Hodder & Stoughton buys 'life-affirming' debut from Esme King

Hodder & Stoughton buys 'life-affirming' debut from Esme King

Hodder & Stoughton has secured Esme King’s debut novel, Reasons To Go Outside, “an uplifting and life-affirming story about a woman who hasn’t left her home in 43 years”.  

Women’s fiction publisher Kimberley Atkins agreed a deal for world rights from Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton, and will publish Reasons To Go Outside in hardcover, e-book and audio in 2022. “Reasons To Go Outside is a heart-warming story of finding community, friendship and hope where you least expect, and a timely reminder that it is our shared experiences that make us human,” the publisher said. 

Atkins said: “I am thrilled to be publishing the wonderful Reasons To Go Outside – a gorgeous debut novel, and one that feels more relevant than ever in 2021. After a year spent largely indoors, I completely fell for the story of Pearl – a woman who hasn’t set foot outside in 43 years – and the events of one summer that start to change that, one step at a time. This is an uplifting and hopeful novel about little moments of everyday bravery and the importance of believing in yourself and those you love, and I am so looking forward to introducing readers to these unforgettable characters.” 

King began her career in the media after studying broadcast journalism and went on to work in radio and television newsrooms before moving into film. As well as her writing, she is also a multi-award-winning writer and director of short films.  

The Kent-based author said of her debut deal: “I really couldn’t have wished for a better home for Reasons To Go Outside. Everyone at Hodder has been so wonderfully supportive and working with the extremely talented Kimberley Atkins has been nothing less than a dream come true.” 

Murray revealed how the book’s subject resonated with her following the restrictions around the pandemic. “I started reading Reasons To Go Outside at the very beginning of our first lockdown and the story of Pearl Winter, a woman who has not been able to leave her house at the edge of beautiful Dartmoor for many years, resonated so intensely with me then,” she said.

“I love how swiftly the wonderful Kimberley Atkins and her fantastic team at Hodder also took the novel and Pearl to their hearts. I am sure the novel will also speak to many, many readers who have been through this strange and ongoing year of restriction and sadness and loss and change that we have all found ourselves in. But most importantly, Esme and her creation Pearl bring us hope and inspiration that we can change things for the better.”