Octopus has announced Jake Lingwood’s new imprint, named Monoray, will launch with a manifesto for change by MP Jess Phillips and a military memoir about rescuing ISIS brides.
Lingwood left his role as publisher and deputy m.d. of Penguin Random House’s Ebury division last October, later announcing he would start an Octopus non-fiction imprint specialising in first-person narratives.
Today (10th April) Octopus revealed the imprint would be called Monoray, saying each title would have a highly distinctive author voice and first-person experience at its heart.
“Monoray is about focus, focus, focus,” explained Lingwood. “Every single book promises to be distinct, relevant and pack a punch.
“Our authors have lived every moment of the stories they want to tell, and the first two share a similar fearless confidence that makes them perfect for launching the Monoray list.”
Explaining the name, he said: "For me, Monoray sums up the simplicity and clarity of message that you get from all the best publishing. Books that know exactly what they are. There is a clear, straight-ahead direction about Monoray which we love – and hopefully, like the books, it’s distinctive and fresh too. Plus, I definitely think it sounds cool."
The first title, coming this July, will be Operation Jihadi Bride: The Deadly Mission to Save Young Women from ISIS by ex-British Army soldier, John Carney.
Described as “shocking and thought-provoking” it sees Carney explain how he ran behind enemy lines for three years to extract hundreds of women and children from the terror group, delivering them to the authorities for fair trial and deradicalisation. Lingwood secured world English rights for the title from Andrew Lownie.
Monoray will follow it up in October with Truth to Power: 7 Ways To Call Time On B.S. by Labour politician Phillips.
Promising to be “entertaining, empowering and uncompromising”, the book will offer practical help to people who want to make their voices heard but feel the odds are stacked against them. Phillips will talk about her own experiences and interview high-profile figures on the world stage who fought back. World rights for the title were bought from Laura Macdougall at United Agents.
Phillips said: “I’m really excited to be part of Jake’s new list. People often tell me they wish that they could say what they think or fight back like I do. This book will show them how and why to do it. Standing up to bullshit can come at a price, it is not always easy, but it is always worth it.”
While at Ebury, Lingwood published a string of bestselling authors including Caitlin Moran, Terry Pratchett, Simon Garfield, Dave Gorman, George Best, Steve Peters, Marie Kondo, Robbie Williams and Yotam Ottolenghi. Hachette UK c.e.o. David Shelley branded him “one of the most creative non-fiction publishers in the business”.
Monoray is the second new imprint announced by Octopus in a matter of months. In February it revealed Claudia Connal would head-up Endeavour, focusing on narrative non-fiction tackling popular science, culture, business and science.