VIRAGO ACQUIRES GROUND-BREAKING BOOK BY LYNDALL GORDON BASED ON SEALED T.S. ELIOT LETTERS

Credit: Nina Hollington

Credit: Nina Hollington

UK and BC rights to Lyndall Gordon’s ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN, which draws on over 1,000 letters T.S. Eliot wrote to Emily Hale, have been acquired by Virago chair Lennie Goodings, who described it as ‘a literary landmark book’. The deal was concluded by Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann. In the US Norton have acquired rights in a deal arranged by Georges Borchardt. Publication will be in 2022, the centenary of Eliot’s great long poem, THE WASTE LAND. 

Emily Hale and T.S. Eliot

Emily Hale and T.S. Eliot

Lennie Goodings said: ‘ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN is the book Lyndall Gordon was born to write; it draws on all her intuitive understanding of this mysterious poet. We are thrilled.’ 

ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN by the pre-eminent T.S. Eliot biographer, Lyndall Gordon, is set to be one of the most important books on this poet, whose life was shaped by four women who became part of his work. Eliot’s first wife Vivienne Haigh Wood, Mary Trevelyan, a companion, and Valerie Fletcher, his second wife, are well known, but there was another woman who came first – Emily Hale.

Over 1,000 letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale

Over 1,000 letters from T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale

T.S. Eliot wrote to Emily Hale from 1930 to 1956 and the 1,131 letters at Princeton comprise the largest single series of the poet’s correspondence. These letters have been sealed to the public for over sixty years, housed in twelve boxes at Princeton University Library. In January 2020 they will have their steel security bands cut and his letters to her will be revealed to researchers for the first time. Lyndall Gordon will be there when they are opened, to fulfil her belief that Eliot’s secret attachment to this Boston-born teacher of drama is central to understanding his most private emotions during the decades when his creativity was at its height. 

As Virago’s press statement adds: 'ELIOT AMONG THE WOMEN, leading with the newly-revealed letters, and including all the women who were close to him, his mother too and also his well-matched first publisher, Virginia Woolf, will be another ground-breaking work from the biographer who has spent over forty years with her subject.' 

A much-celebrated biographer, Lyndall Gordon lives in Oxford. Among other accolades, she has won the Cheltenham Prize and the James Tait Black prize, been long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and shortlisted for the Comisso Prize in Italy for Fazi’s edition of her acclaimed Emily Dickinson biography LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS.

Lyndall Gordon’s biographies – of Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Dickinson and Mary Wollstonecraft – have all drawn widespread praise, and many are published in translation. She is also the author of two memoirs SHARED LIVES and DIVIDED LIVES. Her most recent book, OUTSIDERS, draws on the lives and striking works of Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Emily Brontë and Virginia Woolf and will soon be published in the US by Johns Hopkins University Press. All her books have been published in the UK by Virago.

Praise for Lyndall Gordon

‘Literary bloodhound and superbly eloquent chronicler.’ – Booklist

‘Gordon, a...superb literary biographer who has previously turned her level yet lyrical gaze to Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Brontë, Mary Wollstonecraft and others.’ – Seattle Times

A biographer with soul, she reaches into the hearts of those she brings alive for us. She makes the meaning of their lives sing and sweat as she invites us into their experiences, their longings, their struggles and their disappointments.’ – Susie Orbach, The Observer

‘Lyndall Gordon must be one of the most accomplished literary biographers of this generation…outstanding and stimulating.’ – British Book News

Visit Lyndall Gordon’s website.

Kate Burke joins Blake Friedmann

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Kate Burke has joined The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency as a senior agent and will focus on commercial fiction. 

Burke previously worked as an agent at Northbank Talent Management for six years, and before that spent 10 years as a fiction publisher, at Headline, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House. 

Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann's head of books, said: “I’ve been impressed by Kate’s energy and experience, her editorial eye and agenting acumen, and am thrilled to welcome her on board. This is an exciting time for the agency, with such a fine array of authors represented by our agents, and we’re looking forward to Kate being part of this dynamic team.”

