John Murray Press has signed books from Elizabeth Wong, Kevin Doherty and Robert Hamberger, to be published this summer on the JM Originals list. Two of the authors have come through Hachette's Future Bookshelf scheme for underrepresented authors.
Editor Becky Walsh acquired world rights to Irish debut Penny Baps by Doherty (pictured, top) from Lucy Luck at C+W. Scheduled for publication on 10th June, it is the story of two brothers during their last summer at home on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, before one leaves for university.
Two of the books, A Length of Road by the Polari-shortlisted poet Hamberger (pictured, below left) and We Could Not See the Stars by Wong, were signed through the Future Bookshelf, a Hachette UK Changing the Story initiative set up to help and discover unpublished authors from underrepresented backgrounds. World rights to Hamberger's were acquired directly by John Murray editor Kate Craige from the author, while Walsh bought world rights to We Could Not See the Stars from Wong direct.
Coming on 24th June, Hamberger's A Length of Road is part memoir, part nature writing, part biography of poet John Clare, exploring class, gender, grief and sexuality. It is only the second non-fiction offering from JM Originals.
Wong's We Could Not See the Stars will be published on 8th June as JM Original’s first speculative novel. It is about a young man who must leave his sleepy fishing village and journey to a far-flung island to discover the truth about his mother.
Additionally, JM Originals will choose future book covers from a shortlist of submissions from University of Brighton and Liverpool Art students, while partnerships are in the process of being established with numerous UK-wide literary organisations, bookshops and writing schools.
Walsh said: “Since its launch, JM Originals has gone from strength to strength, with many of our books winning prizes and garnering brilliant reviews... JM Originals has always been about investing in authors, and our hope for our writers is that being published on the list is the first step in their publishing journey.”
Craigie added: “Over the last few years, JM Originals has been incredibly successful in its fiction publishing—with more brilliant novels and short story collections lined up for this and future years—but we also have some exciting non-fiction on the list, and are actively seeking out more experimental writing: memoirs, biographies, essays etc. Having been involved in Hachette’s the Future Bookshelf scheme since it launched, I am really thrilled that two of this year’s books have come to us through the programme.”
Launched in 2015 as a list that would champion distinctive, experimental, genre-defying writing, JM Originals is now in its seventh year.