Arcadia Books has scooped the first book in 10 years from acclaimed novelist Marika Cobbold, described as a “sharp, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny” story.
Piers Russell-Cobb acquired world English language rights to On Hampstead Heath from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, for publication in April 2021.
The synopsis explains: “On Hampstead Heath tells the story of Thorn Marsh, who has dedicated her life to uncovering the truth. After 13 years at the New London Journal, she is more devoted to her job as news editor than she ever was to her ex-husband. When the newspaper is bought by the notorious Goring Group, who value sales figures over fact-checking, Thorn openly questions their methods, and promptly finds herself moved from the news desk to the midweek supplement, reporting heartwarming stories for their new segment, ‘The Bright Side.’
“A chance encounter with a stranger on Hampstead Heath leads a desperate Thorn to make the biggest mistake of her career–a fake news story. As Thorn’s article spirals out of control, she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic stranger whose picture is now plastered across the internet. Who is the mysterious 'Angel of the Heath'?"
Russell-Cobb said: “Marika’s fiction brilliantly addresses themes which speak to us all and which remain timely and pertinent in today’s climate. On Hampstead Heath explores personal moments of madness, the battle to be fought against fake news but above all, it’s an homage to storytelling and to truth; to the tales we tell ourselves, and the stories that save us."
Cobbold is the author of seven previous novels including debut Guppies For Tea (Bloomsbury), released in 1994. Her most recent book was 2009's Aphrodite's Workshop for Reluctant Lovers (Bloomsbury), after which she took a 10-year break. The Guardian once wrote of her: “No one writes about life quite like Marika Cobbold; no one combines light and dark, humorous and profound, joyous and sorrowful, quite so expertly.”
She said: “Unlike childbirth or murder, writing novels never seems to get any easier. I embarked on my eighth novel with a greater than usual degree of confidence. I knew what I wanted to say. I knew where I was going. The novel was practically writing itself. Never let a novel write itself. Like a child with a box of lego, too impatient to look at the plan, it rushed in, grabbing words and themes, scenes and characters, forcing them together, prising them apart, starting again … until several years, not a few tantrums, hundreds of thousands of words and four partially completed novels later, the grown-up stepped in, studied the instructions and put it all together, carefully, patiently, brick by brick.’
Summerhayes added: “Marika is a wonderfully warm and witty writer–and I fell in love with her brilliant characters and her 'angel'. I am so glad she has found a new and happy publishing home–and I hope many readers will adore her new novel.”
Midas PR is working with Arcadia and Georgina Moore, its director of books and publishing, will handle publicity for the book.