THE HIDING PLACE by Trezza Azzopardi, re-published today by Picador

Trezza Azzopardi’s THE HIDING PLACE is re-published today by Picador, as part of their Picador Classic series. Originally published in 2000, this intensely lyrical debut novel portrays the life of Dolores – the youngest of six daughters, growing up amidst a disintegrating family in 1960’s Cardiff.

When it was first released, THE HIDING PLACE won the 2001 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. The edition published today features a beautiful new cover and an introduction by D. J. Taylor.

Dolores is the youngest of six daughters. Growing up in the 1960s in Cardiff's poverty stricken Tiger Bay, her life is cursed from the start when, on the day of her birth, her father gambles and loses everything on a bet that Dolores will be a boy. As Dolores grows older, we see the world through her eyes: Tiger Bay is a place of gaming rooms and cafes, of crumbling houses and burning secrets, and for Dolores and her sisters, their home is a dangerous place, filled equally by fear and love. Thirty years later, the estranged sisters return to Tiger Bay for their mother's funeral. It is a time of consolation, of memories and nightmares, and a chance for Dolores to understand the tragedy that has shaped her existence.

 

Praise for THE HIDING PLACE:

 ‘Vivid, moving, alive: The Hiding Place opens up ordinary-looking doors to let us into an intense and brilliantly foreign world.’ – Andrea Ashworth

'Dark and stifling images abound in this powerful first novel… Azzopardi is an assured magician when it comes to tricks to keep the reader turning the pages, despite the harshness of her material…   An astonishingly accomplished book.’ – The Independent

THE HIDING PLACE has been compared with the work of Frank McCourt and Andrea Ashworth and it is not hard to see why. But Azzopardi’s book is fiction and it has a certain poise and cohesion of theme that cannot be achieved in memoir…. Azzopardi has written a scalding, thrilling book about the havoc and despair it is possible to wreak inside a family; but also how the bonds formed within it cannot be destroyed by violence, poverty, time, fire – anything.’ – The Observer

‘The unsentimental quality and the constant beauty of Azzopardi’s writing … She has clearly mastered principles of precision and control, holding the reader throughout with a deft touch.’ – The Times

‘A writer of remarkable sensibility and literary prowess …readers will be riveted by this brilliantly psychological prose poem of a family united only in helplessness and despair, in a poverty-stricken corner of the world rarely seen in fiction.’ – Publishers Weekly

 

Trezza Azzopardi was born and grew up in Cardiff, and teaches Creative Writing at UEA. Her novels REMEMBER ME (2004) and WINTERTON BLUE (2007) were both listed for the Wales Book of the Year. Her latest novel, THE SONG HOUSE, was serialised on BBC Radio 4. The novella, THE TIP OF MY TONGUE, based on one of the tales from The Mabinogion, was published in October 2013.

MASTER OF WAR: VIPER'S BLOOD by David Gilman - out in hardback from Head of Zeus (and THE LAST HORSEMAN out in paperback)!

VIPER’S BLOOD, the fourth title in the bestselling MASTER OF WAR series, is published in hardback today by Head of Zeus. This novel sees Gilman continuing his gripping take on the Hundred Years War, following on from the events of GATE OF THE DEAD, in which Thomas Blackstone left his life as a mercenary in 1350s Tuscany.

As VIPER’S BLOOD begins, Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest host England has ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict.

Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King's daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone's family to revenge the defeats he inflicted on them. Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive...

Robert Fabbri, bestselling author of the Vespasian series, has described the MASTER OF WAR series as a “gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty”. The series has been sold in Brazil, Hungary, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Germany, where Rowohlt will publish the first three titles this year with a major marketing campaign.

David’s "gripping... smart and subtle" standalone THE LAST HORSEMAN, featuring American and Irish characters in the South African War, was published by Head of Zeus last year and is also out today in paperback. The Bookbag picked THE LAST HORSEMAN as one of the Best Historical Fiction Books of 2016.

