Edward Wilson Lee’s acclaimed exploration of the influence in Africa of Shakespeare the global poet has won praise across the Atlantic and the beautiful US hardback edition is available from Farrar Straus and Giroux now. William Collins published in the UK in March 2016, and German rights are sold to btb.

In the US, Kirkus Reviews wrote that ‘Wilson-Lee enjoyably melds memoir, history, and literary travelogue to reveal the surprising hold that Shakespeare continues to have on a culture remote from his own’ and Publishers Weekly said ‘Wilson-Lee draws a rich portrait of a region of Africa in which Shakespeare was familiar, adored, and widely performed with numerous local embellishments’, describing it as ‘acrobatic in style and impressive in scholarship.’

This surprising and intriguing literary history of Shakespeare's influence in East Africa sprang from Cambridge academic Edward Wilson-Lee’s own roots in Kenya. Beginning with Victorian-era expeditions in which Shakespeare's works were the sole reading material carried into the interior, the Bard has been a vital touchstone throughout the region. His plays were printed by liberated slaves as one of the first texts in Swahili, performed by Indian labourers while they built the Uganda railroad, used to argue for native rights, and translated by intellectuals, revolutionaries, and independence leaders.

Weaving together stories of explorers staggering through Africa's interior, eccentrics living out their dreams on the savanna, decadent émigrés, Cold War intrigues, and even Che Guevara, Edward Wilson-Lee tallies Shakespeare's influence in Zanzibar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Travelling through these countries, he speaks with everyone from theatre directors and academics to soldiers and aid workers, discovering not only cultural dimensions traceable to Shakespeare's plays but also an overwhelming insistence that these works provide a key insight into the region.

An astonishing work of empathy and historical vision, SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND gets at the heart of what makes Shakespeare so universal and the role that his writings have played in thinking about what it means to be human.

Edward Wilson-Lee in Foreign Affairs on ‘Africa’s Theatre of War: Shakespeare and Nation-Building on the Continent’

Read Edward Wilson-Lee on other poets, Auden and Eliot, and how that led him to writing.

In this series of clips Edward considers questions like “What would the world be like without Shakespeare?” and  why Antony & Cleopatra is (currently) his favourite Shakespeare play

Edward Wilson-Lee was raised in Kenya by conservationist parents, studied English at University College London, and completed a doctorate at Oxford and Cambridge. Over the past few years he has spent extended periods in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. He now lives in Cambridge with his wife and son, and teaches Shakespeare at Sidney Sussex College. SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND is his first book and a second title is under contract to William Collins.


‘There is no better time to recommend SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND: IN SEARCH OF A GLOBAL POET. A lecturer at Cambridge, Wilson-Lee was born on the African continent and spent his formative years in Kenya. This book evinces a remarkable familiarity with Africa, filtered through the lens of that most-English poet and playwright. Tracing the history of Shakespeare’s impact on Africa—from Victorian settlers to modern independence movements—Wilson-Lee shows the Bard to be a man for all continents.’ — The New Criterion

‘Edward Wilson-Lee . . . has successfully told a lesser-known story of Africa, and it is a story worth knowing.’ —The Economist

‘A fascinating book—part travelogue, part cultural history . . . Wilson-Lee proves a perceptive and entertaining guide to the Bard's influence in Swahililand.’ —Andrew Lycett, Literary Review

‘Wilson-Lee’s account of his East African Shakespeare-hunt is vivid and full of insights.’ —Daniel Hahn, The Independent

'SHAKESPEARE IN SWAHILILAND is an enjoyable story full of history and valuable insight into the work of England’s preeminent playwright and poet, told by a man whose prose is so well crafted that the reader will feel as if he/she was on the road with Edward Wilson-Lee while he was doing his research.' - The Roanoke Times

Sarah Franklin’s stunning debut SHELTER to be published by Bonnier Zaffre

SHELTER, the sparkling debut novel by Sarah Franklin, a two-time judge of the Costa Short Story Award and host of Short Stories Aloud, is to be published in June 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre. Publishing Director Eleanor Dryden snapped up the fantastic first novel, at auction, in a two-book deal.

