 bestseller A Little History of Poetry.


Merlin Sheldrake on winning the Wainwright’s Global Climate Change and Conservation Prize with Entangled Life, and entering the Sunday Times bestseller chart for paperback non-fiction at No. 2. Vintage has produced a special edition with jewel like coloured papers.

Santanu Bhattacharya on being shortlisted for Hachette’s Mo Siewcharran Prize 2021 for an early extract from his debut novel He Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  

Cressida Cowell, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, on opening the sixth and final library in her Life Changing Libraries Project with Book Trust. The library is in Skerne Park Academy, Darlington and was the last to open as part of the campaign which ‘calls for the government to fund primary school libraries so that millions of children, particularly those from the poorest communities, don’t miss out on the opportunity to read for pleasure and all the vital benefits this chance brings’.

Both Tim Harper for his book Underground Asia and his Cambridge University colleague, Sujit Sivasundaram, for his book Waves Across the South, on making the fourteen-strong longlist of the 2021 Cundill History Prize – at $75,000 the richest award for non-fiction in publishing. The shortlist is announced on the 23rd September.

Waves Across the South has also been shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding. Congratulations, Sujit!

Made deals for…

James Patterson’s debut poetry collection bandit country which was acquired by Picador in a four-way auction. James is also editor of the forthcoming The New Frontier which will be published by New Island Books on 22 October.

Anna Metcalfe’s debut novel Chrysalis which Granta Books acquired in a five-way auction.


This exciting cover reveal for Lucy Diamond’s latest novel, Anything Could Happen (Quercus) due for publication in ebook this December and hardback next January.

‘Tender, bittersweet and funny . . . A truly touching love story for our times’ – Veronica Henry

‘A star-crossed lovers story with so much heart and humour’ – Fiona Palmer

The dazzling press on publication of Marlowe Granados’ Happy Hour — from the New York Times calling it ‘a testament to the power of charm on the page’ and Alexandra Kleeman dreaming a whole new genre for it, The Nightlife Novel, to a suitably glamorous profile in NY Magazine.

Listened to…

Elizabeth Day’s ‘How to Fail’ podcast with bestselling children’s author Jacqueline Wilson. Jacqueline talks about ‘her failure to do anything practical in an age of technology, as an actress (even when her co-star is a cat) and her failure to ’keep healthy’, instead choosing to power on through. Along the way we chat about line-dancing, finding yourself in your 50s, childhood and how many rings she actually owns (a lot, it turns out)’.

Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin’s ‘Double Booked’ podcast, with Episode 2 featuring our very own Jonathan Stroud, writer of Lockwood & Co and the Bartimaeus series. Episode 3 is out on Thursday and will also star our wonderful author, Jenny Valentine, whose titles include Finding Violet Park and the A Girl Called Joy series.

Looked forward to…

The Hay Festival’s free Winter Weekend program for schools. Children’s author Nicola Davies will be speaking about her upcoming release The Song That Sings Us, published by Firefly Press, on Thursday 25th November at 1pm.  

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


Published by wordsandpictures

The weekly newsletter from David Higham Associates

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