New Nick Hornby and Will Self novels

New Nick Hornby and Will Self novels

New books from Nick Hornby and Will Self will be released by Penguin General this year.

Hornby [pictured] will move away from the contemporary settings of his previous novels for Miss Blackpool, which is set in the 1960s. Described as a “romantic comedy with a bittersweet twist”, Miss Blackpool follows the fortunes of the stars and production team of a TV series called Wedded Bliss.

The heroine of the show and the novel is a young woman from Blackpool – stage name Sophie, real name Barbara. She wins her home town's beauty contest and sets out for London determined to become a TV comedy star, and gets her big break on the show. But real life isn't a comedy series, and marriage isn't always blissful.

Penguin said: “Miss Blackpool is in many respects vintage Nick Hornby: great characters including strong women and slightly hopeless men; a lot of bittersweet jokes; and abundant references to popular culture. But for the first time we have a period setting. This is Swinging London, where the BBC is beginning to stir out of its Leithian torpor, and everybody's favourite comedy star is Lucille Ball.”

Also releasing a new book this year is Self, whose Shark features psychiatrist Zack Busner, a character who has appeared in previous works by Self including the novels Umbrella (Bloomsbury) and The Book of Dave (Penguin).

Shark focuses on an actual incident in the Second World War when the ship which had delivered the fissile material to the south Pacific to be dropped on Hiroshima was subsequently sunk by a Japanese submarine with the loss of 900 men, including 200 killed in the largest shark attack ever recorded.

Penguin said: “When Creep, an American resident in the 1970s at the therapeutic community in north London supervised by psychiatrist Zack Busner, starts to tell rambling stories of thrashing about in the water while under attack from sharks, Busner has to decide whether they are schizoid delusions or some sort of reality.”

Shark will be released in September, and Miss Blackpool in November. Prices and formats have not yet been released.