 

Praise for the MASTER OF WAR series:

‘Move over Bernard Cornwell! Historical fiction at its best.’ – Historical Novel Society

‘Like a punch from a mailed fist, MASTER OF WAR gives a true taste of the Hundred Years War. It is a gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty.' - Robert Fabbri, bestselling author of the Vespasian series.

‘If you only read one historical debut this year, make it this one. The prose is sharper than a bodkin arrow, the pace faster than thought and to be honest it was a book that I just couldn’t put down. Great stuff.’ – Gareth Wilson, - Falcata Times

 ‘A violent, tempestuous, glorious novel. I was gripped from the very beginning and the book never once let go of me until its end, by which point I was exhausted by its intensity, thrills and trauma. Among my top historical fiction reads of the year.' – For Winter Nights

 ‘See-saw drama at its best… so many reasons why, when life tried to encourage me to put the book down, I resisted stridently. This is writing that twists around seldom seen hist-fict depth.’ – Ani Johnson, The Bookbag

 

Praise for THE LAST HORSEMAN:

'Gritty, compelling, an exciting yet moving tale of love, war and Africa.' - Tony Park, bestselling author of RED EARTH

'Gilman's writing is, as always, powerful and sympathetic to the subject...The simply excellent writing drags you from rain-soaked Ireland to the dusty plans of the Transvaal, making you experience every step and emotion along the way.' - Parmenion Books

'Gripping and full of action, but is also smart and subtle about questions of loyalty and guilt in a war with few good guys.' - The Times

'David once again proves his ability to add texture into his tapestry in the form of sub-plots and back stories...A novel that packs so much alongside and under a totally riveting story.' - The Bookbag Top Ten Historical Fiction Books of 2016

'Gilman had me hooked from page one...[He] has actually remained neutral in telling the story, a feat that shows what a truly great author he is.' - Breakaway Reviews

'The writing is sharp, contains some great characterisation...Back this up with top notch action sequences, more than a few heart-in-mouth moments, backed with good pace and all round it's a series for me to savour with each new offering. Cracking' - Gareth Wilson, Falcata Times

'Packed full of intrigue, adventure and excitement...The writing is skilful, and while the story is a page turner full of adventure, there are moments in which we are reminded that though most of the characters are fictional, the horror of this war was not...A perfect read for fans of Bernard Cornwell.' - Historical Novel Review



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ICON BOOKS ACQUIRES MENTAL HEALTH FOLLOW-UP FROM NANCY TUCKER

Photo credit: Stevie Finegan

Photo credit: Stevie Finegan

Icon Books has acquired THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY by Nancy Tucker. Commissioning editor Kiera Jamison has acquired World English language rights from Hattie Grunewald at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency.

Nancy’s first book, THE TIME IN BETWEEN: A MEMOIR OF HUNGER AND HOPE was called ‘stylish and incisive’ by the Guardian, ‘astonishingly good’ by the Sunday Times and was praised for its nuanced understanding and honesty by Psychologist magazine and MIND. 

Based on 100+ hours’ of interviews with young women, THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY explores what it’s really like to experience mental illness, and how we can all be more sensitive towards those who suffer. 

THAT WAS WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TO WORRY explores seven conditions – including anxiety, self-harm, borderline personality disorder, OCD, binge eating disorder, PTSD and dissociative identity disorder – offering a nuanced, authentic impression of what it means to suffer from each. Conversations about mental health are increasing, and the subject is experiencing a long overdue ‘moment’. However, the current landscape lacks depictions which are both vivid and sensitive; arresting and nuanced; humorous and meaningful.

Having started her writing career with an affecting memoir of her own battles with anorexia and bulimia nervosa, Tucker is keen to demystify mental illness and to and humanize its many sufferers. She says, ‘What we lack are books which combine the personal with the academic, placing stories of suffering in the context of the root of that suffering – and which do so sensitively, honestly and readably. I wanted to offer readers a unique window into the day-to-day trials of living with an unwell mind.’

