Canongate has won a debut novel inspired by Robinson Crusoe from Katie Hale, a Penguin Random House WriteNow mentee, at auction.
A novel about power and "the strength and the danger in a mother’s love", My Name is Monster centres on a young woman called Monster who believes she is alone in an empty, post-apocalyptic version of Britain. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows.
Commissioning Editor Jo Dingley acquired world rights in Hale's debut from Lucy Luck at C&W to publish in hardback and audio in June 2019.
DIngley said she knew from the first chapter that she had to publish the book. "It’s not only a gripping story of survival, it’s a complex and genuinely unique exploration of what it means to be female, what is means to be a parent, a child and a member of society," she said, adding: "I can hardly believe it’s a debut."
Born in Cumbria, Hale is a poet, freelance journalist and educator. She took part in Penguin Random House’s inaugural WriteNow scheme in 2016-17, has held Emerging Writer in Residence posts at Theatre by the Lake and Creative Futures Cumbria, and is currently working on an oral story-sharing project with the National Trust. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017, and her poetry has been awarded the Jane Martin and Ware Poetry Prizes and been shortlisted for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize.
Hale said: "I’m absolutely delighted to become part of the Canongate family of authors. I’m also thrilled to be working with Jo, whose insight and instinctive understanding of the novel have allowed me to mine the full depths of Monster’s character, and through her character to explore the role of language in our perceptions of the world."