John Murray acquires Irish reimagining of Homer's Iliad

John Murray acquires Irish reimagining of Homer's Iliad

John Murray is publishing Michael Hughes' "vivid, funny and brutal" reimagining of Homer's Iliad, set at the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s.

Country is said to explore "the brutal glory of armed conflict, and the bitter tragedy of those on both sides who offer their lives to defend the honour of their country". It will be published in the UK on 9th August 2018, the same month that Hamish Hamilton publishes Pat Barker's Iliad retelling, The Silence of the Girls.

Mark Richards, publisher of John Murray, acquired world English rights to Country from Chris Wellbelove, now at Aitken Alexander, while he was still at Greene and Heaton.

Richards said: "Country is an astonishing re-imagining of the Iliad set in the Northern Ireland of the 90s: taking both the architecture of that poem – of a conflict fought at such close hand that enemies are also seen as fellow humans – and the voice, which updates a Homeric bard to an Irish storyteller, it is a bravura piece of work: hugely powerful, frequently funny and very moving. And at a time when Northern Ireland is back in the news for the wrong reasons, it’s a reminder of what is at stake."

The book follows Hughes' first novel, The Countenance Divine, which was published by John Murray in 2016. Hughes previously worked for many years as an actor (under the professional name Michael Colgan) and he also teaches creative writing.