Sceptre buys musical debut

Sceptre buys musical debut

Sceptre editorial director Drummond Moir has acquired a literary debut by 34-year-old poet and violinist Anna Smaill, titled The Chimes.

World rights were pre-empted from Will Francis at Janklow and Nesbit. Foreign rights will be handled by the Hodder & Stoughton rights team, which said it has already seen strong interest from foreign publishers.

Moir said of the “stunning" debut: “There is just so much I love about it: the wonderful characters and their unique musical dialect; Anna’s reimagining of London, at once familiar and sinister…Most striking of all, though, is Anna’s prose. Her background as a musician and poet imbues her language with a rich, tense power. It sparkles, leaps and soars, captivates and moves, disturbs and inspires, and ultimately transports you to a whole other place from which you emerge feeling vastly more alive.”

In The Chimes, memory in itself is forbidden by the Order, whose vast musical instrument, the Carillon, renders the population amnesiac. Set in a reimagined London, the book introduces Simon, an orphaned young man who discovers he has a gift that could change all of this forever. Slowly, inexplicably, Simon is beginning to remember. He and his friend Lucien will eventually travel to the Order’s stronghold in Oxford, where they learn that nothing they ever believed about their world is true.

Smaill left formal musical training to pursue poetry and undertook an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University of Wellington. Her first book of poetry, The Violinist in Spring, was published by Victoria University Press in 2005. After completing a PhD at UCL and lecturing in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire, she currently lives in New Zealand and supervises MA students in Creative Writing for the IIML.

Sceptre will publish The Chimes in 2015.