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My Journey To Feminism

Teen author Louise O’Neill was 15 when she first used the F-word and called herself a feminist – but didn’t understand what it meant and remained ashamed of the parts of herself that were female, here’s her story and why she wrote Only Ever Yours

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Join H for History for news and features on all of your favourite historical fiction authors from Quercus, Headline and Hodder, including James Heneage, John Henry Clay, Rory Clements and more.

The Telegraph

"Clavane’s Promised one of the hidden gems of 21st-century sportswriting."

Clavane’s Promised Land, his lyrical evocation of a life spent supporting Leeds United FC, is one of the hidden gems of 21st-century sportswriting. The follow-up has a jaunty title that might suggest a Jupp-esque comic monologue, though in fact this is a serious work of history.

Christopher Hitchens for Vanity Fair

The Author Who Played with Fire

Just when Stieg Larsson was about to make his fortune with the mega-selling thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the crusading journalist dropped dead. Now some are asking how much of his fiction–which exposes Sweden’s dark currents of Fascism and sexual predation–is fact.


Anthony Clavane for the Independent

`Being funny is like being gay. It's hard to admit to, people think it's odd. You're born that way'

Jessica Cornwell talks about her inspiration for writing her new novel, The Serpent Papers.

Writing The Serpent Papers

When I set out to write a novel, the first thing I encountered in the dark recess of my imagination was a man. His name was Ferran Fons, and he was a lonely, aging, professor at a drama school in Barcelona. Fons had an office window facing the theatre across the courtyard and so he spent the majority of his day staring at an enormous poster hanging from the wall of the building. The poster featured a portrait of a beautiful young woman. Her name – I knew in a flash – was Natalia Hernandez. And very soon she was going to die. In the weeks and months following my discovery of Natalia Hernandez, I found myself writing a mystery. New characters sprang into being – the irascible Inspector Fabregat with his love of rich food and distaste for murder – tormented by the unsolved deaths of four young women, bodies tattooed with cryptic letters, tongues cut from their mouths. Next came Rex Illuminatus: a thirteenth century Majorcan mystic who hid The Serpent Papers beneath an alchemical scrawl, secreting away an ancient manuscript written in the language of witches. Anna Verco presented herself as a young, American academic whose psychic abilities and quest to find the Serpent Papers lead her into the drawing room of Inspector Fabregat… a decade after the murder of Natalia Hernandez. I had not set out to write a thriller, but suddenly I was. Not only that, but I knew, without doubt, upon finding Anna, that I was also writing a trilogy. I read and reread the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While making notes in the margin of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, I repeatedly returned to Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone and the gothic novels of Horace Walpole and Mary Shelley. I wanted to write a contemporary thriller that had its roots in nineteenth century crime, so I analyzed the structure of the gothic novel, and decided that the first pulp books had evolved into vampire stories and then into serial killer narratives. I set the book in Barcelona’s gothic quarters, with its air of supernatural menace. Amidst the distinct flavor of an old, and violent, fairy tale – I saw Anna Vero driving the action forward. I loved her feminism, her single mindedness, her independence and focus, and how little she wanted to share of herself. Anna takes her lead from The Killing’s Sarah Lund, The Bridge’s Saga Norén (with whom I am completely obsessed) and Lisbeth Salander – the queens of Scandi Noir – but she’s also a very different interpretation of the genre’s damaged ‘woman detective’ or female protagonist. She blends the supernatural and the hyper-real, and in that way I think she’s quite original – and genre-bending. She also consistently surprises me, leading me on unexpected adventures into Palaeography courses at Senate House in London, the Manuscript room at the British Library, and up rocky Majorcan trails in the pouring rain. Throughout, Anna Verco remains deliciously, autonomously her own.


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Crime Files discovers what Tom Callaghan would do as the master of Cluedo and who he'd have at his dream dinner party. . .

Q&A with Tom Callaghan

If you were stranded on a desert island and could take one crime novel, one DVD boxset and one character from a crime novel, who/what would you take? ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘The Wire’, Charlie Parker from the John Connolly books. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would be on the menu? Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Lee Burke, Stephen King, Basil Bunting, Captain Beefheart, Miles Davis. We’d eat Cantonese, steak, vegetarian, Classic Italian, rural French, and lots to drink. But the real answer is a mix of Thai and Vietnamese dishes with my wife Sara and my son Akyl. Are you a hero or a villain? I’d probably be the observer who avoids getting involved, a minor character whose name appears halfway down the credits. What is your favourite line from a film/TV series/book?· What crime novel do you wish you had written? Film: “I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time… to die…” TV series: Bladerunner Book: I would love to have written ‘The Big Sleep’. If your book was being made into a film, who would you want to play the lead character? Ideally, a Kyrgyz actor should play the part of Akyl Borubaev, which would be the opportunity of a lifetime. But if the film were set somewhere else, then you’d want a tough guy who’s also compassionate. Daniel Craig? Where are Bogart and Mitchum when you need them? What’s the scariest place you’ve visited? Peru, in the middle of a civil war. OR Rochdale town centre, on a Saturday night. You are master of cluedo and have any name, weapon and room at your disposal, whodunit and what happened? As I’m the master, I’m taking the game out of Tudor Hall, and placing it in the Kulturny bar in Bishkek. All the rooms have dead gangsters in them, shot, stabbed or poisoned. Whodunit? It’s up to Murder Squad Inspector Akyl Borubaev to find out…


