Usborne has acquired a new novel by Zillah Bethell, set in the South Pacific, in a “heated auction”.
Inspired by the author’s childhood, The Long Now is about Blue Wing, who lives with her guardian - a “shark-caller” - on the edge of her village. She wants to become a shark-caller herself to avenge the death of her parents, who were killed by a shark, but it is against tradition for a girl to become one. Then two Americans arrive on the island and one of them, a professor, is looking for an ancient Japanese scroll that contains the secret to immortality.
Bethell was born in Papua New Guinea and lived in the South Pacific until she was 10.
Usborne commissioning editor Becky Walker said: “From the first glimpse of a shark’s fin, The Long Now bewitched the whole of the Usborne office, transporting us straight to New Ireland, and taking us on the journey of a lifetime. At once a brilliantly-woven adventure, The Long Now is also the story of the extraordinary power of friendship, of courage and of what home is and can be. Zillah’s voice is nothing short of exceptional, and we are thrilled to welcome her to Usborne.”
Walker acquired world rights from Julia Churchill at A M Heath and will publish in summer 2020.