Sceptre has acquired Threads of Life by Clare Hunter: a history of sewing and embroidery told through the stories of men and women who, over the centuries and across continents, have used "the language of sewing" to make their voices heard.
In what is her first acquisition at Sceptre, editorial director Juliet Brooke acquired world rights through Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates to publish spring 2019.
According to Sceptre, Threads of Life is "as much about identity, protest, memory and politics as craft and artistry".
Blending memoir, history and understanding of crafts, its content will encompass: the political storytelling of the Bayeux tapestry’s anonymous nuns; Mary, Queen of Scots’ treasonous embroideries; the samplers of WWI soldiers suffering from PTSD and the banner-makers at Greenham Common. Stories it includes stretch from medieval France to 1980s America, and from a WWII POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland.
Its author, Hunter, had an early career in theatre, then in community arts, but the Miners’ Strike of 1984 led her to banner making. She has now been a banner-maker, community textile artist and textile curator for over 20 years, and established the community enterprise NeedleWorks in Glasgow. She was a finalist of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2017 and was also awarded a Creative Scotland Award in 2016.
She is also the official banner consultant for Processions, a mass participation artwork of celebratory marches parading 100 banners in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on 10th June 2018 to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage.
Brooke said: "I’m delighted to welcome Clare Hunter to Sceptre. She is an exceptional writer with a deft touch. She expertly blends memoir, history and a unique understanding of craft in this evocative, moving book about the need we all have to tell our story. I couldn’t think of a better book to embody the spirit of the books I want to publish at Sceptre."
Hunter added: "I am thrilled to have Juliet Brooke as my editor and Sceptre as my publisher. I know that their hearts are with me in bringing to light little known stories of sewing – poignant, funny, eccentric, courageous – to stir our spirits and remind us just how creative people can be, even in the direst of circumstances."