Sarah Davis-Goff and Cecelia Ahern sign major book deals
Tinder Press buys Tramp publisher’s post-apocalyptic Irish novel. TV rights already sold for Ahern’s 30 women’s stories
Sarah Davis-Goff, right, with Tramp Press co-publisher Lisa Coen. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Cecelia Ahern in Malahide, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Sarah Davis-Goff, co-founder of the remarkably successful Irish publisher Tramp Press, has signed a two-book deal with Tinder Press, while bestselling author Cecelia Ahern has sold a major collection of 30 short stories about women to HarperCollins.
Last Ones Left Alive, which will be published in January 2019, is set in a post-apocalyptic Ireland. Its heroine Orpen is trying to bring her wounded aunt towards a mythical Phoenix City in a country plagued by creatures known as the Skrake.
“Last Ones Left Alive is about a young woman in a dystopian Ireland trying to make her way from the west of the country to the east in a bid to save her last surviving family member,” said Davis-Goff, who with her partner Lisa Coen has published award-winning novels by Sara Baume and Mike McCormack. “It’s literary fiction and has themes of isolation and addiction. The second work will be set in the same world.
“I really admire how well the team at Tinder published Maggie O’Farrell, and the work this small team has done over the last few years for this new imprint has been very impressive. In the end it all happened very quickly (after quite a long and a very necessary period of editing, and work by my amazing co-Tramp Lisa Coen and incredible agent Sallyanne Sweeney). Mary-Anne Harrington at Tinder was the first to get hold of it and read it, and her belief in the work was really encouraging and affirming. She made a very impressive preempt so it felt very natural to say yes. I’m over the moon!
“It will be fascinating to sit at the other side of the table in this process, as a writer rather than a publisher. I am hugely looking forward to the experience.”
Harrington said: “It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a novel that I was so happy to lose myself in – the storytelling is so assured, and the world of the novel so unique and genuinely individual. I knew from the moment I first encountered our heroine Orpen, pushing her injured aunt in a wheelbarrow towards the mythical Phoenix City, that I was in safe hands. Orpen’s is a journey nothing could tear me away from, an adventure that feels timely, dramatic and thought-provoking in equal measure.
“It’s a harsh world Sarah introduces us to, a post-apocalyptic imagining of Ireland, which obviously resonates with the present, but I love the fact that her characters are battlers and survivors – although the novel is horrific at times it also makes your heart beat faster, and celebrates the strength of the women at its centre.
“I’ve long been impressed by Sarah as a publisher so it’s particularly delightful to discover that she is such a talented and engaging storyteller. Plus it’s nice to have someone I can enthuse with about Cormac McCarthy and The Terminator."
It was also announced at Frankfurt Book Fair that Lynne Drew, publishing director of HarperFiction, has bought a collection of themed new short stories by Cecelia Ahern, entitled ROAR from her agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor, to be published in autumn 2018. TV and film rights have also been sold.
The 30 stories, all titled “The Woman Who…”, pick up different facets of modern women’s lives. Each story focuses on an individual woman and the collection ranges from subjects as diverse as feeling guilty to feeling invisible.
Ahern said: “ROAR holds a fun mirror up to reality, to the moments when we’re overwhelmed by guilt, confusion, frustration, intimidation, nostalgia, invisibility, and the private moments when we feel the need to roar. Five years in the making, I’m excited to share my passion project with readers, old and new.”
Drew said: “Helen Reddy wrote ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ – this collection is Cecelia Ahern’s ROAR. These unique stories will resonate with women around the world who will recognise busy lives and voices not being heard. Cecelia’s passion runs through all 30 stories; their range illustrates her extraordinary talent and illuminates what a thoughtful, insightful and strong writer she is.”
Ahern is one of the biggest selling authors to emerge in the past 15 years. She is published in nearly 40 countries, in over 30 languages and has sold more thqan 25 million copies of her novels. In Britain alone, four of her novels have sold more than 500,000 copies and PS, I Love You has sold more than 1 million copies. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series. She won the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You in 2014.