Hodder & Stoughton will publish The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson, based on a real-life underground library at Bethnal Green during the Second World War.
Women’s fiction publisher Kimberley Atkins bought world English language rights from Kate Burke at The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. The title will be published in spring 2022.
The Little Wartime Library focuses on the women at the heart of the subterranean community.
Atkins said: "I am truly delighted to be publishing another novel from Kate Thompson on the Hodder list—she is a brilliant writer of evocative historical fiction, and I was captivated by this incredible story of friendship, romance, community and hope. Kate writes with meticulous historical detail based on her own research, often speaking to individuals who lived through the period and can give a first-hand account of what everyday life was like during the war. It’s a privilege to be publishing The Little Wartime Library, and to give a voice to some of the brave women on the home front.”
Thompson commented: "World War Two reconfigured the literary landscape. The unique challenges presented to the librarian at Britain's only underground shelter library, built 80 feet underground, next to the tracks at Bethnal Green Underground has had a powerful hold on my imagination since I discovered its existence in an old photograph. I can't wait to dig deeper into the 'Read for Victory' campaign and share this little known slice of social history. The Little Wartime Library has found its perfect home at Hodder & Stoughton."
Thompson's other novels include Secrets of the Homefront Girls (Hodder, 2019), Secrets of the Sewing Bee (Macmillan, 2016) and Secrets of the Singer Girls (Pan, 2015).