Sharmaine Lovegrove has announced her first four acquisitions for new imprint Dialogue Books, including a crime thriller set in West London's Asian community and a speculative debut about a lesbian couple trailing female-to-female conception.
Lovegrove - who joined Little, Brown to launch the new stand-alone imprint dedicated to inclusivity in July - bought the books within the space of three months, scoring a hat-trick of acquisitions on one day.
Western Fringes by Amer Anwar is set in West London and follows Zaq Khan, newly released from prison and working in a builders' yard, who becomes entangled in a search for his boss' runaway daughter. It quickly becomes apparent things aren't all to do with family arguments and arranged marriages as he finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.
World rights were acquired from agent Jane Gregory, to publish on 6th September 2018 as a £7.99 paperback original and e-book.
Angela Chadwick's debut XX imagines what would happen to society if an IVF technique enabling two women to have a child became available. At its heart is the story of two women, Jules and Rosie, who take part in the first human trial amid a shrill national debate and ensuing media storm.
Lovegrove acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in the book from Cara Lee Simpson at Jonathan Clowes, to publish on 4th October 2018 as a £12.99 hardback and e-book.
Two more titles acquired by Lovegrove are One More Chance by Lucy Ayrton, telling the story of an inmate in a London prison, and Cygnet by Season Butler, a coming-of-age story set in an ageing, dying community.
One More Chance depicts "a fascinatingly authentic world of female friendships, gang etiquette, drug addiction, therapy groups and even the lively prison hair salon - in a way that places a mirror up to us all, and engrosses us in a plot full of jeopardy, suspense and adventure". Its protagonist is Dani, a girl who went a bit wild in her teens and became gripped by drug addiction, for whom readers root for her rehabilitation and desire to prove herself to her daughter and be able to bring her out of care.
UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired from Laetitia Rutherford at Watson, Little. It will publish on 28th June as a £12.99 trade paperback and e-book.
In Cygnet, Butler tells a coming-of-age story in which the book's female narrator turns 18 years-old on an island exclusively occupied by "oldsters". According to Little, Brown, it shows a young girl "resisting the savagery of adulthood as a dying community rejects the promise of youth" and, in praising the "highly original" book, poet and author Blake Morrison said he hadn't been so captivated by a first-person voice since Holden Caulfield.
UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired from Emma Paterson at RCW, to publish on 8th November 2018 as a £14.99 hardback and e-book.
Lovegrove commented: “In choosing these first four acquisitions, it inspired me to realise Dialogue Books is about stories that can spark a conversation and that each story on the list in its own right has an important place within our culture for telling a story of our time."