The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis named a Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award

The 30th annual Lambda LIterary Award finalists have been announced and THE SIDEKICKS by Will Kostakis has been named a finalist in the LGBTQ Children's/Young Adult category.

Lambda Literary is the United States' oldest and largest literary arts organisation advancing LGBTQ literature and this year the finalists were chosen from over 1000 submissions and over 300 different publishers.

“Celebrating our 30th year of Lambda Literary Award finalists is to recognize that this organization has been at the center of contemporary queer literature for decades,” said Lambda Literary Executive Director Tony Valenzuela. “This year is no different with another stellar list of authors demonstrating through their work that LGBTQ books tell richly textured stories about who we are in all our incredible diversity.”

67 literary professionals, including booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, academics and previous Lammy winners and finalists volunteered countless hours of reading, critical thinking, and invigorating discussion to select the finalists. The awards for achievement in LBGTQ writing in books published in 2017 will be announced in New York City on June 4th. Congratulations, Will!

Signe Johansen features on BBC Woman's Hour

Signe Johansen joins Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour to make her Late Night Miso Ramen on the show's 'Cook the Perfect...' and discusses how cooking for yourself can be a joyful experience.

Signe and Jenni chat about Signe's brand new cookbook SOLO and you can catch up with the episode here.

TIN by Pádraig Kenny is Waterstones Children's Book of the Month

The debut novel by Pádraig Kenny, TIN, has been named the Waterstones Children's Book of the Month.

Waterstones says: 'Another cracker of a debut as County Kildare writer Pádraig Kenny effortlessly conjures an alternate world of childlike robots, remorseless villains and a young boy desperate to uncover the truth of his own past.

This is England of the 1930s, but not one we would recognise: technology has forked into the production of ‘mechanicals’, loyal, innocent, thinking machines, their development deliberately limited for fear of use in war. Now Christopher – a ‘proper’, a real boy with a real soul – is missing, and it’s down to his band of kind and brave mechanical friends to find him.'

Congratulations, Pádraig!

Maunika Gowardhan cooks up a storm on Saturday Kitchen

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Maunika Gowardhan has made her debut appearance on BBC One's Saturday Kitchen.

Joining host Matt Tebbutt and special guest Harry Hill, Maunika cooked an incredible Keralan kozhi kuttan with lime and coriander rice and mint raita. She also made it onto the board with the omlette challenge - always a huge accomplishment!

If you missed it, you can catch the episode on iPlayer here.

Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Ferdia Shaw cast in Disney's ARTEMIS FOWL

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Ferdia Shaw will make his feature film debut playing the lead role in Disney's big screen adaptation of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl. The Irish actor from Kilkenny was selected after an extensive search of over 1200 candidates.

Shaw will join the cast which also includes Judi Dench as fairy police force chief Inspector Root, Josh Gad as kleptomaniacal dwarf Mulch Diggums, Lara McDonnell as Holly Short and Nonso Anozie as Artemis' bodyguard, Butler.

Artemis Fowl is being directed by Kenneth Branagh with the screenplay written by Conor McPherson. The movie will hit cinemas on August 9th 2019.

The Hollywood Reporter news about the Artemis Fowl casting can be read here.

Ruth Fitzmaurice wins Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards

Ruth Fitzmaurice has won the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year award at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards for her debut book I FOUND MY TRIBE. The awards were presented in Dublin on 28 November.


Ruth said: “I have a red letter box outside my home and a very clever postman delivering letters addressed to Ruth Fitzmaurice – The Lady at the Cove (she might be at the beach) and stuff like that. They always find me. It’s lovely to have people tell you their stories, even if it’s sad.

“I didn’t expect it. I’m a writer and I like saying that. I was a housewife for a long time – and being a housewife is cool but writing is what I love to do. I would have been happy just to be nominated, genuinely. It was a very broad category with some very very cool people in the category,” she added.

“When I started writing, the kids were a bit younger and now they’re a bit more self aware,” she said. “I have a 12-year-old who has started to get embarrassed. I do hope that they have a beautiful map – even an emotional map – to understand what our lives have been like. It’s been a crazy, crazy decade really.

