A First Bite at our debut authors of 2016

As thoughts in January inevitably turn to new beginnings and fresh starts, Fourth Estate is looking forward to publishing an array of talented debut authors this year. This preview tells you who to watch out for in 2016…

Travis Mulhauser: Sweetgirl (publishing 11 February)

A fiercely compelling debut about a sixteen-year old girl whose search for her missing mother leads to a life-or-death struggle.

‘If you’re a fan of Charles Portis and Denis Johnson this book is exactly what you’ve been waiting for’ Brock Clarke, author of The Happiest People in the World

Sweetgirl

Percy is sixteen and used to her mama disappointing her. But this time her mama’s been gone for nine days and she’s been seen up at Shelton Potter’s farmhouse. Which can only mean she’s strung out on meth again, and who knows when she’ll be back.

A blizzard rolls in and Percy jumps in her pickup and sets off for the farmhouse. She finds Shelton and a woman passed out on the floor, sleeping off the latest binge. But no sign of her mama.

Percy heads upstairs and finds a neglected baby girl, in urgent need of care and attention. Percy knows she has no choice. She has to take the baby and get her to a hospital as soon as she can.

But the blizzard shows no sign of stopping and soon her pickup is snowed in. Now she’s on foot and before long two-bit criminal Shelton wakes up and heads out with four of his associates, on the hunt for whoever has taken the baby…

Taut, darkly humorous and told in Percy’s unflinching voice, Sweetgirl is a moving exploration of courage and sacrifice that is horrifying, tender and hopeful.

 

James Macdonald Lockhart: Raptor: A Journey Through Birds (publishing 11 February)

A stunning debut in the tradition of Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald.

‘James MacDonald Lockhart puts the rapture back in the raptor. This is in-the-moment writing, raw in beak and claw. With its gorgeously felt sense of life and place, Raptor rips at its words, turning them into exquisite portraits of the utter wild, shaping, soaring, obsessive beauty out of the British landscape and its imperial birds. A true heir to J. A. Baker’s The Peregrine, and T. H. White’s The Goshawk, this is a unique and wonderful work’ Philip Hoare

Raptor

Of all the birds of the British Isles, the raptor reigns supreme, sparking the imagination like no other. In this magnificent hymn to these beautiful animals, James Macdonald Lockhart explores all fifteen breeding birds of prey on these shores – from the hen harrier swimming over the land in the dregs of a May gale on Orkney, to the ghostly sparrowhawk displaying in the fields around his home in Warwickshire. This is a book that will change how we think of our own skies.

 

 

 

Joanna Connors: I Will Find You (publishing 7 April)

The powerful, unflinching and deeply humane story of a journalist’s quest to uncover the life of the man who raped her twenty-one years before.

‘Is it possible to call the story of a violent rape and its haunting aftermath a thing of beauty? This lucid, powerful memoir becomes its own form of redemption, as a seasoned reporter turns her gaze on her own life and that of her rapist’s. A profoundly moving, important and, yes, beautiful book’ Dani Shapiro, author of Still Writing

I Will Find You

Joanna Connors was thirty years old when she was raped at knifepoint by a stranger.

After this horrifying trauma, she became afraid of everything – flying, driving, travelling in a car while someone else drove. She had children, but hovered over them constantly, terrified about what might happen to them as well. Then, when her daughter was sixteen, Joanna began to confront the fear that had ruled her life ever since that day, and decided she needed, finally, to understand.

In an act of breathtaking humanity and pioneering journalistic courage, she went in search of the story of her own rapist, determined to find out who he was, where he came from, what his life was like – and what leads a person to do something as destructive as what he did to her.

The result of her investigation is I Will Find You, a shocking, moving memoir and a brave, timely consideration of poverty, race, class, education – and how life shapes who we become.

Eleanor Wasserberg: Foxlowe (publishing 2 June)

A chilling, compulsive debut about group mentality, superstition and betrayal – and a utopian commune gone badly wrong. Perfect for fans of Emma Donoghue’s Room and Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching.

Foxlowe

‘We were the Family, and Foxlowe was our home.

There was me – my name is Green – and my little sister, Blue. There was October, who we called Toby, and Ellensia, Dylan, Liberty, Pet and Egg. There was Richard, of course, who was one of the Founders. And there was Freya.

We were the Family, but we weren’t just an ordinary family. We were a new, better kind of family.

We didn’t need to go to school, because we had a new, better kind of education. We shared everything. We were close to the ancient way of living and the ancient landscape. We knew the moors, and the standing stones. We celebrated the solstice in the correct way, with honey and fruit and garlands of fresh flowers. We knew the Bad and we knew how to keep it away.

And we had Foxlowe, our home. Where we were free.

There really was no reason for anyone to want to leave.’

Monika Linton: Brindisa Spanish Cook Book (publishing 3 November)

A major book on classic Spanish ingredients and home cooking.

Praise for Brindisa: ‘Brindisa’s Spanish bar is a must for foodaholics’ Jay Rayner, Observer

* Cover to be revealed *

Brindisa, the renowned Spanish fine food import company, has become a byword for specialist Spanish food. The Brindisa Spanish Cook Book is the ultimate in contemporary Spanish cooking, including classic regional recipes, tapas dishes and information about the very best ingredients and food producers.

Ranging from the most unusual artisan dishes to the classics of Spanish cooking, this recipe collection draws on Brindisa’s specialist knowledge to introduce you to delights such as jamon iberico de bellota, chorizo, cured ham and fish, fumet (rich Catalan fish stock), farmhouse cheeses, prepared pulses, olive oils and vinegars, sweet treats and storecupboard basics that are essential for Spanish and Mediterranean cooking.

Covering the unique way good food is integral to everyday Spanish life, ranging from traditional breakfasts to substantial lunches, small plates of Spanish food and very simple suppers for during the week, to big family get-togethers at weekend, this is not just a book about recipes, but a true celebration of Spain, its food and people, countryside and producers.

 

Words by Kate Tolley

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