John Murray has signed debut novels by Oisín Fagan and Prospect magazine managing editor Sameer Rahim for its JM Originals list of fresh and distinctive new writing.
Publisher Mark Richards bought world rights for Ashgar and Zahra direct from Rahim, while editor Becky Walsh acquired world rights for Nobber by Fagan from Lucy Luck at C&W.
Asghar and Zahra is described as “a funny, sympathetic and very human novel” about a couple born in the same British Muslim community in west London whose families are rivals involved in running two different mosques. The book will be published on 13th June.
Published on 25th July, Nobber follows on from Fagan's short story collection Hostages (New Island Books). Set in 1348, the novel tells the story of a nobleman and his three serving men who converge upon the curfewed town of Nobber alongside a band of marauding Gaels. When the town's inhabitants emerge, “a deadly stand-off emerges from which no one will escape unscathed,” the synopsis says.
Richards said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the first four years of JM Originals have gone, and how quickly it has established itself as a place to find some of the most exciting literary talent around. In its fifth year, we have another great vintage, with Sameer and Oisín’s very different first novels – a contemporary social comedy and an eschatological adventure story – showing the breadth of the list.”
Walsh added: “I’m delighted to welcome Oisín to John Murray and to be publishing his debut novel on the JM Originals list in July. Oisín is a real talent and Nobber is an exuberant, darkly humorous and exhilarating read.”