Orion has acquired a debut novel by Northern Writer's Award-winning author Sarah Dunnakey.
Laura Gerrard, commissioning editor for Orion Fiction, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Companion from Lucy Luck at Aitken Alexander, to publish in hardback and e-book in May 2017.
The Companion flits between 1932 and 2015 following the story of Bill Shaw. We encounter him first as a 12-year-old boy in the Pennines, when he is called on to be the companion to "untamed" Jasper Harper - whose mother and uncle, Charles and Edie, are found dead four years later in a ruled double suicide. In 2015, documents pointing to inconsistencies in the accepted story are unearthed and questions asked.
Gerrard said: "I fell for The Companion the moment I started reading it. There are so many things to love about this wonderful story, from the characters and the setting of the wild Yorkshire moors, to the utterly absorbing mystery at its heart. Sarah’s writing is beautiful and I am delighted to welcome her to Orion."
Dunnakey added: "I am thrilled that The Companion has found a home at Orion, and excited to be working with Laura Gerrard. I'm immensely looking forward to Billy and Anna and the world of Potter’s Pleasure Palace being introduced to readers."
Dunnakey writes and verifies questions and answers for quiz shows including Mastermind, University Challenge and Pointless. She has an honours degree in History and has previously worked as a librarian, an education officer in a Victorian cemetery and an oral history interviewer. In 2014 she won a Northern Writer's Award, from New Writing North after submitting part of The Companion.