Penguin Children’s has acquired a YA novel from debut Glaswegian author Martin Stewart, based on an 1,800-word short story.
“It’s so rare to take a risk on such a short partial, but every word of Martin’s story 1,031 was perfect, and kept me gripped and dying to know more,” said Amy Alward, editorial director for Penguin Children's. “With an unsettling, hauntingly beautiful prose style, I was instantly put in mind of Patrick Ness and Margo Lanagan. Those magical four-and-a-half pages seduced the entire Penguin editorial team, and we just knew Martin was a writer we wanted on our lists.”
Stewart wrote the story for a challenge, set by author Simon P Clark, to celebrate Halloween by writing a short story.
His story was inspired by the real-life rivermen of the Glasgow Humane Society, who care for the waterways in and around the city.
In the novel, as yet untitled, Stewart will develop the story into a tale about a young boy who takes on the role of Riverkeep when his father is possessed by an evil spirit. When he hears that a cure for his father’s illness lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach, he embarks on a dangerous quest down the river to find the beast.
Alward acquired the world rights to the book from agent Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency. Penguin will publish in 2016.