Canongate has signed a two-book deal for Courttia Newland’s first speculative fiction novel and short story collection.
Hannah Knowles, senior commissioning editor at Canongate, pre-empted world rights to A River Called Time, and a short story collection entitled Cosmogramma, in a deal with Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! Canongate will publish A River Called Time on 6th August 2020, in hardback retailing at £14.99, with Cosmogramma following in 2021.
A River Called Time is the author's first speculative fiction novel and sees an alternative London, devastated by war and climate change and divided into a wealthy Inner City and poverty-stricken Outer City.
The synopsis reads: "A construction known as The Ark, built to save the lives of the many from pollution, rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning. Years later, a chance of survival within its confines is granted to a select few. Among their number is Markriss Denny, whose path is marred only by a closely guarded secret: his spirit can leave his body, allowing him to see and experience a world beyond his physical limitations. Inside the Ark, Denny learns of another with the same power, whose existence could spell catastrophe for humanity. He is forced into a desperate race to understand his abilities, and in doing so uncovers the truth about the Ark, himself and the people he thought he once knew."
Cosmogramma is a "collection of speculative fiction short stories, featuring tales about an invasion of mysterious plants, two different-aged versions of a single self meeting, a circus of physically enhanced performers and a race of aquatic humanoids, “among other wild ricochets of the imagination", Canongate said.
Knowles said: "When Crystal mentioned that Courttia Newland had written speculative fiction, I was desperate to get my hands on it. Having such a masterful writer as Courttia turn his hand to the genre is a thrilling moment for readers, and it has been an incredible privilege to be a part of this new stage in such an illustrious career."
Newland added: "This a life dream come true for me. I've been writing this novel on and off for 17 years and it's been shelved, bar edits, for nine. What's followed has been the greatest expansion of my literary imagination thus far. It's a bit mad, a whole lot London, but also a tale for the wider diaspora. I'm honoured for it to have found a home with my prestigious editor Hannah Knowles, at a publisher so well-renowned as Canongate. I have Crystal and everyone at OWN IT! to thank."