Granta pre-empts 'electrifying' witch trial novel from poet Blakemore

Granta pre-empts 'electrifying' witch trial novel from poet Blakemore

Granta Books has pre-empted an “electrifying” novel about the witch trials from poet and writer A K Blakemore.

Editor Ka Bradley acquired UK & Commonwealth excluding Canada rights from Zoe Ross at United Agents. Granta will publish The Manningtree Witches in spring 2021.

Its synopsis explains: “The Manningtree Witches is set during the English Civil War, at the time that Matthew Hopkins, the man who came to be known as the Witchfinder General, began his persecution of the women of Essex. It plunges its readers into the fever and menace of the witch trials, where suspicion, mistrust and betrayal ran amok as the power of men went unchecked and the integrity of women went undefended. It primarily follows Rebecca West, the quiet, resourceful daughter of one of the accused women.”

Blakemore is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Humbert Summer (Eyewear, 2015) and Fondue (Offord Road Books, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection.

Bradley said: “This visceral, thrilling novel announces a serious talent. Every sentence of The Manningtree Witches gleams with poetry and threat. Blakemore brings such richness and believability to the lives of her characters – from the poverty-wracked old Widow Clarke to the Witchfinder General himself – that it is impossible not to feel immersed in, even swept up by, the fervour of puritanical religious mania, nascent sexuality, suspicion and terror. I’m delighted to be welcoming A K Blakemore to the list.”