The publisher of Irish literary magazine the Moth is to release its first novel, a children's book written by Claire Mulligan.
Rebecca O'Connor and Will Govan, co-directors of The Moth — which publishes the magazine of the same name and its junior counterpart the Caterpillar — acquired UK and Ireland rights for middle-grade novel The Hunt for David Berman directly from the author. The book will be published in paperback in May 2022.
The release is the debut novel for Mulligan, although she has published several children’s stories in the Caterpillar magazine and has written and recorded for RTE Radio 1’s "Sunday Miscellany".
The novel is a "thrilling adventure" set in 1940, which tells the story of Robert, a war-time evacuee sent to his grandparents’ Scottish farm, where he discovers a Kindertransport child, David, hiding from his cruel foster family in some caves along the coastline. Little do the duo know that an Enigma codebook was hidden in David’s suitcase before he left Germany, and the race is now on for a Nazi secret agent to find David, retrieve the codebook… and kill the boy.
Govan said: “We’ve been a fan of Claire’s writing for a while and first published her stories in the Caterpillar magazine. When we read her debut novel we were both enchanted. It’s a really gripping adventure story, with all of the makings of a literary classic, and we couldn’t let it slip through our hands.”
O'Connor added: “The early responses we’ve had to the novel – from respected and award-winning authors – have been incredible and confirm our belief that this is a very special book. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Mulligan said: “Writing The Hunt for David Berman was a joy, as it involved immersing myself in historical research, especially into the lives of children during the Second World War. Even though the book is set in the past, I believe that young readers will recognise this story’s relevance in today’s world of uncertainty and change. I am so thrilled that the Moth are publishing this book. I’ve been overwhelmed by the endorsements it has already received. I cannot wait to see it on bookshelves!”