A Few Good Books 2012

Sometime in 2011 we put out a submission call for A Few Good Books. Well, here’s what we took on, our books programme for 2012. All these titles are available in print and Kindle editions. We’ll dust ourselves down in the New Year and look to start out again with a few books more…

Culture

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Because Cuba is You

Red Laal

Red Laal

Rites

Red Army Faction Blues

Carpet Burns by Tom Hingley

Tom Hingley’s insider’s account of what it felt like to be in the eye of a pop hurricane and what happens when the hits end and the arguments kick in.
‘Oh my God! Every band is the same. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Peter Hook

Nothing Ever Happens in Wentbridge by Janet Watson

A true story from the emotional front line of a first love. This beautiful and vivid account of Mark and Janet, their lives, love and loss, shows how the mind has an uncanny ability to ignore what it doesn’t want to acknowledge. Until it has to.
‘The author drew on her teenage diaries for this poignant yet hilarious memoir about finding and losing your first love. The vividly depicted memories will make readers wince with recollection, but aside from its funny moments, it’s ultimately very moving.’ – The Sunday Mirror

Everything Now by Steve McKevitt

Everything Now – where we can have whatever we want, whenever we want it. In this book, Steve McKevitt reveals how the Everything Now culture is preventing us from addressing the biggest issues of our time and how having less really can make us happier.
‘Especially telling insights into how advertising and marketing attempts to sway us from one product towards another, near identical one. Read this before you shell out for a new, ever-so slightly shinier mobile phone or pay a premium for anything that goes out of its way to convince you how ‘ethical’ it is.’ – Time Out, Book of the Week

The Angels’ Share by Paul Laverty and KenLoach

Four Friends. One Mission. Lots of Spirit. A bittersweet comedy about a Glasgow boy locked in a family feud who just wants a way out. Little did Robbie imagine that turning to drink might change their lives – not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world. Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival 2012
‘Scotland’s answer to The Full Monty.’ – John Naughton, GQ

Stories From a World of Music

A book of stories gathered at Musicport Festival 2011. A kaleidoscope of shifting patterns, the book captures the tales told over three days at one of Europe’s best loved gatherings for World Music.’
‘Reads like an insightful set of liner notes crossed with an oral history project. Accessible, creative, confessional and reflective, it captures the buzz, character and diversity of everyone who came together for the Musicport Festival.’ – Songlines

Novels

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Because Cuba is You

Red Laal

Rites

Red Army Faction Blues

Because Cuba is You by Ramón Chao

To be a good Spaniard, you need a Latin American dimension.’ Ramón Chao’s magical realist account of his Galician grandmother’s Cuban adventure during a whirlwind of political change and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the birth of his father. Released February 2013. Pre-order now.

Red Laal by M Y Alam

‘Another gangster with all the presence of a ghost. Just stories you hear over the years. Heavyweight. King shit. Bad arse. Red Laal… If there did exist a Pakistani Don Corleone, then this was him.’
‘Just as you’re about to consign the gangster thriller to the bin of obsolescence, bored stiff by a tide of clichéd storylines, along comes a belter which deserves the highest praise.’ – Matt Baker, The Big Issue

Rites by Sophie Coulombeau

‘When I was fourteen I did something terrible. At least, that’s what some people tell me.’
Four teenagers make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they reflect on the past and unravel how it all went so horribly wrong.
‘Terrific. A story that’s intriguing, puzzling and entirely gripping.’ – Philip Pullman

Red Army Faction Blues by Ada Wilson

A coalition government. A widely mistrusted ruling elite. Riots in the streets and heavy-handed police tactics. Just what did Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green walk into at that infamous LSD party in Munich?
‘Shows the power of the novel to illuminate a moment in history; the moment when terrorism became the new rock ’n’ roll.’ – David Peace

Short Stories

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Because Cuba is You

Because Cuba is You

Spellbound- Stories of Women’s Magic Over Men by Joel Willans

Ever since men painted on cave walls, they’ve been making art out of their feelings for women. Joel Willans’s prize-winning stories feature men battling for women’s hearts with weapons as diverse as chocolates and chairs.
‘Sharp, original and observant, with a generous helping of humour, Joel Willans’s stories are both thought-provoking and hugely entertaining. A great read.’ – Vanessa Gebbie

All Embracing & Other Stories by Dave Pescod

The characters in Dave Pescod’s stunning first collection are united by their desire to find love. The writing style is deceptively simple but deeply moving and the truth of these stories lingers long after the reading is done.
‘Shining a tender light on the human heart, these stories capture the dignity of ordinary individuals and the wonderful everydayness of love. A delight to read.’ – Michelle Spring, Royal Literary Fellow, Magdalene College, Cambridge

Click here for our full programme of books.