SHELTER is a unique and engrossing tale of transformed lives in difficult times: it’s 1944, and Connie runs to the Forest of Dean to work as a lumberjill after her family home is blitzed and she must survive alone, hiding a huge secret. She meets Italian P.O.W., Seppe, and Amos, who has never left the forest but is mourning his son who has. These three compelling characters weave a special bond in extraordinary and testing circumstances and create a new family for Connie, but when her secret is revealed she must decide whether to stay or run - and who to leave behind. 

Eleanor said: ‘I am so, so thrilled to be publishing Sarah Franklin. I fell for SHELTER completely. Sarah’s characterisation is exquisite, and she delivers delightful and thought-provoking surprises at every turn. I could feel the forest living and breathing around me as I was engrossed in the stories of Connie and Italian POW Seppe. Connie is refreshing, appealing and delightfully flawed – I was rooting for her from the first page and she’s still with me. This is a female story that needs to be told and I remember so clearly how affected I felt when I finished it for the first time and desperately needed to talk to someone about it.’

Juliet Pickering said: ‘Having known Sarah as a wonderful champion of stories over the last few years, I was so happy when she wrote an incredible debut novel! Connie’s voice is bold yet vulnerable; she’s a wonderfully unpredictable character in a rich setting, and the repercussions of her decisions are heart-breaking. Everyone will be talking about SHELTER next summer, and I can’t wait.’ 

SHELTER will also be available in audio in summer 2017, published by Isis Publishing.  

About Sarah Franklin

Sarah Franklin grew up in rural Gloucestershire. She has written for The Guardian, Psychologies magazine, The Pool, the Sunday Express and the Seattle Times. Her creative non-fiction has been published in anthologies in the USA and appeared on radio affiliates there. Sarah is also the founder and host of popular Oxford literary night Short Stories Aloud.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahEFranklin

Orenda Books signs an EXQUISITE psychological thriller

Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, is delighted to announce the acquisition of World English Language Rights for Sarah Stovell’s debut thriller EXQUISITE in a two-book deal negotiated with Hattie Grünewald at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency.

Karen says, ‘Hattie pitched this book to me at the London Book Fair earlier this year, and I was immediately intrigued; in fact, it’s possibly the first submission that I’ve ever “chased”. This is a sophisticated, exceptionally well-written, dark and twisty psychological thriller that revolves around the intense, sinister relationship that develops between two women: one an aspiring young writer who is drifting through her life, with a dead-end job and a freeloading boyfriend, and the other a successful author living an apparently idyllic life in the Lake District with her husband, children, and a clutch of bestselling books. Driven by a dual first-person narrative, EXQUISITE is a breathlessly pacy, relevant and original thriller, with a genuinely astonishing twist that will have readers flipping back the pages to see what they’ve missed. Beautiful prose, superb characterisation, atmospheric descriptions of the Cumbrian setting and an outstanding plot make EXQUISITE, quite simply, everything that its name suggests. It’s a perfect fit for the growing Orenda list and I am very excited to welcome Sarah to the team.’

Hattie says, ‘I’m thrilled that Sarah Stovell’s intense and captivating thriller has found a home at Orenda. I’m sure that with Karen’s help this will be a book on everyone’s 2017 wishlist!’

Sarah says, ‘I am delighted to be working with Karen on EXQUISITE and my next thriller. She's a great editor with a fantastic group of authors, and I feel really hopeful about our future together.’

EXQUISITE will be published in June 2017. For more information, please contact

Pan Macmillan acquires memoir of coercive abuse by Helen Walmsley-Johnson, acclaimed Guardian commentator and author of The Invisible Woman

‘Not all abusive relationships can be measured in broken bones and bruises. Not all abusive relationships are visible to the untrained eye.’ - Helen Walmsley-Johnson

For more than a year, the unfolding story of Helen Titchener has gripped the residents of Ambridge and, via Radio 4’s long-running drama The Archers, the nation.  Now, found not guilty, freed from prison and with her children at last restored to her, Helen is free to get on with her life.   But her abusive husband Rob is still in Ambridge and the story is not yet over.

