Fresh Talent Spring 2017

Fresh Talent Spring 2017

The Bricks that Built the Houses – Kate Tempest

Award-winning poet and rapper Kate Tempest’s electrifying debut novel takes us into the beating heart of the capital in this multi-generational tale of drugs, desire and belonging. Young Londoners Becky, Harry and Leon are leaving town in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. They are running from jealous boyfriends, dead-end jobs, violent maniacs and disgruntled drug dealers, in the hope of escaping the restless tedium of life in south-east London – the place they have always called home. As the story moves back in time, to before they had to leave, we see them torn between confidence and self-loathing, between loneliness and desire, between desperate ambition and the terrifying prospect of getting nothing done. In The Bricks that Built The Houses Kate Tempest explores contemporary city life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us irresistible stories of hidden lives, and showing us how the best intentions don’t always lead to the right decisions.

Kate Tempest was born in London in 1985. She is an award-winning poet and playwright. This is her first novel.

Because I Was Lonely – Hayley Mitchell

Because I Was Lonely follows four lonely people, in two unhappy marriages, and maps the dangerous consequences that can occur when people reconnect online. Meet Rachel. She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity – and the safety of her children. She’s lonely. Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house. He’s lonely. So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them. Four lonely people. Two unhappy marriages. One dangerous, but inevitable climax.

Hayley Mitchell has always been fascinated by people and their relationships. She lives in Wiltshire. This is her first novel.

Tuesday Nights in 1980 – Molly Prentiss

One town. Three people. A single year that will change them all forever. Welcome to the chaotic, seductive, unpredictable world of 1980s, downtown New York Raul is an Argentinian painter, fresh on New York’s downtown scene, about to explode into fame. James is the city’s most notorious critic, known for his unique synaesthesia, his mind ablaze with fireworks and symphonies. And Lucy is just another young girl who escaped suburbia, all too easily dazzled by the brilliant strangers who cross her path. Exploding with colour and raw energy, this electrifying debut captures the spirit of a New York now long gone, a place of creation and destruction and endless possibility.

Molly Prentiss grew up in a commune in Santa Cruz, California and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Sleeping Giants – Sylvian Neuvel

Deadwood, USA. A girl sneaks out just before dark to ride her new bike. Suddenly, the ground disappears beneath her. Waking up at the bottom of a deep pit, she sees an emergency rescue team above her. The people looking down see something far stranger…”We always look forward. We never look back.” That girl grows up to be Dr. Rose Franklyn, a brilliant scientist and the leading world expert on what she discovered. An enormous, ornate hand made of an exceptionally rare metal, which predates all human civilisation on the continent. “But this thing …it’s different. It challenges us. It rewrites history.” An object whose origins and purpose are perhaps the greatest mystery humanity has ever faced. Solving the secret of where it came from – and how many more parts may be out there – could change life as we know it.

Sylvain Neuvel was born in Quebec. This is his debut novel and the first of the ‘Themis Files’ series.

Six Stories – Matt Wesolowski

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

Matt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. An English tutor, he also leads The Cuckoo Young Writers workshops.

What Belongs to You – Garth Greenwell

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, their relationship growing increasingly intimate and unnerving. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he’s forced to grapple with his own fraught history: his formative experiences of love, his painful rejection by family and friends, and the difficulty of growing up as a gay man in southern America in the 1990s. Startlingly erotic and immensely powerful, What Belongs to You tells an unforgettable story about the ways our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

Garth Greenwell is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Everyone is Watching – Megan Bradbury

New York: A city that inspires. A city that draws people in. A city where everyone is watching, waiting to see what will happen next. 1967. Robert Mapplethorpe knows he is an artist. From his childhood home in Queens he yearns for the heat and excitement of the city, the press of other people’s bodies. He wants to be watched, he wants to be known. 1891. Walt Whitman has already found fame, and has settled into his own sort of old age. Still childlike, still passionate, he travels with his friend and biographer Bucke to the city he has always adored, the scene of his greatest triumphs and rejections. 1922. Robert Moses is a man with a vision. Standing on the edge of Long Island he knows what it could become. Walking down a street in Brooklyn he sees its future. He is the man who will build modern New York. 2013. Edmund White is back in New York. It’s the city of his youth, of his life and loves. He remembers days of lazy pleasure, nights of ecstasy and euphoria. But years have gone by since then. Everyone is Watching is a novel about the men and women who have defined New York. Through the lives and perspectives of these great creators, artists and thinkers, and through other iconic works of art that capture its essence, New York itself solidifies. Complex, rich, sordid, tantalizing, it is constantly changing and evolving. Both intimate and epic in its sweep, Everyone is Watching is a love letter to New York and its people – past, present and future.

Megan Bradbury was born in the United States and grew up in Britain.

The Lonely City – Olivia Laing

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art.

Moving fluidly between the works and lives of some of the city’s most compelling artists, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

Olivia Laing lives in Cambridge and is a widely acclaimed writer and critic. The Lonely City has been shortlisted for the 2016 Gordon Burn Prize.

Scatterwood – Piers Alexander

Jamaica, March 1692. Calumny Spinks is forced to spy for the Crown and help prevent an invasion of England. He’s sent to the Caribbean to pose as an indentured servant, but his best friend Ty brands him with the mark of a runaway and sells him to a brutal plantation overseer.

To win his family’s freedom, Cal must kill Lord Montalbion, the most powerful man in the Caribbean. He forges an alliance with the Maroons, escaped slaves whose plans for Cal could ruin everything – and meanwhile, a bloody civil war looms.

Piers Alexander was born in Sussex and brought up in Luxembourg.

The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies. Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back. She is a Roanoke girl. Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

Amy Engel lives in Missouri and has written books for young adults before. This is her first novel for adults.

Good Guy – Susan Beale

A deeply compelling novel set in 1960s suburban America for fans of The Engagements and Tigers in Red Weather. Ted, a car-tyre salesman in 1960s suburban New England, is a dreamer who craves admiration. His wife, Abigail, longs for a life of the mind. Single-girl Penny just wants to be loved. When a chance encounter brings Ted and Penny together, he becomes enamoured and begins inventing a whole new life with her at its centre. But when this fantasy collides with reality, the fallout threatens everything, and everyone, he holds dear. The Good Guy is a deeply compelling debut about love, marriage and what happens when good intentions and self-deception are taken to extremes.

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016. Susan Beale was brought up on Cape Cod and now lives in the UK.

Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin

Duffy has already checked out. Trapped between Skintown’s narrow horizons, he chops ribs and chickens in a takeaway, dreaming of escape, joint after freshly rolled joint. A mindless act of kindness leads to the unlikeliest of business opportunities. Where the government has failed, might the second summer of love and a little pill with a dove on it be the broom to sweep away the hatred and replace it with love, so much love? Skintown is Vinny’s drink- and drug-fuelled odyssey through fighting, fishing, rioting, romance, reconciliation and acid house. Bristling with a restless energy and drunk on black humour, this superb debut is a wild ride.

Ciaran McMenamin is a Northern Irish actor who has appeared widely in film and television. He lives in London and this is his first novel.