Bloomsbury lands 'arresting, haunting' novel from Tom Benn

Bloomsbury lands 'arresting, haunting' novel from Tom Benn

Bloomsbury is to publish Oxblood, the latest novel by Tom Benn, next spring.

Oxblood is the story of three generations of mothers living together in mid-1980s Wythenshawe, south Manchester. The family’s dead patriarchs once ruled Manchester’s underworld; now their house harbours an unregistered baby and is haunted by a ghost of a murdered man. On the day that the only surviving son of the family returns home, Nedra, Carol and Jan must all confront their family legacy – if they are to exorcise its past. 

Editor Allegra Le Fanu has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, and audio rights to the novel from Isobel Dixon at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency.

Benn’s first novel, The Doll Princess, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Portico Prize, and longlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. Benn’s creative non-fiction has appeared in the Paris Review and he won the BFI’s iWrite scheme for emerging screenwriters. His first film "Real Gods Require Blood" premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the BFI London Film Festival. Originally from Stockport, he teaches on the UEA Crime Fiction Creative Writing MA and lives in Norwich.

Commenting on the new novel,  Benn said: "Oxblood was seven years in the writing, and so it's good to know that a Manchester novel about horny ghosts and forgotten Wythenshawe nanas can find a home. I’m overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of Allegra and the Bloomsbury team: so welcoming of working-class stories. And I’m indebted to my agent, Isobel Dixon, for her absolute belief in the book."

Le Fanu said: "I can't wait for the world to meet Nedra, Carol and Jan, the three generations of women who blaze on the pages of Tom Benn's extraordinary Oxblood. My heart was captured by this daring, exhilarating, miraculous book from the very first page."

Dixon added: "Oxblood is a novel of such rare, arresting immediacy and haunting power – I’m so delighted that Allegra Le Fanu heard the fierce and tender voices of these women, and of the world they inhabit, and that Tom Benn has found such an excellent home and editor at Bloomsbury."

Publication is currently planned for April 2022, backed by a major marketing and publicity campaign.