Andersen Press will publish The Short Knife, “a stunningly poetic” YA novel from Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-shortlisted author Elen Caldecott.
Andersen Press publishing director Charlie Sheppard bought world rights from Jodie Hodges at United Agents. The publisher's synopsis reads: “Britain’s history as an island of migrants, set as the Saxons invade during the fifth century. Can Mai survive in a dangerous world where speaking her mother tongue might be deadly, and where even the people she loves the most can’t be trusted?”
Caldecott said: “Mai, the hero of the novel, speaks British, then Saxon. The words in her mouth shape her idea of who she is, and who she can be. Although the novel is written in English, it was important to me that readers gain a tiny insight into the Welsh language, so the prose uses translated idioms, some Welsh syntax, and even some Welsh words where they make sense. The Short Knife is a historical novel, but it’s also very much about now. As British identity shifts again, realigning ourselves away from our continental neighbours, it’s important to remember where we’ve come from, and where our true strength lies.”
Caldecott’s debut novel How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant (Bloomsbury, 2009) was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Prize and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. She graduated with an MA in writing for young people from Bath Spa University and was highly commended in the PFD Prize for Most Promising Writer for Young People.