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Introducing our next great novelist… Sophie Coulombeau

27-year-old wins the inaugural Route Young Author Award

Route are delighted to announce that Sophie Coulombeau is the winner of the 2011 Route Author Competition. Her novel provisionally titled Rites beat off strong competition from a group of exceptionally talented authors under the age of 30 to win a publishing contract. The novel will be published next Summer.

Sophie said of the award: ‘I’m over the moon to be selected as the Route Young Author and very grateful to the Arts Council and the team of editors and readers at Route who have given me the opportunity to develop and publish my manuscript. This is an incredible opportunity for a young writer in an industry that is notoriously hard to crack. I’m very excited about the months ahead and the publication of my novel in 2012.’

Sophie was born in London in 1984, and grew up mainly in Manchester. She did her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, and has done postgraduate research at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York. She has also worked for the Ministry of Justice and the European Commission’s Organised Crime unit. She currently lives in York.

Her book tells the story of a group of four teenagers who make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they look back on the events and unravel how it all went horribly wrong.

Route Editor Ian Daley said of the award, ‘We are thrilled to be publishing this book and to be working with Sophie. She’s a great talent, with an exciting future in front of her. The book manages to have that rare combination of being both richly complex and a riveting read. The pages simply turn themselves. I’m confident that this is the first of many great books that Sophie will produce.’

The Route Young Author competition was supported by Arts Council England and invited authors aged 18 to 30 to submit manuscripts. Following a rigorous selection procedure, five authors were shortlisted before Sophie was declared the overall winner. The other four shortlisted authors were Sally Ashton, Caroline Hargreaves, Matthew T Potter and Amy Robson.

The award also created mentoring opportunities for two young editors to work on the project. The successful applicants, Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, have been instrumental in the selection process and will continue to work with Sophie and see the winning book through to publication.

Route Young Author Shortlist

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the Route Young Author competition.

Controller – Sally Ashton
Rites – Sophie Coulombeau
Frances Andrews – Caroline Hargreaves
Mazungu – Matthew T Potter
Broken Things – Amy Robson

The shortlist decisions were made with the support of two young editors, Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, who read through all submissions and were faced with the difficult task of narrowing the selection down to a shortlist of five titles.

Victoria Price: ‘We were inundated with original and inspired ideas, highly sophisticated tales of intrigue, fantastical worlds and explorations of identity with heartbreaking denouements. A wonderful opportunity to be able to hear such unique tales from such talented young voices.’

Rebecca Pedley: ‘It was very difficult to come to a decision about the final five because there were many manuscripts that had such promise.  I am looking forward to the next part of the process, narrowing down the shortlist to our winner. I feel that this will be an even harder decision seen as the final five are so diverse and all have strong storytelling abilities.’

The shortlisted titles will be read by judges over the summer months and a decision on the final winner will be made in late September. The winning book will be published by Route in 2012.

Young Yorkshire Author Update

The submission process for Yorkshire’s Next Great Young Author is now closed. All submissions are currently being read. We plan to announce the shortlist in late July and a winner will be announced in late September. Many thanks to all those who have entered, it looks likely to be a very interesting reading period.

Route is being helped in this process by Victoria Price and Rebecca Pedley, the two successful applicants to our editor training programme.

A Few Good Books Update

Following several months of hard reading we have finally worked our way through all the manuscripts submitted to our A Few Good Books opening. This process took longer than we anticipated, due in part to the overwhelming volume of texts submitted, and we’d like to thank authors for their patience as we worked our way through their writing. In total we received just over 170 submissions, from which we drew up a longlist of 45 titles. There was a great deal of quality in those longlisted titles, leaving us with many more possibilities than we could have prudently coped with. After much thought and careful assessment, we are now considering six books from the list for publication. This comprises of two novels, two short story collections, a memoir and a diary. We look forward to making more announcements on these titles as we progress. All authors who submitted have now been contacted.

