LONDON (15th July, 2008) - Blue Door, the new imprint of the Press Books division of HarperCollins, today announces its first three major acquisitions. They are: The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry; Rachel Trezise’s Sixteen Shades of Crazy and, after a fiercely contested auction, a spy-thriller trilogy by Daily Telegraph Weekend section editor, Jon Stock.
John Bond, Managing Director of Press Books, said: “Blue Door was always going to be about Patrick’s unique, eclectic taste for potential bestsellers, and these books fit the bill perfectly. I’m thrilled he has made such an aggressively acquisitive start.”
Publisher Patrick Janson-Smith of HarperCollins’ Press Books division has secured world English Language rights to Anne Berry’s debut novel, The Hungry Ghosts from agent Judith Murdoch. The novel is set primarily in Hong Kong in the 1960s, telling the story of Alice Safford, unloved and unwanted third girl in a family of four siblings. When the angry ghost of a young Chinese rape victim takes possession of her, Alice is set on a relentless and poignant path of self-destruction. Her story unfolds against a background of colonial unrest, riots, extremes of weather and the countdown to the return of the colony to China. As successive tragedies engulf her, Alice flees to England, then France, in a bid to escape the past. It seems the peace she longs for is to prove far more elusive than she could ever have imagined.
Patrick Janson-Smith said: “I have been biding my time, waiting for the right book to come along, and this is it, an absolute stunner of a novel: a family saga with magical-realist overlays, beautifully written and compulsively readable: as good as The Lovely Bones or your money back! It’s the dream book with which to launch the list in June next year.”
Anne Berry was born in Aden and moved to Hong Kong when she was six. She has worked as a journalist for the South China Morning Post, as a professional actress, a drama and English teacher and speech therapist. Married with four children, she now lives in Surrey.
Sixteen Shades of Crazy by Rachel Trezise (winner of the EDS Dylan Thomas Prize for her short story collection, Fresh Apples) was acquired from Broo Doherty at Wade & Doherty with UK and Commonwealth rights. It will be published in early 2010.
Janson-Smith said: “This will do for Cardiff what Trainspotting did for Edinburgh. Rachel Trezise is the genuine article, possessed of a beguilingly original voice, writing about the underbelly of society with both insight and humour.”
Rachel Trezise was born in the Rhondda Valley in 1978. Her novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2002. Harpers & Queen magazine voted her New Face of Literature, 2003.
Finally, Blue Door emerged triumphant from a five-way auction, conducted by Claire Paterson of Janklow & Nesbit UK, for a spy thriller trilogy by Jon Stock, the first novel of which is Dead Spy Running. World English language volume rights have been acquired and plans are to publish in July 2009.
Patrick Janson-Smith, was in Paris, outside the famous Rive Gauche literary café, Les Deux Magots, when the good news came through: “Dead Spy Running is one of the classiest thrillers I have read in ages, with an opening scene at the London Marathon that sheer takes your breath away. Jon Stock is right up there with the masters of the genre. He has a great future ahead of him.”
Jon Stock is currently editor of the Weekend section of the Daily Telegraph. He previously worked in New Delhi for two years, as foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and has also lived in Cochin, Kerala. He has written two books, both of them spy novels: The Riot Act (1997) and The Cardamom Club (2003). The Riot Act was shortlisted by the Crime Writers' Association for best first novel award.
Blue Door also unveils their new logo today, designed by Press Books’ Jo Walker. According to Janson-Smith it is: “stylish, distinctive and delightfully not the obvious door-and-handle solution. It was Jo’s first idea but as soon as we saw it, we knew we didn’t need to look any further.”
Issued by: Siobhan Kenny
020 8307 4507
Note to Editors:
• Press Books is part of HarperCollins UK, the most diverse major book publishing group in the country. It publishes a wider range of books than any other publisher, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction, to block-busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics. It also publishes a great selection of non-fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books with a thriving digital business especially in reference and education. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins publishes some of the world’s foremost authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michael Crichton, Paulo Coelho, J G Ballard, Doris Lessing, Frank McCourt, Annie Proulx, Jonathan Franzen, Nigel Slater, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Morpurgo and Dean Koontz. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, J RR Tolkien and C S Lewis. It currently publishes around 1500 books a year and was the first major UK trade publisher to go carbon neutral in December 2007.
• HC UK and International is responsible for the UK and Ireland, India, Australia and New Zealand and is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the leading English-language book publishers in the world, with operations in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. HarperCollins Publishers is a wholly-owned division of News Corporation, the media conglomerate and parent of Times Newspapers Ltd, British Sky Broadcasting and Twentieth Century Fox.