Penguin Random House Children’s is to publish radio presenter Simon Mayo’s debut YA novel, Blame, this summer.
Editorial director Kelly Hurst acquired world rights in all languages, electronic and audio, from Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge and White Literary Agency, as part of a three-book deal.
Mayo said: "When things go bad, it always helps if we can pretend it’s someone else's fault. This book is what happens when we run out of people to blame. It's the story of 16-year-old Ant and her 11-year-old brother Mattie, locked up in Britain's first family prison. Ant might not be everyone's idea of a hero, but she's all we've got."
In the world of Blame people can be sent to prison for the unpunished crimes of their parents or grandparents, which results in innocent adults and children being locked up alongside hardened criminals. We meet Ant and her brother Mattie in the new family prison where tensions are about to bubble over. Ant must "take a stand and fight, not just for her and Mattie, but for every innocent person who’s been unfairly sentenced, to show they are not to blame for society’s problems".
Hurst said: “Simon Mayo has written a fantastically tense and unusual thriller with a heroine you can’t help rooting for. Sending entire families to prison is a scenario that seems all too possible in today’s world and Simon explores this theme with great flair as well as lots of very exciting action. His fans will love it.”
Mayo is a radio presenter who has worked on BBC radio since 1981 and is currently presenter of ‘Drivetime’ on BBC Radio 2, which features the regular ‘Book Club Show’. He is also the author of children's series Itch (Corgi Childrens) which is for younger readers. The latest in the series Itchcraft was published in 2014.