Independent children's publisher Old Barn Books has acquired Aftershocks, a novel about grief and hope from former children’s laureate Anne Fine.
The middle-grade novel is billed as a modern fable—part ghost story, part coming-of-age novel and part astute social and family observation—which will explore the ways in which grief can affect not only individuals, but also communities at large.
Publisher Ruth Huddleston bought world English-language rights from Georgia Glover at David Higham Associates. Aftershocks will be published in hardback in September 2021.
Huddleston commented: "Aftershocks is an absorbing, atmospheric read that, like all great fiction, resonates long after the book is closed. Having admired Anne's work for many years, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to acquire this mesmerising story. The combination of great writing, powerful themes and a filmic narrative were irresistible."
Fine said: "I'm thrilled and proud to be joining Old Barn Books with my new novel, Aftershocks. Old Barn are an independent publisher with uncompromising production values and an exciting and critically acclaimed list. Over the years, I've been asked countless times to tackle the topic of grief and loss in a book for this age group; but keeping a story of that sort both emotionally ruthlessly honest, yet not dispiriting, proved impossible. Suddenly, last year, I worked out how to approach this painful and awkward topic and leave the reader both more enlightened and with robust hopes for the future. So this is a novel, above all others, very dear indeed to my own heart."
Fine has written more than 70 books for children, including two Carnegie Medal winners: Flour Babies (Little, Brown, 1994) and Goggle-Eyes (Puffin, 1990).