Penguin Random House imprint Fig Tree is to publish the first novel by current WriteNow mentee Geraldine Quigley.
Juliet Annan, publishing director at Fig Tree, acquired world rights to Music Love Drugs War which tells the story of a group of teenagers and their families in Derry in 1981.
The friends’ interests are music, love, drink and drugs but some of them will become increasingly consumed by the ongoing war going on around them. Music Love Drugs War will be published in Spring 2019.
Quigley lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, and works full time in a call centre earning minimum wage. She applied to WriteNow as a way to "try to get her voice – one which represents working class women – to be better heard", said the publisher.
Annan said: “This is a novel that is full of heart: it is moving and funny, it is so touching about this group of friends and their families, and it’s such an amazingly observant portrait of a time and place that you can imagine yourself there at that time and in that place.”
Quigley added: "Working with Juliet has been a privilege. With her guidance, I have been encouraged to tell the story of a different time, with as much humour and truth as I could manage. It is a tale of family, friendship, and being young in difficult times, of making the wrong choices for the right reasons."
Working with Annan for the past six months in a mentoring capacity, Quigley feels that the programme has developed her skills and confidence as a storyteller: “WriteNow told me that I am a writer and that my work is important. They made themselves completely accessible, and for me that access has shown us that publishers and publishing can and should be for everyone,” she said.
WriteNow is a PRH mentoring scheme which aims to find and publish new writers who are under-represented in books and publishing.
Quigley is the second WriteNow mentee to be offered a publishing contract, following the acquisition of Charlene Allcott by Francesca Best of Transworld last week.