The Borough Press has bought The Aerialists by Katie Munnik, a “haunting” novel based on the true story of teenage girl who fell to her death during the Great Exhibition of 1896.
Ann Bissell, publicity director and commissioning editor, acquired world rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. It will be published in hardback in spring 2022.
The publisher said: “Based on the true story of Louisa Maud Evans, a 14-year-old girl who died during the Great Exhibition in Cardiff in 1896, and whose demise—tumbling from 8,000 feet into the Bristol Channel—captured the imagination of the city, The Aerialists is a rich historical novel exploring the expectations for women to perform.”
Bissell commented: “Katie is a beautiful writer and I’m delighted to continue publishing her at The Borough Press. The story of Louisa Maud Evans is incredibly haunting, and brought to life vividly and thoughtfully in The Aerialists, a hugely compelling historical novel, with a dark heart."
Munnik is a Canadian writer currently based in Cardiff. She won The Borough Press' open submission call in 2017 and her debut novel, The Heart Beats in Secret, was a USA Today bestseller. She is currently a featured author for the National Library of Wales as part of its Explore Your Archive week (21st–29th November 2020), for which she penned a specially commissioned short story, “A Scene Like This”.
Munnik said: “I’m so glad to be sharing Louisa’s story. She is one of so many girls who are missing from history, and she both craved and deserves our attention.”
Summerhayes added: “What could be more wonderful than a novel about an inspiring woman, set mostly in my hometown of Cardiff? Katie has stumbled upon an incredible story, and The Aerialists is a very special novel.”