Muswell Press has acquired The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom, for publication in February 2022.
The publisher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, from Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency.
The synopsis reads: "When a giant sperm whale washes up on the local beach and tells Joe Gunner that death will follow him wherever he goes, Joe knows that the place he needs to go is back home. Having stormed out two years ago, it won’t be easy, nor will returning to the river alongside the house where words ripple beneath the muddy black water, washing up all sorts of memories and disturbing prophesies. Joe turns to his sister, Birdee, the only person who has ever listened. But she can't help him—she drowned two years earlier. Though he still talks to her as if she never went away. Then there’s Tim Fysh, a local fisherman and long-time lover. But reviving their bond is not without trouble."
Matt Bates, editor-at-large, commented: "From the moment I started The Whale Tattoo, I knew I was reading something extraordinary. That it is a debut made it even more astonishing. With assured narrative, a vivid sense of place and atmosphere, and flint-sharp dialogue, Jon Ransom has written a novel that is bleak and brutal, but never sentimental, and it is these characteristics which make The Whale Tattoo so utterly authentic—and so cruelly beautiful."
Ransom said: "I’m absolutely chuffed The Whale Tattoo has found its home with Muswell Press. They are doing amazing things with their LGBTQI list, and I couldn’t ask for a more brilliant team to work with."
Ransom was a mentee on the 2019 Escalator Talent Development scheme at the National Centre for Writing. He developed The Whale Tattoo at Arvon’s Fiction: Work in Progress retreat, after winning a place on the 2018 Arts Council England TLC Free Read Scheme.