Transworld has acquired a debut novel by North Derbyshire primary school teacher Mandy Berriman called Hometime.
The book is narrated by Jesika, who is four-and-a-half years-old and lives with her mother and baby brother in a run-down flat, their health threatened by damp while a private landlord threatens eviction. Described by Transworld as "extraordinarily compelling" and "a joyous celebration of a child’s love for her mum", it also explores themes of friendship, poverty and prejudice.
Susanna Wadeson, who acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the novel from Jo Unwin at JULA Ltd, said: "Jesika is magnificent – feisty and fully formed. We all found ourselves talking about her as if she was marching around in front of us. Writing a novel from such a young child’s point of view is an incredibly difficult trick to pull off but Mandy has nailed a voice and a character that is so authentic, so totally vivid and alive, she makes you want to laugh out loud, and breaks your heart all at once. Jesika is a glorious reminder of what really matters in life."
Berriman said: "I am so thrilled to have Hometime published by people who care as deeply about Jesika as I do. And Jesika is delighted too, and just a little bit impatient to share her story with the world."
Unwin said: "Transworld is a loving and committed home for a story about a small girl who desperately needs one. And for an exceptional debut author who has many, many more stories to tell."
Hometime will be published by Doubleday in early 2018.