Our current submission round is to seek out Yorkshire’s next great young novelist, and we are soliciting submissions from authors aged 18-30 who live in Yorkshire. The deadline for entries in 31 May 2011. We are not currently seeking submissions outside this category, but anticipate that we will post new guidelines once this process is cleared, probably some time in the autumn.

A Few Good Books

As part of our ongoing publishing programme we have a genuine opportunity for a few good books. Our new guidelines reflect this and we’re hoping for a few standout book proposals.

As way of guidance, we’re looking for titles to fit in with our ongoing programme, not to reinvent it. This means we will consider fiction – novels, novellas and short story collections – as well as non-fiction titles – memoir, biography, culture and sport. Remember all our books are based around stories.

This may seem like lame advice, but we recommend that you give good thought to the proposal you are sending to us; this is a good opportunity to introduce yourself or your idea and it will help you stand out from the crowd. We regularly receive indiscriminate book proposals that generally fall far outside our remit, are ill conceived or unrealistic in their ambition. When making your proposal ask yourself: is this book really suitable for Route, have you thought it all the way through and are you being realistic about what it can achieve?

Route publishes only a relatively small number of books per year, our distinction is that we work closely on all our books. There is a very human aspect to what we do, and this shouldn’t be underestimated when making your proposal. Books rarely happen over night or at arms length. We will be looking for proposals that promise a positive experience for all involved, something we can collaborate on fully.

If we haven’t put you off yet and you’ve got a book for Route, then send us a letter outlining your proposal, together with a synopsis and a sample of the manuscript where appropriate. Please post to: A Few Good Books, Route, PO Box 167, Pontefract, WF8 4WW, UK.

Submissions open from 1 March to 31 August 2010

No email submissions. No poetry.

Click here for our full submission guidelines.

Stories behind the Stories

A series of small interviews with the authors featured in The Route Book at Bedtime has been posted on route-online.com The Route Book at Bedtime (Route 22) is a book of 12 stories that aims to capture those moments of deep emotional significance which return to us in our dreams. But what is the story behind the stories? In this feature, 10 of the authors talk about the inspiration behind the work. Here are a few samples.

M Y Alam on Smokes and Dust
I’d completed a draft while my father was in hospital for nearly three months. He recovered for a couple of months before relapsing. It’s not that I felt obliged to write anything about or even for him, but the love of the word was something he cultivated in me from an early age, sometimes without even knowing it. Unlike me, the writing was a much deeper part of who he was. Writing kept him alive, I used to think, but like everything else, even that left him. Barely able to hold a pen, he wrote his final poem, one of the most beautiful pieces of verse I’ve ever heard, a few days before he died.

Pippa Griffin on Crush
I wrote the first draft of ‘Crush’ during a two-week writing retreat in Devon. I was flicking through my notebooks and found notes for a story about a crush, and there was something there niggling at me, so I thought I’d better write it. I wrote the story quickly – ideas for Frances’s experiences coming quicker than I could write them down, memories of my own childhood crushes and how they felt never far away.

Sam Duda on The Parrot
I had just left a job, a girlfriend and a city, and gone to live in Cornwall. I scratched around for a while before finding a job on a beach. The only other worker was a Czech boy, Milan. I was anxious, self-aware and obsessive. He was carefree, hedonistic and unflappable. I drank with him all summer, trying to parrot him – not just to impress, but because it seemed an easier, more enjoyable way to live. The following year I moved to Newcastle and found myself slightly more carefree, hedonistic and unflappable. That’s when I wrote the story.

Cally Taylor on Imagination Avenue
‘Imagination Avenue’ was inspired by students using ‘For Sale’ boards to sledge down my street during one particularly snowy winter. They were so full of joy and glee they reminded me of children. I started to think about other occasions when I’d seen adults play – normally board games at Christmas – and the way even the most ‘grown up’ of faces lights up as they get lost in the moment. There’s something about playing that temporarily frees us from our day-to-day responsibilities and worries but, as adults, we’re far too self-conscious most of the time.

Click here to see the full list of interviews.

Click here for more on The Route Book at Bedtime