Faber bags Caldwell's 'beautifully moving' wartime novel

Faber bags Caldwell's 'beautifully moving' wartime novel

Faber is to publish Lucy Caldwell's first novel in nearly a decade, These Days

Angus Cargill, publishing director, bought world all language rights from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White, and will publish in hardback in March 2022.

Set in Belfast, the novel follows the lives of two sisters during the Second World War. The synopsis explains: "April, 1941. Belfast has escaped the worst of the war — so far. Over the next two months, it's going to be destroyed from above, so that even the Luftwaffe pilots will say, in horror, My God, Belfast is finished.

"Many won't make it through, and no one who does will remain unchanged. Following the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey — one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman — as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz in 1941, These Days is a timeless and heart-breaking novel about living under duress, about family, and about how we try to stay true to ourselves."

Caldwell said: "I have loved writing, and editing, short stories so much over the last few years that I didn’t think I’d write another novel. Then I became at first idly interested, and quickly obsessed, with the Belfast Blitz, such an under-told chapter in my city’s fiction. When our first lockdown happened, and life as we knew it stalled, a window seemed to open for me between worlds. I lived these characters, their fears, their hopes, their losses, their longings.  They felt, still feel, more real to me than any other characters I’ve written."

Faber is due to publish Caldwell's second short story collection, Intimacies, in May 2021. 

Cargill said: "After the exquisite miniatures that were Lucy's stories in Multitudes and IntimaciesThese Days is a fearless step into the widescreen realm of historical fiction at its very best, and the beautifully moving story of two sisters trying to survive, in love and life, the horrors of the Belfast Blitz."

Caldwell has written three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, and two collections of short stories. She has sold 13,952 books sold for £107,641, with her bestseller All the Beggars Rising, through Nielsen BookScan's UK Total Consumer Market. She has twice been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, and has won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Canada and Europe) and the Edge Hill Readers’ Choice Award. Other awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the George Devine Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize — for her novel The Meeting Point - and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018 and in 2019 she was the editor of Being Various — New Irish Short Stories.