Virago acquires Mackay memoir and backlist

Virago acquires Mackay memoir and backlist

Virago has acquired a memoir by Shena Mackay, plus the writer’s entire backlist.

Publisher Lennie Goodings bought world rights to the books from David Miller at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Mackay published her first book, written when she was a teenager, at the age of 20 and has since written 15 works of fiction, including the 1996 Booker Prize-shortlisted The Orchard on Fire (Vintage).

Now aged 70, Mackay is writing her memoir.

Mackay was born in Edinburgh, and she left school at 16 when her family was living in London. Her writing life began after she won a poetry prize run by the Daily Mirror.

She now lives in Southampton, from where she is writing her memoir.

Goodings said: “Some of Shena Mackay’s early novels were for a time in the 1990s in the Virago Modern Classics, so it feels wonderful and right to welcome her back. She is an extraordinary fiction writer, she reminds me in some ways of Angela Carter, but she has her own particular view on what makes human beings behave in the strange way we do. She’s funny and always surprising. What I hadn’t quite realised before was what a fabulously interesting life she’s led since aged 20.  I like the idea of a woman in her 70s showing young people today what exuberant, fascinating times she’s had. And I know she’ll write it with her usual wit, wryness and sly wisdom.”

All of Mackay’s novels and short stories will be published as Virago Modern Classics by editorial director Donna Coonan.

A hardback collection of stories by Mackay will be released in November 2015, with the memoir published in 2016. The backlist of 15 books will be released as Virago Modern Classics and e-books “gradually”.