Would you like to write for BBC Radio 4?

Opening LinesThe BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit is looking for submissions from writers new to radio for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The closing date is 13th February 2015.

Three successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to the BBC in London to see their stories being recorded. As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories, the BBC publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines website. (You can read previously published stories), A longlist is published on the BBC Drama Readings website by 15th May.

Stories should be between 1,900 – 2000 words and can cover a broad range of subject-matter (nothing too dark, harrowing  etc. as the programme is aimed at a wide audience). Submissions should be one story per writer. You can read all the terms and conditions and more detail about what is required here


Seven ‘Domestic Noir’ picks

HausfrauDid you like ‘Gone Girl’ ? It’s now the 25th bestselling adult fiction title of all time. So how about some new thrillers dealing with  toxic marriages, the darker side of love and domestic abuse and its fall-out. #LeedsReadsRecommends:

 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

The girl on the train HausFrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum – Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno – a banker – and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift & increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.


I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. At the scene of a tragic accident, life changes immediately for everyone involved. Finding it impossible to stay in Bristol, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, desperate to escape the past, but haunted by the accident, the loss of her son, and her own fears. DI Ray Stevens is determined to solve the case. The investigation takes him away from his family and he finds himself growing closer to Kate Evans, a young detective on his team. Jenna’s past is about to catch up with her, with devastating consequences

 The Crooked House by Christobel Kent. Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. She’s a nobody; she has no-one and that’s how she wants it. But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else’s – or so she thought.

 The Book of You by Claire Kendal. Clarissa is becoming more & more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her The book of youalone and refuses to take no for an answer. Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. As a violent tale of kidnap & abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand. Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined. How do you protect yourself from an enemy no one else can see?

 The woman upstairs: a novel by Claire Messud. Nora Eldridge is a good girl: a good daughter, colleague, friend, employee – reliable, patient and kind. Then Reza Shahid appears in her elementary-school classroom, and everything change. As Nora is drawn into the orbit of Reza’s glamorous, artistic family, her life seems transformed, and a wealth of possibility opens up before her. But this liberation is not quite what it seems, and she is about to suffer a betrayal more monstrous than any she could have imagined



Costa Short Story Awards finalists announced

The Costa Short Story Award 2014 finalists have been announced.

The judging panel included writers Patrick Gale and Victoria Hislop; Richard Beard, director of the National Academy of Writing; Fanny Blake, novelist, journalist and Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine; and Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor.

It was then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and read, and then vote for their favourite, although the names of the authors were only revealed on 19th January, after the vote for the winner had closed.

 The six shortlisted authors are Paula Cunningham, Zoe Gilbert, Jane Healey, Joanne Meek, Mark Newman and Lucy Ribchester, you can listen to their stories on the Costa website

 The Costa Short Story Award was started in 2012 and is judged without the name of the author being known throughout the process. It is open to both published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.

 The winner is decided by public vote and this year’s will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 27th January. The winning writer gets £3,500, with second place receiving £1,500 and third place £500.


A Great Opportunity for Authors @TinderPress @readingagency

Tinder Press A place called WinterTinder Press and The Reading Agency will hold an open submissions period from 2 -15 March 2015 for ‘unagented manuscripts’.  Authors will be able to send their manuscripts direct to the imprint and an event will be held to celebrate two years of Tinder Press.

 Tinder said: “Since we launched Tinder Press with the publication of ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ by Maggie O’Farrell, we’ve had a huge amount to celebrate, and 2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting year, with new novels from Patrick Gale and Sarah Winman.

At Tinder Press we are committed to finding the freshest literary voices, and the time seems right for us to reach out directly to authors at an early stage in their careers. This business is all about discovering new talent, so we’re hoping to be surprised and delighted, and that at the end of the day we’ll find an author we can go on to work with in the future.”

 The Reading Agency will help promote the open submissions period to libraries and readers with a poster and flyer campaign in libraries, as well as using its Reading Groups for Everyone website to reach reading groups.

 Karen Brodie, head of publisher relations at The Reading Agency, said: “Knowing the close connection libraries have with writers, we are delighted to be partnering with Tinder Press to bring a unique opportunity like this to library audiences and reading groups.”

 Authors should submit 50 pages, an outline and their author biography. Only previously unpublished writers of fiction can take part, and short stories as well as novels will be considered.  All submitted books must be complete and written in English. Submissions will be read by the imprint’s editors.

 Tinder may then request a full manuscripts -selected authors will have the opportunity to meet one of the Tinder Press editors. More information can be found on the Tinder Press website


50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death

Young Titan: the making of Winston ChurchillIt’s the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill today

Churchill was a Nobel literature laureate himself and his work included a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, and several histories. The Nobel Prize came in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”.

Two of his most famous works, published after his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his six-volume memoir The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).

Our range of books both by him, fiction and non fiction about his life, family, art and times is quite extensive.

Poldark returns

Jacket Image

Anyone remember Poldark? Set in 18th century Cornwall with a dashing hero….You do have to be over a certain age to remember it, as it was first on telly 1975-1977.

Well it’s coming back to BBC1 as a brand new eight part series. It will be based on the novels “Poldark” and “Demelza,”the first two in the Poldark series. The novels were written by author Winston Graham, and Pan Books are reissuing them to tie in with the series. The new editions are on order and many of Winston Graham’s other novels are in stock.

Pan Macmillan will also publish a new edition of “Poldark’s Cornwall”, in which Graham talks about the area that inspired his books. This new edition will be published in hardback on 23rd April 2015.

Robin Ellis played Poldark in the 70s series. This time Aidan Turner has been cast in the role. He played Kíli in the Hobbit, John Mitchell in Being Human and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Desperate Romantics.


This week’s #FictionHotlist

The missing and the dead The new Fiction hotlist is out. Have a look at all the great new titles that are coming this week.

 Crime Picks – Stuart MacBride’s latest Logan McRae –‘The Missing and the Dead’ and Simon Kernick’s ‘The Final Minute’ and Kate Rhodes ‘Winter Foundlings’. Karen Robards  ‘Hush’ is a romantic suspense thriller from the New York Times bestseller

How about a love story ‘The Cakeshop in the Garden’ by Carole Matthews or a love story gone wrong ‘Evil Eye’ four novellas by Joyce Carol Oates?

Chicklit bestseller – ‘One night in Italy’ by Lucy Diamond – Journalist Anna has never known who her dad is but with her mum refusing to tell her more she’s at a dead end.The crooked maid

Or try ‘The Snow Queen’ by Michael Cunningham about the messy, complicated lives of two New York brothers inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen tale.

Historical – Robin Young’s ‘Kingdom’ or post WW2 ‘The Crooked Maid’ by Dan Vyleta set in Vienna in 1948 or ‘The Widow’s Confession’ by Sophia Tobin an historical mystery set in Broadstairs, Kent, 1851.

Humour‘The House of Journalists’ by Tim Finch