Little Toller to release raft of debuts and first picture book

Little Toller to release raft of debuts and first picture book

Independent publisher Little Toller Books is publishing a number of debut authors over the next two years, and will also release its first children's picture book.

The Dorset-based published won Small Press of the Year for the South West at the British Book Awards this year and launched Dara McAnulty's Diary of a Young Naturalist, which won the Wainwright Prize and Narrative Non-fiction Book of the Year at the Nibbies this year. The press also opened a bookshop in the town of Beaminster, in Dorset, last year.

The first debut author to be published in the new schedule is filmmaker and writer Davina Quinlivan, whose book Shalimar is described by the publisher as an "astonishingly assured and poetic memoir" about migration and making a home, from India and Burma to London, the home counties and Devon.

This will be followed by another debut,, the story of Reuben Coe and his elder brother, Manni (both pictured top). Reuben has Down’s Syndrome and had not spoken for several months when Manni decided to take him out of a home for specialised care. Their memoir of resilience and repair, set in the Dorset countryside, told in words by Manni and pictures by Reuben, is described by the publisher as a "story for our times: one that explores what it means to care for the people we love and asks how, as a society, we can take better care of each other".

Elowen by William Henry Searle is published later in 2022 and reflects on the grief that he and his wife Amy experienced after losing their baby, Elowen, a few days before their due date. It describes how the natural world sustained them and in particular the silence and attentiveness of tracking wolves in the forests of Sweden.

This will be followed by A Loveliness of Ladybirds, a debut by the Kenyan anthropologist and author J C Niala, whose account of community renewal in a Kenyan slum, through gardening and farming, combines colonial and family history to create an "intimate and fresh perspective on our relationship with the earth".

Archie’s Apple will be Little Toller’s first children’s book. A picture book by Hannah Shuckburgh and Octavia McKenzie, it is based on a true story of a five-year-old boy who discovers a new variety of apple while out walking.

Combined with books for 2021, such as Pamela Petro’s The Long Field, John Burnside’s Aurochs and Auks, the paperback of Jeff Young’s Costa-shortlisted Ghost Town and the continuing hardback reissues of Richard Mabey’s nature books, co-owner Gracie Cooper described the publishing programme as "the busiest, and most inspiring period we have ever seen".

Commenting on the line-up, she said the titles are "truly groundbreaking, both in the subject matter and the diversity of authors, with a truly international flavour".