We’ve got an exciting year of books ahead at Virago. Here’s a personal selection of our new fiction highlights for 2016:
Rush Oh! is set in late 19th Century New South Wales. It tells the story of one whaling family’s unlikely relationship with a pod of orcas (and the narrator’s ardent crush on a whaler with a shadowy past). Based on a real-life episode in Australian history, the novel is unexpectedly uplifting and completely beguiling. Mary Davidson is sure to remain one of my all-time favourite narrators with her unique voice, wit and charming self-consciousness.
Tamsin Kitson, Group Publicity Director
Most excitingly, we’ve got all of Shena Macay’s extraordinary backlist in the Virago Modern Classics to look forward to this year and next. What I love about Shena’s writing is how it always surprises me. Her settings – kitchen tables, cafes, pubs, parks – are ordinary, but her observations are decidedly anything but. She is an utter original.
Lennie Goodings, Publisher
These stories are connected by the theme of Partition, from its inception to the present day. Each story is one of a pair; all are concerned with the lives of ordinary people as their country is ripped apart. An Unrestored Woman is an unforgettable, unputdownable book about those moments when history meets the human heart.
Ursula Doyle, Associate Publisher
On the VMC list this year we will publish a wonderful American coming-of-age story: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I really feel we’ve found a lost gem here; this moving, powerful book has been out of print for decades and few people know it, even though it won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize. The Yearling is a memorable, beautiful book in the vein of Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, and I’m thrilled that Michael Morpurgo, an admirer of the novel, will write the foreword. He has said of The Yearling: ‘At its heart is a touching and telling story of a child’s love for a fellow sentient creature. There is sentiment, that’s for sure, but harshness too. An iconic story of growing up, of confronting loss and grief. A marvellous book that deserves a revival.’
Donna Coonan, Editorial Director
If you enjoyed Perfume by Patrick Süskind or The Paris Wife by Paula McLain then Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher is for you. A tumultuous novel about van Gogh’s days in asylum in St Remy, in the south of France, told through the eyes of Jeanne, the doctor’s wife. The landscape plays understudy in this richly drawn extraordinary novel, where the consequences of indiscretion have far reaching effects.
Susan de Soissons, Director, Author and Media Relations
Charmaine and Stan live in a world on the brink of social and economic collapse; to survive they must exchange their freedom for a place in a powerful social experiment. This novel, which began life as a serial online, is Atwood at her absolute best: powerful, inventive and absolutely dazzling in her writing. It’s completely unmissable!
Ailah Ahmed, Commissioning Editor
Inspired by a true story, London Lies Beneath is a powerful and moving historical novel. Set in 1912 in the slums of south London, it follows three boys (and their families) as they prepare for a scouting trip. It’s a beautiful book, and a devastating one. Stella Duffy is an exceptional writer, and she brings to life this neglected world in such a dramatic and evocative way. One to cherish.
Antonia Hodgson, Editor-in-Chief
A new book from Linda Grant is always a cause for celebration, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be publishing her latest novel in autumn (as yet untitled). Linda deserves to be placed alongside our finest contemporary novelists – she writes about the times we live in better with compassion, perceptiveness and humour, and while this new novel is set after the Second World War, it’s also about the people we are and the way past events shape our lives.
Stephen Dumughn, Deputy Marketing Director