Quercus imprint riverrun has acquired Testament, an historical fiction debut novel by Kim Sherwood, winner of the Bath Novel Award.
Rose Tomaszewska bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Susan Armstrong at C&W, to publish as a "lead" riverrun title in July 2018.
According to the imprint, Testament is "beautifully written" as well as "moving and hopeful". Sherwood began writing Testament after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away. In the same year, her grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time, providing seeds for her story.
The book's plot follows a young woman, Eva, who discovers the testimony her grandfather gave after surviving the death camps in Austria. Through the story that emerges of his life as a refugee in Britain, and Eva’s journey through Europe as it edges towards extremism, Sherwood examines atrocity and bereavement, and how we learn to live afterwards.
Sherwood said: "I am thrilled to become part of the riverrun story with Rose Tomaszewska as my editor. The whole riverrun team has welcomed me, and I am hugely gratified to meet people with such enthusiasm for my debut novel, especially given Jon Riley’s amazing career in publishing. Testament explores the impact of the Holocaust today, and I am so pleased to find an editor and publisher who share my interest in interweaving the historical and the contemporary, the political and the personal."
Agent Armstrong called Testament an "exceptional" debut that blew her away, while editor Tomaszewska hailed its author an inspiration.
"The first time I read Testament I knew it was not only special, but truly important," said Tomaszewska. "Here is a novel that has the power to articulate grief on both ordinary and extraordinary scales, to make some sense of the fractures that families – and whole nations – still suffer as a result of the war. Kim is not only intelligent and compassionate as a writer; she has been inspiring to work with."
Sherwood, from Camden, now based in Bath, studied on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, before going on to teach creative writing at UEA, the University of Sussex, and currently at the University of the West of England.