Irish author’s six-figure deal: ‘My luck has turned around so quickly I have whiplash’

Caroline O’Donoghue’s YA debut described as ‘Stranger Things meets Sabrina The Teenage Witch’

Caroline O’Donoghue: “I feel so emotional about how fantastic life can be sometimes.”

Caroline O’Donoghue: “I feel so emotional about how fantastic life can be sometimes.”

 

Caroline O’Donoghue has landed a six-figure, two-book deal for her YA debut novel which has been described as “Stranger Things meets Sabrina The Teenage Witch”.

The author tweeted: “This year, man. 2 months ago I lost half my regular income when The Pool closed, had £2,000 in unpaid invoices, my sister was diagnosed with cancer, my boyf had massive family issues so we were barely seeing each other, I was crying all the time. Suddenly, this. My luck has turned around so quickly that I have whiplash. I feel so emotional about how fantastic life can be sometimes.”

Walker’s Denise Johnstone-Burt bought world for journalist and podcaster O’Donoghue’s All Our Hidden Gifts, and a follow-up novel, from her agent Bryony Woods.

All Our Hidden Gifts is the story of Irish teenager Maeve Chambers, who has been lonely since falling out with best friend Lily. When she finds a tarot deck, Maeve discovers her gift for magic, but she does a reading for Lily, who then goes missing.

Johnstone-Burt said: “Acquiring this book has been the most exciting whirlwind: Caroline has a natural, original voice and the mesmerising way she weaves the intriguing, mystical thread of tarot into the teenagers’ world is spellbinding. She will shine as an outstanding debut YA voice.”

O’Donoghue, from Cork, now lives lives in London, and published her adult debut, Promising Young Women, last year. She hosts commercial women’s fiction podcast Sentimental Garbage.

O’Donoghue said: “This story is the most magical and the most autobiographical I have ever written. I’m an enormous and lifelong fan of YA, and Walker has such a highly curated list and an untouchable reputation—I’m so excited to work with them.”

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Follow Me to Ground (New Island Books) by Dubliner Sue Rainsford and the adult debut from children’s author Darragh Martin, Future Popes of Ireland (Fourth Estate), have been longlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize.

Rainsford has already won the 2019 Kate O’Brien Award and been longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness award. for her novel, which is to be released in Britain by Doubleday in August.

The other longlisted titles are bookseller Samuel Fisher’s debut novel The Chameleon; A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther; Golden Child by Goldsmiths graduate Claire Adam; Devoured by Anna Mackmin; Hold by teacher Michael Donkor; Daisy Johnson’s Man Booker-shortlisted Everything Under; Testament (riverrun) by Kim Sherwood; and Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler. Preti Taneja won last year’s prize for her retelling of King Lear, We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press).

This year’s award is judged by author Alan Hollinghurst, literary editor of the Times, Robbie Millen, and Meryl Halls of the Booksellers Association.

The shortlist will be announced on May 10th and the winner on June 19th.

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Debuts dominate the shortlist in this year’s £30,000 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers. The prize, first launched in 2006, is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language written by an author aged 39 or under.

The shortlisted debut authors are: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah for his first short story collection Friday Black (Riverrun); In Our Mad and Furious City, the Booker-longlisted debut novel by Guy Gunaratne (Tinder Press); Zoe Gilbert for Folk (Bloomsbury); and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma for House of Stone (Atlantic) about the bloody birth of her nation. Also shortlisted are Melmoth by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail), a reworking of Melmoth the Wanderer, an 1820 Gothic novel by Irish writer Charles Maturin, and Louise Hall’s Trinity (Ecco).

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Peter Carey, Andrew Miller and Michael Ondaatje are among those shortlisted for the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which celebrates its 10th anniversary. Also included are Cressida Connolly, Samantha Harvey and Robin Robertson.

The six shortlisted titles are A Long Way From Home by Carey; Connolly’s After The Party; Harvey’s The Western Wind; Warlight by Ondaatje; Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Miller; and Man Booker-shortlisted novel in verse The Long Take by Robertson.

The winner will be announced at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival in Scotland on June 15th. Last year’s prize was won by Benjamin Myers for The Gallows Pole (Bluemoose).

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The Franco-Irish Literary Festival dedicated to Women, takes place in Dublin Castle, from April 5th to 7th. The festival is free, in French and English with interpreting, and will welcome more than 20 writers, sociologists and artists from the French-speaking world discussing the different feminities of the 21st century. francoirishliteraryfestival.com/

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