HQ wins Stovell's small-town tale

HQ wins Stovell's small-town tale

HQ has landed Other Parents, an “astonishing” novel on small-town British life from Sarah Stovell, in a two-book deal.

Cicely Aspinall, senior commissioning editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in an exclusive submission from Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership. Other Parents will be published in hardback, e-book and audio on 3rd February 2022.

Described as a “sharp, witty and sensitive portrait of a community in crisis, and the women at the heart of it”, HQ said the book promises to do for small-town Britain what Celeste Ng has done for America and Liane Moriarty for Australia.

Its synopsis explains: “Set in a Northumbrian town where gossip is traded like currency, Other Parents follows five women at the centre of a series of scandals that rock the small community. There’s Rachel, an opinionated and outspoken mother of three and a leading specialist on medical poverty, who has just ended her marriage and moved her new girlfriend into the family home. And then there’s Laura, a single mum struggling to keep food on the table and handle the tantrums of her five-year-old son. Her biggest fear is that the other mums will find out what she does for a living. When headteacher Jo introduces a new LGBT-friendly curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on the opposite sides of a petition that threatens to involve the whole town. But while the battle lines are being drawn, no one seems to have noticed that the kids aren’t alright.”

Sarah Stovell is a lecturer in creative writing at Lincoln University and the author of four novels, including Exquisite (Orenda), which was chosen by the Times as one of the top 40 crime novels of the past 50 years.

She said: “I am delighted to have become a part of HQ, and to be working with Cicely. Her enthusiasm for the book and her ideas for it are inspiring, and I know I am in a great pair of hands.”

Aspinall added: “Other Parents tackles some incredibly dark and urgent subjects, and Sarah does that with astonishing insight and humour. Her wry observations of playground politics and small-town life, plus clever plotting, will keep you turning the pages, but it is Sarah’s ability to capture the raw emotions surrounding prejudice and trauma that will compel you to recommend Other Parents to everyone you know.”

Grünewald commented: “I’m thrilled that HQ will be publishing the phenomenal Other Parents. Sarah writes with incredible empathy and a wicked sense of humour, and with the passion and expertise of the HQ team behind it, I am certain that Other Parents will be the book everyone is talking about in 2022.”