PRH buys YA psychosis tale by WriteNow alumna

PRH buys YA psychosis tale by WriteNow alumna

PRH Children’s will next publish a book about a teenager suffering from psychosis by Emma Smith-Barton, who took part in the publisher’s WriteNow programme.

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is about a girl who has been falling apart since the death of her brother Suneel. As her behaviour spirals out of control, her grip on her sanity begins to weaken.

Editor Naomi Colthurst bought world rights in a two-book deal from Jo Unwin of the Jo Unwin Literary Agency and will publish in March 2019.

Colthurst said: “Working with Emma has been an absolute joy from start to finish – and has highlighted just how important it is that we hear about the teenage experience from as many new and diverse voices as possible. Portrayals of psychosis are so underrepresented, and Emma brings this important issue to light within a story that is as gripping as it is powerful, and as moving as it is hopeful.”

Smith-Barton, a teacher, was born in South Wales to Pakistani parents and was one of 12 authors who took part in PRH’s year-long WriteNow mentoring programme for writers from under-represented communities. Her short stories have appeared in various publications such as Mslexia and The Bristol Short Story Prize 2016 anthology (under her pseudonym for adult fiction, Amna Khokher).

“My novel explores the fine line between holding it together and falling apart, which so many of us experience in difficult times,” she said. “As a secondary school teacher, I’m only too aware of the need for young adults to have more conversations surrounding mental health and I really hope my book will ignite some important discussions.”