Fiona Kennedy, publisher of Head of Zeus's new children's imprint Zephyr, has made her first acquisitions, buying a standalone novel by Lauren St John and two books from Ghanaian-British filmmaker Yaba Badoe.
Kennedy published St John previously in her former role as m.d. and publisher at Orion Children's Books. The new novel, for which Kennedy bought world rights from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates, is called The Snow Angel, and is set in both Africa and the Scottish highlands, telling the story of a Kenyan girl who embarks on a quest for a place she can call home. The book will be illustrated by artist Catherine Hyde, and published in October.
Kennedy said: "Working with Lauren is always a delight and a privilege. I’m so happy she entrusted me with The Snow Angel, which has all the hallmarks of an instant classic, for Zephyr’s first list. This is a beautiful book in every way, one that readers will treasure and return to time and again."
St John, who grew up on a game reserve in Zimbabwe, said: "The Snow Angel is about the world’s forgotten children, the power of nature to heal and connect, and about the ties that bind us all. I’m thrilled that Fiona and Zephyr will be publishing it."
Meanwhile Kennedy has bought world rights to novel A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, and a second untitled novel, by Yaba Badoe from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander. Decribed as a "powerful and haunting contemporary debut", A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars mixes the horrors of people-trafficking with the magic of African fairytale and folklore. Badoe has previously written a novel for adults, True Murder, published in 2009 by Jonathan Cape, but this is her first book for children and is aimed at readers of 12 and above.
Kennedy said: "Yaba’s writing is truly memorable - rich in the rhythms and colours of Africa and glittering circus days, unflinching in its dark revelations about life. Her voice, imagination and story-telling mark an exceptional debut and sets the bar high for Zephyr. I’m excited to welcome her to the list and to work with her."
Head of Zeus will publish A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars in September.