Hutchinson has revealed it is publishing a posthumous collection of "powerful" short stories by Helen Dunmore, a day after the late author was given the Costa Award for Poetry.
Entitled Girl, Balancing and Other Stories, the tales, collected by Dunmore’s family shortly after her death at her suggestion, were described by her editor Selina Walker as "a wonderful testament to Helen’s skills as a master of the narrative art whether in long or short form".
Dunmore died of cancer in June 2017 at the age of 64. On Tuesday evening (2nd January) she was awarded the Costa Poetry Award for her 10th and final poetry collection with Bloodaxe Books, Inside the Wave. It focused primarily on mortality and the most recent edition of the collection features a poem written by Dunmore just days before she died called "Hold out your arms".
Stories in Girl, Balancing meanwhile explore "the fragile bond between familial love, motherhood, friendship and grief", according to Walker.
"Many too contain an unexpected twist or sting in the tail that is a joy to behold. They will delight Helen’s many fans, and I personally feel truly privileged fortunate to be publishing them," Walker added.
The collection, the first short story collection by Dunmore in 20 years, includes new work, with settings ranging between the past and present day.
Walker acquired British Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Caradoc King of United Agents and the estate of Helen Dunmore. Girl, Balancing and Other Stories will be published by Hutchinson in June 2018 and in paperback on the Windmill list.
Dunmore's son, Patrick, commented: "Helen always enjoyed writing short stories, yet hadn’t published a collection for twenty years. Before she died, she suggested to us that we might publish a selection of her stories, including some new work. Girl, Balancing brings together stories that relate to one another, exploring the ideas that inspired so much of her writing. Helen valued her readers greatly, and as a family we are very pleased to be able to share these stories with them."
Dunmore was a widely respected novelist, children’s author and poet and on the news of her death came a flood of tributes from the literary community, praising her as both an exceptional person and an exceptional writer.
She won the McKitterick Prize for debut novelists in 1994 for her first novel, Zennor in Darkness (Penguin) and the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996 for her third novel, A Spell of Winter (Penguin). Published in 2010, her 11th novel, The Betrayal, was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her final novel was Birdcage Walk (Penguin), a book about legacy and recognition and what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them. Birdcage Walk is shortlisted for the British Book Awards' Fiction Book of the Year.