Myriad Editions has signed a literary debut set in the "Mad Men" era, by Guardian contributor Benjamin Johncock.
The publisher bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to The Last Pilot from agent Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann.
The Last Pilot begins in the Mojave Desert during the late 1940s, where US Air Force test pilots are racing to break the sound barrier. By the 1960s, the space race is underway and the pilots are offered a place in history as the world’s first astronauts. Among these is Jim Harrison, whose young family is thrown into crisis as he faces a decision that will affect the course of the rest of his life.
Myriad fiction editor Holly Ainley said: “We are thrilled to be publishing this beautifully written and complex novel. Benjamin is a passionate and inspiring writer, and his intimate knowledge of the era provides the perfect setting for his moving study of Harrison – a man tested to the limits, physically and mentally.”
Norwich-based Johncock is assistant producer of Literary Death Match London and a member of the editorial board for The Letters Page. He writes regularly for the Guardian and is a tutor at Faber Academy. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant, the American Literary Merit Award and won Comma Press’s National Short Story Day competition in 2012. This is his first novel.
Myriad will publish The Last Pilot in July 2015 to coincide with the publication of the US edition by Picador.