As the story developed, one listener shuddered as what was happening to the fictional Helen brought back painful memories of what she herself had gone through.  Not once, but twice.  When Helen Walmsley-Johnson published a remarkably frank piece about her experiences as a victim of abuse in the New Statesman, she received an overwhelming response.  Since then, Helen has been an active presence in the media as a commentator on coercive abuse.  In her as yet untitled memoir, Helen will describe with typically clear-sighted candour how very easy it is to succumb to this form of domestic abuse, but – more importantly – how to survive it and rebuild your life.

Non-Fiction Editorial Director Georgina Morley said, ‘I am thrilled to be publishing Helen.  We first met on Twitter, where her bracing tweetalong to the Archers omnibus has won her countless friends and fans.  Now, she tells her own story – and the story of so many women who have suffered from abusive partners.  Her book will find a wide readership and will, I have no doubt, help many women find the courage to tell their stories and to seek help.’

Helen Walmsley-Johnson said, ‘I hadn’t been able to give a name to my experiences until I read the Home Office list of typical behaviour in a coercive relationship; I read it because of Helen’s story in The Archers, and it rang a number of bells for me personally. I have to thank the women (and men) who got in touch after I wrote that first piece back in February, for starting me on the path to this book: I will endeavour to be as ‘bracing’ as my Twitter feed in seeing it through to completion under expert eye of George Morley and Pan Macmillan, and am delighted to be able to keep this important conversation going.’

Macmillan acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann and will publish in early 2018.

For further information please contact Sarah Patel in the Pan Macmillan press office on 020 7014 6187 or email

About Pan Macmillan

Pan Macmillan is the UK general book publishing arm of the Macmillan Group, which operates in over 70 countries.  Its imprints include Macmillan, Mantle, Pan, Picador, Bluebird, Boxtree, Sidgwick & Jackson, Bello, Tor, Macmillan Children's Books, Campbell Books, Macmillan New Writing and Macmillan Digital Audio.

Paul Finch’s gripping thriller STRANGERS published today by Avon

Paul Finch’s five book HECK series has sold over 500,000 copies, with SACRIFICE the most pre-ordered book in HarperCollins history. STRANGERS is the gripping, gruesome first novel in Finch’s new Lucy Clayburn series, a heart-stopping thriller with a standout new heroine, published 22 September with Avon, and available in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life. As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is. But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there's no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line. And, unknown to Lucy, she's already treading it…

STRANGERS has been sold in the UK and Germany.

Praise for Paul Finch and STRANGERS

‘Wonderfully dark and peppered with grim humour. Finch is a born storyteller and writes with the authentic voice of the ex-copper he is.’ – Peter James

‘Lucy Clayburn is a brilliant new character and one that I know readers are going to love. STRANGERS delves into the darker side of some of the small towns surrounding Manchester and takes the reader on a fast-paced, terrifying journey. The story is wonderfully original and brilliantly written… a terrific book.’ – Rachel Abbott, author of ONLY THE INNOCENT

‘Consistently inventive. Consistently excellent. Paul Finch writes distinctive dialogue-driven horror that truly grips. Satisfying stories, tautly written with a real sense of authority.’ – Simon Clark, author of THE FALL and VAMPYRRHIC

‘Paul Finch is unique. He creates modern thriller and crime stories with supernatural overtones one minute, and sparkling traditional horror stories the next. One of the most exciting story writers in the business today.’ – Masters of Terror

About Paul Finch

A former cop and journalist, Paul was a writer for British TV crime drama, The Bill.  However, he is probably best known for his work in horror and thrillers. He has also written four Doctor Who audio dramas and his Doctor Who novel, HUNTER'S MOON, was published by Woodland Books in 2011.

Winner of British Fantasy Award 2002 & 2007, and the International Horror Guild Award 2007.

Visit Paul's blog here, or read more about Paul on the Blake Friedmann website. 

Follow Paul on Twitter and Facebook.