“I’d rather define it as a crazy because there’s been some wonderful stuff in the midst of some shot stuff happening. I’d prefer to think of it as a crazy adventure instead of tragic. You don’t have to have really ridiculous stuff happen to you to experience pain in your life. People relate to that. It’s part of life, it is what is it. It doesn’t mean that you have to fall under.”

The RTE interview with Ruth about her win can be viewed here. Many congratulations, Ruth!

Lewis Hine documentary airs on CBBC

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Lewis Hine is a young man with a big dream: to host a prom for 150 teenagers who were too ill to attend their own.

You can catch up and watch the CBBC documentary My Life: My Big Prom about how Lewis organised and hosted this mega party - and how his own personal struggles with his disability affect his day to day life - on BBC iPlayer.

Lewis Hine's book about his inspiring life story, LOOKING AT THE STARS, will be published by Bonnier in April 2018.

I FOUND MY TRIBE and ILLEGAL shortlisted for Irish Book Awards

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Four SHA authors have been shortlisted for this year's Irish Book Awards.

Ruth Fitzmaurice has been shortlisted for the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year award with I FOUND MY TRIBE. An interview with Ruth about her nomination can be read here.

Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano have been shortlisted for National Book Tokens Children's Book of the Year (Senior) for their graphic novel ILLEGAL.

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards will be announced in Dublin on November 28th. Congratulations to all!

New Eoin Colfer illustrated title to Walker Books


Eoin Colfer has written a new children's book and has teamed up with illustrator PJ Lynch to create THE DOG WHO LOST HIS BARK.

This book marks the first collaboration for the pair, both of whom have performed the Laureate na nÓg role (Irish Children’s Laureate – Lynch is the current Laureate and took on the role from Colfer). The book is a warm, uplifting story for young readers about a boy and his dog and the power of music to heal. The book was acquired from Sophie Hicks at the Sophie Hicks Agency by Commissioning Editor Emma Lidbury and Picture Books Publisher Deirdre McDermott.

The full BookBrunch announcement can be read here.

ILLEGAL named Children's Book of the Week by the Times and the Observer


The incredible reaction to ILLEGAL, the new graphic novel by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano, continues. It has been named 'Children's Book of the Week' by both the Times and the Observer.

The Times calls ILLEGAL 'a gripping graphic novel - beautifully realised and punchily told...tough, but necessary, and ultimately, life-affirming.'

The Observer writes that Colfer, Donkin and Rigano 'have created a deeply-affecting account of the 21st century refugee experience' that is a book for children and adults alike and that 'these stories must be heard'.

Debut two book deal for Pádraig Kenny


TIN, the first book from Pádraig Kenny, and a second stand alone novel have been sold to Barry Cunningham, Publisher at Chicken House Books by Sophie Hicks.

A heartfelt tale of friendship, humanity and belonging, TIN is set in an alternative England of the 1930s and follows a boy and his mechanical friends as they discover the truth about his past. Christopher is 'Proper': a real boy with a real soul, orphaned in a fire. He works for an engineer, a maker of the eccentric, loyal, and totally individual mechanicals who are Christopher’s best friends. But after a devastating accident, a secret is revealed and Christopher’s world changes forever … What follows is a remarkable adventure, as Christopher discovers who he really is, and what it means to be human. 

Pinocchio meets The Wizard of Oz, TIN is a thought-provoking and timely novel with strong themes of friendship, war, and humanity.

Cunningham said: 'Pádraig Kenny has written a debut classic that will mean a great deal to readers everywhere. Tin is about heart and soul, friendship, and mechanical strength – it’s about the future of machines and the inheritance of human loyalty. It’s also funny, adventurous, and loving.'

Hicks said: 'I am delighted that Barry Cunningham and the team at Chicken House are going to be publishing Pádraig's spectacular novel, TIN. I read Pádraig's debut novel in one sitting and realised that the world he has created and the story he has told is destined to become an instant classic.'

TIN will be published in February 2018. The full Bookseller announcement can be read here.

Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin & Giovanni Rigano at Hay Festival Aarhus


The inaugural International Children's Hay Festival will take place this October in Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus is the European Capital of Culture for 2017 and the Hay Festival will be celebrating children's literature with a series of events and workshops with bestselling children's authors from around the world.

