HQ scoops Sheffield-set debut novel from journalist Rawlins

HQ scoops Sheffield-set debut novel from journalist Rawlins

HQ has scooped The Steel Girls, a debut novel from journalist and university lecturer Michelle Rawlins, in a three-book deal.

Commissioning editor Katie Seaman acquired world all language rights, including film and TV, from Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent Management.

Scheduled for publication in paperback original, e-book and audio in April 2021, The Steel Girls is the first in a historical series.

According to the publisher, it "follows the stories of Nancy, Betty and Patty who are conscripted to work in the local steelworks to do their bit for the war effort. Starting off as strangers, they quickly forge an unbreakable bond of friendship as they vow to keep the foundry fires burning during wartime.

"The series is inspired by the experiences of the forgotten heroines who became the backbone of Sheffield’s steel industry during the Second World War, and were only formally recognised recently, after nearly 70 years, thanks to a successful campaign to commemorate their vital contribution with a statue in the city centre.”

Rawlins is the author of non-fiction work Women of Steel, which was published by Headline in June 2020. She now combines writing with teaching journalism at the University of Sheffield.

She said: “Having made Sheffield my home after leaving university I feel so proud to be living in the shadow of the awe-inspiring, feisty factory sisters. I’m absolutely delighted to be immortalising them in fiction and tremendously excited to be working with Katie and all the team at HQ.”

Seaman added: “I am thrilled to be publishing Michelle’s first novel which is based on the extraordinary experiences of women during the Second World War. In these strange times we find ourselves in, this story about overcoming adversity, doing your bit during a national crisis and the strong bonds of friendship that can see you through tough times feels incredible timely.”