Little, Brown Book Group is launching a new standalone literary fiction and non-fiction imprint called Fleet.
To launch in May 2016, Fleet is intended to be a “responsive” imprint spearheaded by acquisitions editor Ursula Doyle, who will be its publisher, reporting to m.d. Charlie King.
Doyle, presently associate publisher for Virago, will publish six to eight originals a year under the Fleet imprint in the form of paperbacks and e-books. It launches in May with four titles, including the paperback edition of Early One Morning by Virginia Baily, a top-10 bestseller in hardback for Virago. Its other launch titles (hardback) are Only in Naples, a “warm-hearted, inspiring account" of a young American woman falling in love in Naples by Katherine Wilson; war novel Now and Again by Charlotte Rogan, the acclaimed author of The Lifeboat (Virago); and a “dazzling memoir” Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, cited as “one of the most gifted scientists of her generation”.
Doyle said: “This is a brilliant opportunity. I chose the name Fleet because Fleet Street is just around the corner from the Hachette offices, and I love the resonance of the name and its long-standing association with print. And of course I hope the word’s other meaning will reflect our publishing – fleet of foot, alert, responsive. I look forward to building a varied, lively and engaging list of new and existing authors whose work will be published with enthusiasm, focus and determination. The range will be broad, both fiction and non-fiction, and I am delighted to be launching with the best of both in May 2016.”
Little, Brown Book Group’s managing director Charlie King added: “Ursula is one of the very best acquiring editors in the business, and everyone at L,BBG is thrilled to be working with her on the launch of her own imprint. Ursula and I have been colleagues for many years, both at Picador and for the last seven years in her role as associate publisher for Virago, and I have always admired her vision, passion, range and – most importantly – her unerring eye for intelligent, high-quality books that have bestselling potential. Her track record speaks for itself, and we could not be more excited about Fleet, a list that will complement Little, Brown’s other literary imprints and carve out its own unique place in the market.”
Over the course of her career, Doyle has published a wide range of successful novels, including Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (Picador), Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife (Virago) and Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs (Virago). She has also published bestselling non-fiction, among which are Jon Ronson’s first book, Them: Adventures with Extremists (Picador) and Dave Eggers’s memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Picador). She left Pan Macmillan as deputy editor for Picador in 2008 to join Virago, where she was promoted to associate publisher in 2011.
“Literary imprints are driven by the vision of their acquiring editors," David Shelley, c.e.o of L,BBG and Orion, said. "Having her own imprint will enable Ursula to focus on acquiring and publishing some of the best authors at work today.”
Two new acquisitions announced for the list are A Hope More Powerful than the Sea by Melissa Fleming and an as yet untitled memoir by journalist Suzanne Moore.
In A Hope More Powerful than the Sea, Flemming, who is head of communications and chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tells the story of Doaa, a Syrian refugee who in 2015 was crammed on to a fishing boat with 500 others setting sail for Europe - of which only 11 survived. UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein for the title, which is to be released in autumn 2016.
Moore's memoir meanwhile will reflect on “what freedom looks like in middle age”, based on her own experiences. She will use stories from her upbringing in Ipswich, to her jobs at a range of publications (Marxism Today, the Mail on Sunday), to her experience of motherhood and bereavement, to illustrate her ideas about "what liberation actually means". UK & Commonwealth rights were acquired from Becky Thomas at Johnson and Alcock, for the title which will be published in autumn 2017.
The new imprint's Twitter handle is @FleetReads.