Little Island Books will publish the debut children’s book of Booker-longlisted novelist Sam Thompson in 2021.
Publisher Matthew Parkinson-Bennett acquired world rights from Eleanor Birne at the Pew Literary Agency.
Wolfstongue will be published in May 2021.
The middle-grade title is a "philosophical fable about the power of language and the relationship between humans and the natural world." Wolfstongue tells the story of a boy with speech problems — inspired by the author's own son — who enters a hidden world of talking animals. He befriends a family of wolves who have been enslaved by foxes, and the boy must face his struggle with words to win back the wolves' freedom.
Little Island founder and consulting publisher Siobhán Parkinson commented: "Wolfstongue is quite possibly the most thrilling piece of work ever to land in our submissions inbox out of the blue and it totally knocked our socks off. We often get super adventure stories; we occasionally get a really thoughtful novel that is subtle and layered and explores ideas without ever actually laying those ideas out for analysis; and even more rarely we get truly stunning prose. To get all these in one book is almost unheard of."
Thompson said: "I started writing Wolfstongue for my son, who has speech difficulties and has always loved wolves... I hope the book takes readers on an adventure while also offering them a myth that they may find useful: a myth about how language can trap us or make us free, about the self-doubt we feel when we can’t find the words we need, and about how human stories have power to shape the natural world. "
Thompson’s debut novel Communion Town (Fourth Estate) was longlisted for the 2012 Booker Prize.
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