Adds Jamison, ‘We are delighted to be working with Nancy again. Her observations are keen, her tone in turns humorous, sharp and poignant, and towards her subjects deeply compassionate. She pushes us all to do better in how we think, talk about and treat mental illness, particularly in young women.’

It is essential reading, not just for sufferers of mental illness and their loved ones, but for all those who come into contact with – and wish to better understand – the mentally unwell.

Icon will publish as an £14.99 Demy hardback, and as an ebook, in spring 2018.

For more information please contact Claire Maxwell, Publicity Manager; claire@iconbooks.com / 0207 700 9967

THIS BEATS PERFECT, Rebecca Denton's Rock n' roll Debut, published by Atom today

THIS BEATS PERFECT, a sensational Young Adult novel from debut novelist Rebecca Denton, is published today by Atom Books.

Amelie Ayres has impeccable taste in music. Bowie. Bush. Bob. So when she finds herself backstage at The Keep's only UK gig she expects to hate it; after all they are the world's most tragic band. In fact she feels a grudging respect - not (obviously) for their music, but for the work that goes in to making them megastars. And when lead singer, 'Maxx', is not dressed up as a cross between Elvis and a My Little Pony, he is actually rather normal, talented and has creative struggles not too dissimilar to her own.

But the next morning she wakes up and rolls over to discover a million new @'s on social media. Overnight, a photo of her at the gig has made her a subject of global speculation. Suddenly the world needs to know #Who'sThatGirl? - but for all the wrong reasons.

All Amelie wants is to play her music. She's got the guitar, the songs, the soul and, in the safety of her bedroom, she's got the voice. But when it comes to getting up on stage, she struggles with self-doubt.

Immaculate's a concept. Flawless is fake. But just sometimes music - and hearts - can rock a perfect beat.

A musical soundtrack to the novel is available on Spotify, and Atom’s marketing team have also manufactured some patches for the different themes of the book, as well as a “THE KEEP” logo badge, which was sent out to reviewers alongside bound proofs. The team have been running a ‘Song a day’ challenge on their twitter feed which has been getting readers across the country excited about THIS BEATS PERFECT, already the 12th most anticipated debut of 2017 on Goodreads.

Reviewers are already loving THIS BEATS PERFECT:

‘THIS BEATS PERFECT is a fabulous celebration of music, friendship, and following your dreams. It's hugely entertaining with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and Amelie is a wonderful heroine. She's smart, loyal, and fiercely independent. Rebecca Denton's music expertise shows in the incredibly authentic backstage and on stage scenes. A fantastic addition to the burgeoning category of YA books about music, fandoms, and fame.’ – Katherine Webber, author of WING JONES

‘The fact that I read THIS BEATS PERFECT in a less-than-24-hour binge is a pretty clear indication that I enjoyed it. Reading this novel also made me feel really cool somehow? Like I should pick up a guitar and learn how to play like someone suitably bad-ass. Think if David Nicholls and Stephanie Perkins had a musically oriented book baby, and that's basically THIS BEATS PERFECT. It's not only a love song to the London music scene, but it's also really, really funny. There are some cracking one-liners and classic British banter. Denton does dialogue superbly…. an incredibly astute exploration of fame, social media, and what it means to be in the music industry. Great insights!’ - Carlie Sorosiak, author of IF BIRDS FLY BACK

Italian rights are sold to Fabbri.

Rebecca is 39 years old, lives in Hackney with a one year old, a trumpet, 2 guitars, a keyboard, and several vintage computer game consoles. She has spent her career travelling the world making Music TV for MTV and Channel 4, and wrangling young adult audiences for the BBC and ITV. She’s worked with Iggy Pop, MIA, Kaiser Chiefs, Sonic Youth, Jack White, Dirty Pretty Things, and The Klaxons to name just a few. She has now turned that dab hand to writing racy tales of rock n roll for Young Adults.