Burke said: “I’m delighted to have joined such a prestigious and collegiate team, and am looking forward to many exciting years ahead.” 

She is open to submissions across all fiction genres and can be contacted at: kate@blakefriedmann.co.uk.

BLAKE FRIEDMANN IS HIRING!

Blake Friedmann Literary Agency is looking for an assistant/associate agent to work with Conrad Williams and Julian Friedmann in the agency’s media department. Conrad and Julian handle scriptwriters, directors, playwrights, and an ever-increasing volume of book-into-film TV deals.

Agenting involves an unusual mixture of skills and talents and the person we are seeking will be passionate about working for writers, editorially astute, thorough at admin, meticulous with contracts, keen to master the arts of negotiation and deal structuring, an eloquent presenter of clients and their work, a good salesman, a self-starter, and someone who fits well into an office where we work hard but enjoy ourselves a lot. He or she would need to be a voracious reader (of books as well as scripts) as book into film/TV is a big part of what we do. The agency offers good promotional prospects and a long term future for the right person.

For more information on the role please click here.

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Applicants should email cassie@blakefriedmann.co.uk with a covering letter and CV by Monday 21st January.

Blake Friedmann is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from all backgrounds.

Blake Friedmann Authors in Best of 2018 Lists

With 2018 drawing to a close, everyone is sharing their favourite books of the year. At Blake Friedmann, we are so proud that our authors have been featured in so many of these selections. In celebration of these amazing achievements, we have compiled this summary of the lists in which our authors were included, along with the praise that accompanied their selection.

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SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE by Sulaiman Addonia

Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'Mesmerizing story…  It's impossible not to fall in love with Saba. She brings a ton of emotional texture to the story.'

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SLAY IN YOUR LANE by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

Grazia, The 12 Books We Couldn’t Stop Talking About This Year

‘Guide to be­ing a black girl in mod­ern ur­ban Britain which is es­sen­tial read­ing for both the women it de­scribes and any­one who could do with a crash course in un­der­stand­ing their lives. Un­miss­able.’

The Guardian, Favourite Books of 2018

‘Never would I have thought a modern take on the British black female experience would be covered so wonderfully and with such excitement by two British black females. The range of topics were discussion worthy, and filled me for weeks with talking points … BUY A COPY FOR THE NEW YEAR AND BE SURPRISED AND EXCITED.’

Kimberley Sheehan, The Reading Agency, Books of the Year 2018

‘This book is a brilliant starting point to understand what it's like to be woman, black and a Londoner in 2018. It ultimately left me feeling hopeful about the future for women and empowered -- which has been a nice change compared to the rest of the year!’

Forbes, The Most Empowering Books by Female Authors of 2018

‘In this highly anticipated work from award-winning journalist Yomi Adegoke and her best friend, marketer Elizabeth Uviebinene SLAY IN YOUR LANE celebrates the gains that black women have already made in Britain whilst also highlighting the work that still needs to be done. It’s an encouraging and honest account of their own lives and a celebration of the achievements of some of Britain’s most successful black women that’ll leave you feeling fired up and hopeful for the future. For black women it serves as an inspiration and for other women and men a guide on how we can better support women of colour.’

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CITY WITHOUT STARS by Tim Baker

Jake Kerridge, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Raven Crime Reads, Top 10 Crime Reads of the Year 2018

 ‘CITY WITHOUT STARS is an intense, emotive and completely absorbing read, suffused with a violent energy, and with an unrelenting pace to its narrative. It heightens the reader’s senses and imagination throughout, completely enveloping the reader in this corrupt and violent society, with instances of intense human frailty and moments of strength, underpinned by precise description, and flurries of dark humour. I thought it was absolutely marvellous.’

The Telegraph, 50 Best Books of 2018

‘A grim but unputdownable thriller set in Mexico, where the homicide rate is so high that a prolific serial killer goes nearly unnoticed.’

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UNCOVERED by Ian Birch

Steve Smith, Folio Magazine, The Best Books for Print Lovers 2018

‘This is the book true magazine geeks will appreciate most this holiday… a deft and deep compendium of provocations from titles large and small.’