We are delighted to announce that Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano will be featured at the Hay Festival in Aarhus as they discuss their new graphic novel ILLEGAL. Their event takes place on 28th October.

I FOUND MY TRIBE at third week as #1 Irish Bestseller

I FOUND MY TRIBE by Ruth Fitzmaurice will be the #1 bestselling book in Ireland for the third consecutive week. Since being released on 6th July, I FOUND MY TRIBE has garnered rave reviews.

Marian Keyes reviewed the book saying: 'I FOUND MY TRIBE is inspiring, humbling and a picture of what love really looks like. An astonishingly beautiful book by an astonishingly beautiful person. It is beautiful, it is light, it is joyous.'

The Irish Times said the memoir 'is a powerful, emotional, poetic, funny, philosophical and courageous work of art.'

The Sunday Times wrote: 'One of the year's most arresting, humbling and acute memoirs. It is a catch-in-the-throat, life affirming work that you want to gulp down in one and recommend to all your friends. Fitzmaurice tells her story in sparkling prose that is as sinewy as her new sea-strengthened body, and as admirable and boundless as her spirit...This debut is set to become a global bestseller.'

Bluebird Books wins five way auction for THE KINDNESS METHOD

Carole Tonkinson, Publisher of Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, has acquired world rights to a two book deal with Shahroo Izadi following a hotly contested five publisher auction with Sarah Williams of the Sophie Hicks Agency.   

Shahroo Izadi, a Behavioural Change Specialist in private practice, came to wide renown following a series of personal articles written by Marisa Bate in The Pool, whereby Bate completely reformed her drinking habits for the good with Izadi’s help. Izadi helps clients overcome self-destructive patterns, be it overeating or drinking too much, by helping them create solutions that are moderate and sustainable so clients can drink less alcohol or eat less junk without giving up drinking or their favourite foods entirely.  Inundated with enquiries after rave reviews from Bate and Bryony Gordon. Izadi found her waitlist extended for months.  This proved the inspiration for writing her first book The Kindness Method: Changing Habits for Good is a practical guide for changing harmful habits. The second book will build on the brand of The Kindness Method and target weight loss.

Built using methods tried and developed successfully over the years in the treatment of those with drug and alcohol addictions, the book will also draw on Izadi’s personal experiences transforming her own struggle with overeating:  an incredible personal journey which resulted in her losing eight stone. In The Kindness Method, Izadi presents her mapping method for managing a wide range of issues: weight loss, alcohol use, giving up smoking, procrastination, tidiness and social anxiety and many more. What’s unusual about her method is Izadi’s focus on using the strengths and achievements of as the vehicle for change.

Shahroo Izadi says: 'I couldn't be more delighted to be working with Carole and her amazing team. Bluebird truly embodies the spirit of my method and I can't wait to share this approach with as many people as possible.'

Carole Tonkinson says: ‘I wanted to publish Shahroo’s book as soon as I read Marisa Bate’s pieces. Shahroo offers a truly fresh, friendly and incredibly efficient approach. I love her focus on and her judgement free approach. She’s the voice we need now and we see her as a major brand author we hope to develop across many titles in the years to come. She has the whole Bleubird team mapping already!’

Izadi started her career treating those with drug and alcohol addictions as a Criminal Justice Lead in the addiction treatment field. In addition to her current private practice,  Izadi is a also support group facilitator and therapist at Amy’s Place, the recovery house for women set up by The Amy Winehouse Foundation. She is also Senior Consultant for Emerging Horizons, and provides professional development training for the NHS and CGL.

It will be a lead title for Bluebird, publishing May 2018. The Bookseller announcement can be read here.

Blink acquires memoir of teen disability campaigner Lewis Hine

Blink, an imprint of King's Road Publishing, has signed the memoir of 16-year-old disability campaigner and social media phenomenon Lewis Hine. Natalie Jerome, licensing and brand director for King's Road Publishing, acquired worldwide rights from Sophie Hicks and Sarah Williams.

Sixteen year-old Lewis has become a global phenomenon. Diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just 17 months old, Lewis wasn’t expected to survive. But he managed to prove everyone wrong, and is now not just surviving, but thriving. In one Facebook post on his 16th birthday, Lewis invited everyone to see how he faces the challenges in his life resulting from his ongoing illnesses, and it went viral.  Thirty million views later, with the world cheering him on, Lewis is spearheading a campaign, Friend Finder, to make sure no one ever faces childhood illness alone.