More praise for THIS BEATS PERFECT:

‘I was 100% hooked from the moment I cracked this book open … unapologetically—*delightfully*!—British and compulsively readable’ - Kayla Olson, author of THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE

‘Denton not only has the razor-sharp wit and pitch-perfect ear for dialogue to pull off a story like this, she's worked with MTV and some of the biggest names in music (Jack White, Sonic Youth, etc.) - so she gets her details right (which makes for a fascinating inside glimpse into the music industry, which I thoroughly enjoyed). The characters are well drawn (and often quite funny - Geoff and Julian are my personal favs), the chemistry between her romantic leads is sizzling HOT, and the settings (London, Paris) are charmingly drawn. And underneath this lighthearted send-up of pop music, fame, social media and first love is an uplifting tale about having the courage to embrace your passion and follow your dreams. I highly recommend THIS BEATS PERFECT.’ - Laurie Forest, author of THE BLACK WITCH

‘I was listening to each song on the track list along with each corresponding chapter (highly recommend this experience!) and absolutely adored every minute of reading this novel.’ - Maggie Ann Martin, author of THE BIG F

MAN UP by Jack Urwin published tomorrow by Icon Books

Out tomorrow from Icon Books with a beautiful new cover is Jack Urwin’s MAN UP – a funny and accessible examination of masculinity and its current issues, related in Jack’s highly informed and friendly style.

The book was inspired by a combination of the death of Urwin’s father when Jack was nine, as well as Jack’s experiences of depression. MAN UP comes after a viral article Urwin wrote for VICE in 2014 - A Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men, and covers a range of topics in which masculinity plays a defining role, including lad culture, sexuality, conscription during WW1 and WW2, and mass shootings.

With male suicide currently the primary cause of death for men between 18 and 49 in the UK, MAN UP keeps its sights firmly on mental health throughout, and reveals the damage that the typical idea of masculinity can inflict upon it. Urwin’s deconstruction of masculinity and arguments for less rigid ideas of gender take us back to those who went to war in the first half of the 20th Century, and subsequently lost the ability to vocalise what they had seen – conscription examined by Urwin as a kind of compulsory “state-sanctioned requirement for masculinity”. It also takes in the recent decline of the working class, and the current mental health epidemic afflicting men.

Jack Urwin was born in Loughborough in 1992 and moved to London at 18 to study journalism, a degree which would do its best to turn him off becoming a journalist. He spent several years working as a music publicist on campaigns for a variety of major and independent labels, leading to Enrique Iglesias labelling him — quite unfairly, he feels — a ‘drill sergeant'.

Jack contributes to a number of music publications, humour sites and magazines including McSweeney's and VICE. His work has covered a range of issues such as politics, mental health and gender and has drawn praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh.

 Follow Jack on Twitter.

 

Praise for Jack Urwin

 ‘With depression and suicide among young men on the rise Jack Urwin explores the roots of stiff-upper-lip “toxic masculinity” and makes a powerful argument for greater emotional honesty.’ – Daily Express

 ‘Jack Urwin’s new book – Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity – tackles these issues in a funny and approachable way despite the seriousness of the subject matter.’ – Nick Harris-Fry, Coach Magazine

 ‘This is the brilliant, personal, not-actually sexist writing by millennials about masculinity and politics that the world has been waiting for.’ – Laurie Penny

 ‘Jack Urwin writes like he speaks: accessible, funny, and interesting. His article got people talking and now, almost two years on, he is right in thinking that the time for a big discussion about masculinity has arrived.’ – The Telegraph

 ‘What it means to be a man is a fiercely debated question, and one that comes with millennia of baggage about the ‘ideals’ of masculinity. Vice journalist Jack Urwin fearlessly explores this issue, probing into why aggression and repression are still considered the norm when characterising men. This is an essential read at a time when gender divides are still part of the everyday landscape.’ –Topman