LITTLE by Edward Carey

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The Times, Books of the Year (Historical Fiction)

'Told with extraordinary panache, and illustrated by Edward Carey, this tale of the founder of Madame Tussauds is a macabre joy.'

Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Books of the Year

'Edward Carey's LITTLE is weird, wonderful and unlike any other historical novel this year. Enriched by the author's own illustrations, this retelling of the early life of Marie Grosholtz (aka Madame Tussaud) is both macabre and moving.'

Kirkus, Best Historical Fiction

Amal El-Mohtar, NPR, Best Books of 2018

'Picking up on the same themes of bodies and objects as his Iremonger trilogy, Edward Carey's LITTLE is a tenderly macabre fictional memoir written in the voice of Anne Marie Grosholtz, the woman who would become Madame Tussaud… her life is full of deep sadness mixed with fabulous incident, and compassionate insight punctuated by the author's whimsical illustrations.'

William Ryan, Irish Independent, Authors Top Books of 2018

'A gripping novel of shy wit and darkly humorous occurrences and is mesmerising in its virtuosity. On top of which the author's own illustrations are wonderfully bizarre, as indeed is the story he tells.'

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GOOD SAMARITANS by Will Carver

Jon Coates, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Jake Kerridge, Crime Time, Best of the Year 2018

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HOLD/HOUSEGIRL by Michael Donkor

Melissa Gray, NPR, Best Books of 2018

‘I hate novels. This is a strong statement, I know – here’s why I make it before telling you about HOUSEGIRL: I hate novels because too often, I know exactly where the story is heading, where the characters are heading. I loved HOUSEGIRL because Michael Donkor's storytelling and character building were so exquisite… Two days after I finished the book, I found myself actually missing the characters. This is a rare accomplishment for a first-time author, which is why I recommend HOUSEGIRL – even though it's a novel.'

The Observer, Best Books of 2018

‘Exquisite debut’

Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'A unique take on the classic "housegirl" narrative.'

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PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ME by Finuala Dowling

Jackie Kay, The Guardian, Best Books of 2018

‘A witty and wise collection. Her sequence about her mother’s dementia is very touching. Elsewhere, these vital works will have you crying with laughter.’

 

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TODAY SOUTH LONDON, TOMORROW SOUTH LONDON by Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison

 Evening Standard, Best Comedy Books and DVDs of 2018

 

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THE CHILDREN’S HOME by Charles Lambert

New York Times, Before Watching ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ Read These 13 Haunted Books

‘”Abandoned children of varying ages begin showing up at the sprawling estate of a disfigured recluse, Morgan Fletcher,” Carmela Ciuraru wrote, calling it “one of the year’s most bizarre stories.” “Lambert’s subtle prose enhances the novel’s creepiness, as does his refusal to fully resolve or explain its many mysteries.”’

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BOOKWORM by Lucy Mangan

Den of Geeks, Top Books of 2018

‘I’d like to report a robbery. Under cover of darkness, writer and Guardian TV critic Lucy Mangan crept into my soul, pocketed my memories and wrote them up beautifully in the guise of her “memoir of childhood reading.”… Lucy Mangan’s funny, warm BOOKWORM is personal and universal in the way that the very best books are… [It] rekindles old obsessions and sends you in search of any stories you may have missed at the time. I loved this book so much, I ate it.’

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THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK by Deon Meyer

The Times, Books of the Year 2018

'Are novellas making a comeback? If they can match the elegance of [THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK], let's hope so. THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK is a delicate story of a Dutch paining and the death of a naked woman in Cape Town. As usual, DI Benny Griessel inquires.'

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WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT by Sheila O’Flanagan

One of Ireland’s best-selling books of 2018

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THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS by Edward Wilson Lee

The Spectator, Books of the Year  

‘the fascinating history of Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando, guardian of his father’s flame, courtier, bibliophile and cataloguer supreme, whose travels took him to the heart of 16th-century Europe.’