In his memoir, Lewis will reach out to all children who may feel isolated in their lives. After 13 brain surgeries and ongoing health problems, life for Lewis is a daily challenge. But he hopes to share honestly how he finds the strength to get through it, and lead a fun and fulfilling life against all the odds. Only a fraction of his story has been told so far - and from the sheer physical challenges to the almost unbelievable bullying he has endured, his story is an incredible one. His inspirational message will move, lift and astonish children and adults around the world, and he hopes to change everyone's view about the lives disabled and ill people can lead. 

Hine added: 'I am so excited about my book and working with the amazing people at Blink. I cannot wait for everyone to read my story, learn about my difficult journey and see how I got over 31 million people around the world to watch me show that it's okay to be different.'

Jerome said Kings Road 'couldn’t be prouder' to be publishing Lewis. 'His message is such an important one and his bravery and courage has moved us all. We’re looking forward to creating a book with him that he can be proud of and helps children around the world,' she said.

The spring 2018 launch will be supported by a full sales, PR and marketing campaign across traditional and social media. The Bookseller announcement can be read here.

Bloomsbury US wins auction for I FOUND MY TRIBE by Ruth Fitzmaurice

Liese Mayer at Bloomsbury US has acquired North American rights to I FOUND MY TRIBE by Ruth Fitzmaurice at auction.

Ruth's tribe are her lively children and her film-maker husband, Simon, who has Motor Neurone Diseaase and can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth's other tribe are the friends who gather at the cove in Greystones, Ireland and regularly throw themselves into the freezing cold water just for kicks.

As she tells the story of their marriage, via diagnosis to their current precarious situation, Ruth also charts her passion for sea swimming - culminating in a midnight swim under the full moon on her wedding anniversary.

Nadine O'Regan just described I FOUND MY TRIBE on RTE:  'It’s an emotionally resonant, beautifully written work, reminiscent of Joan Didion, which is well worth your time.'

Bloomsbury said the book, set for spring 2018, is 'for readers of H Is for Hawk and When Breath Becomes Air.' The deal announcement can be read here.

THE SIDEKICKS by Will Kostakis shortlisted for Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature

Many congratulations to Will Kostakis who has been shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature for his novel THE SIDEKICKS.

The judges wrote this about Will's book:

'In this powerful novel three teenage boys, Ryan, Harley and Miles, must fill a void left by the one thing they had in common: their recently deceased best friend, Isaac. His death has exposed the frailty of the boys’ relationships and they discover that the same secrets that bound them to Isaac are now those that keep them apart.

The Sidekicks is presented as three short novellas — one from each boy’s perspective, covering the period immediately after Isaac’s death. This structure allows Kostakis to delve into the psyches of the protagonists to reveal that each is much more than the title that defines him: The Swimmer, The Rebel, The Nerd. While each novella might be read as a complete work, it is the cumulative effect of reading them in sequence that makes the novel such a powerful statement about teen identity and male friendship. Written in a style that is conversational, witty and poignant, The Sidekicks is a sharply authentic and deeply moving novel.'

Anna Liza and the Happy Practice shortlisted for CBI Book of the Year

Many congratulations to Eoin Colfer whose book for younger readers ANNA LIZA AND THE HAPPY PRACTICE has been shortlisted for Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year.

Founded in 1990, the CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children’s book awards in Ireland. They are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books for all ages written in English or Irish by authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland.

More about the CBI Book of the Year shortlist can be read here.

Benedict Jacka's BOUND in a starred review from Publisher's Weekly

The first review of the eighth book in the Alex Verus series, BOUND, is in and it has received a star from Publisher's Weekly.

The review of Benedict Jacka's latest book says: 'Sustaining interest inside a long story line like this depends on maintaining action, developing characters, and intelligently extrapolating magical possibilities. Jacka is doing a splendid job in all respects, and this volume builds up to a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger climax.'


Congratulations, Benedict! BOUND is out in the US on April 4th and the UK on April 6th.