New novels from Ali Smith and Zadie Smith coming this year

New novels from Ali Smith and Zadie Smith coming this year

Penguin Random House announced at its conference in Birmingham yesterday (25th February) it will be publishing novels from both Ali Smith and Zadie Smith this year.

Ali Smith, winner of the Costa novel award 2014, is embarking on an "ambitious series" of four seasonal novels, and multi-award winning author Zadie Smith is publishing a new novel. Both will be released under PRH imprint Hamish Hamilton.

Autumn is the first in Ali Smith's "shape-shifting" series, named Seasonal. It will be "wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories", according to Penguin, with each novel in the quartet to be named after a season.

Autumn is described as "an unconventional love story playing across the boundaries of time and history" that will fuse "Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art - via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery". The novel is pitched as a "stripped-branches take on popular culture" and "a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means".

The novels will be "standalone" but "interconnected and cyclical" like the seasons, with the aim of "exploring what time is, how we experience it". The other three novels will be released "over the coming years", say publishers.

Simon Prosser, publishing director of Hamish Hamilton, acquired British and Commonwealth rights from Tracy Bohan at the Wylie Agency. Hamish Hamilton will publish in hardback, export edition and e-book on 24th August 2016, priced £16.99.

Zadie Smith's new novel, called Swing Time, meanwhile, is described as "a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots", moving between North West London and West Africa. 

Smith is the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton), The Autograph Man (Hamish Hamilton), On Beauty (Penguin), NW (Penguin) and the essay collection Changing My Mind (Penguin).

Her new book is about two "brown girls" who dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas "about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free". The book follows the girls' "close but complicated childhood friendship" that ends "abruptly" in their early twenties - "never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…"

UK and Commonwealth rights were secured through Georgia Garrett at AP Watt.  It will be published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK and with Penguin Press in the US.

The book will be published in winter 2016 in hardback, e-book and export editions, priced £18.99