The Borough Press has snapped up Weyward, the debut novel by Emilia Hart, in a 48-hour pre-empt for a “significant” six-figure sum.
Carla Josephson, senior commissioning editor, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada to two novels from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown. It will be published by The Borough Press in hardback in spring 2023.
Weyward is a novel of witchcraft over five centuries, told through the stories of three women—Altha, Violet and Kate—who share a family line.
Josephson said: “Altha, Violet and Kate have transfixed me. Though they are all from radically different times, these three women are connected by more than their family line: they share a resilience in the face of a kind of violence and abuse that is horribly unchanged over the centuries. The power these women discover within themselves and their affinity with the natural world is stunningly rendered by Emilia—Weyward is a wonderfully compelling, evocative debut and I know readers will fall under its spell as I have.”
Hart grew up in Australia before moving to the UK in her mid-20s. She studied English Literature at university and went on to train as a lawyer. A life-changing stroke at the age of 26 inspired her to pursue her childhood dream of writing a book. She is a recent graduate of Curtis Brown Creative’s three month online novel writing course.
She said: “I’m overjoyed that Weyward will be published by Borough and thrilled to have found such a brilliant editor in Carla. While living in the north-west of England last year, I learned of the Pendle witch trials that took place in 1612. Amid media reports of increasing rates of domestic violence in lockdown, I couldn’t stop thinking about how male violence against women reverberates through history. Witchcraft seemed like a perfect lens through which to examine this—and to showcase female power and resistance.”
Blunt added: “I am delighted that Carla and the incredible team at Borough fell in love with Weyward. This is a book about female independence and identity, told through the prism of witchcraft. This publishing partnership feels something of a perfect match!”
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