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Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

Peter May - my inspiration for Runaway

The story itself, obviously, drew its inspiration from the real runaway events, which actually took place in 1969. The characters drew their inspiration from different sources. Jack is partially based on myself. “Jobby” Jeff was loosely based on our then drummer, whose almost every sentence was punctuated by the word “jobbies”. Luke Sharp took his name from a childhood friend of my father (what were his parents thinking of), and his circumstance from another of my father’s friends called Johnny Main. Johnny’s parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses and had dragged him around the doors with them for years. He ran away to the south when he was fifteen and never came back. But my father never lost touch with him, and I remember visiting him in Kent on a trip to France in the 1980s. Maurie’s Jewish background was based on my experiences of virtually growing up with Stephen and his family, and the whole community of Glasgow south-side Jews which existed during my childhood. And Dave was loosely based on a friend whose acquaintance I made during my short time at the DNS. He was hugely into music, and we would often meet at the Maryland Blues Club, in Scott Street, beside the Art School. However, cannabis was his predilection, rather than drink. The character of Dr. Cliff Robert was partly based on a very creepy manager we once had in Glasgow, but took his name from The Beatles’ song, “Dr. Robert”, which was the fictitious name The Beatles used for the doctor who provided them, and many other stars of the mid-sixties, with drugs. The character of Rachel, really, is the embodiment of that person we all fall madly in love with at some point in our lives, but are destined (for any number of reasons) never to be with. The Victoria Hall, where they boys find employment improvising dramas for an experimental community of mental patients, took its inspiration from the Kingsley Hall experiment run in the mid-to-late sixties by the famous Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing. There are two unusual coincidences in that. My wife, it transpired, was at school with R.D. Laing’s son, who later went on to write the definitive biography of his father. And it also turned out that R.D. Laing and myself were both trained to play the piano at the Ommer School of Music in Glasgow. To create and describe the authentic atmosphere surrounding events in the (fictitious) Victoria Hall, I was able to purchase online access to rare footage taken during the actual Kingsley Hall experiment. I also read several of R.D. Laing’s books, as well as the biography written by his son, along with an account of her time there written by the Kingsley Hall’s most famous resident, Mary Barnes, and her psychiatrist Joe Berke. I also visited the hall itself, which is still there, although all boarded up now. To get the detail right, I made the return journey of the old boys myself last year – through the Lake District and Leeds, to London, and all the locations there where the action takes place. I also did extensive research on the year 1965, including tracking down an original AA 1965 road map of Britain which I bid for on eBay, to fill in the gaps in my own memory. One particularly interesting location that I tracked down was the spot, behind the Savoy Hotel, where, in the spring of 1965, Bob Dylan shot the iconic video for his song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, and I had the boys witnessing the filming of it in the book. I took a photograph of myself in the very spot where Dylan had stood discarding his large lyric cue cards. The Merchants’ Tavern, which appears at the end of the book, is a real restaurant to be found in Charlotte Road in Shoreditch, London. It is owned by celebrity chef, Angela Hartnet, and the chef is her partner, Neil Borthwick, a young Scotsman whom I met when he was No.2 to the top chef in France, Michel Bras, and I spent time in Bras’s kitchen researching another book.

Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

Peter May - my inspiration for Runaway

Peter May tells us all about what led him to write his latest book, Runaway.

First stop: Sweden

Discover Lisbeth Salander

The first stop on our summer reading round the world tour is Sweden, to visit the one and only Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth stormed back into the bestseller charts last summer in the gripping fourth installment in the Millennium series, The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. Here we talk to Team MacLehose about what they think makes Lisbeth so special... The typescripts of the first two and a half volumes of the Millennium trilogy that came from the Swedish publisher Norstedts came in English. The first book was then called MEN WHO HATE WOMEN, bizarrely translated by the French as MEN WHO DO NOT LOVE WOMEN. I have often wondered about the reactions of the many editors who read it before it came to the embryo MacLehose Press. I know of the response of one very distinguished American editor, who said that he had spent three weeks working on the first 70 pages, trying to edit them into shape, but it wasn’t worth the candle or he had no more time, I don’t remember which. The beginning of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, as it came to be known, is, it is true, unlike the rest of the novel. It covers ground that readers of modern crime stories will have found familiar. The first fifty pages of the novel betray almost no hint of the furnace of excitement to come. And then the reader meets Lisbeth Salander, a character who has no match in contemporary fiction, and from that moment Stieg Larsson and his Ariel-like spirit held the world in their hands, and still do. This wild, vengeful and exceedingly clever anarchist is a spirit for our times, a beautiful and brilliant creation. Impossible not to think of her own Prospero with terrible sadness even as we are reminded of Salander’s birthday. Of all the homages to the birthday girl, is there an apter one than Mario Vargas Llosa’s? The Nobel Laureate wrote: "I have just spent a few weeks with all of my experienced reader’s critical defences swept away by the cyclonic force of a story… Welcome to the immortality of fiction, Lisbeth Salander!" CHRISTOPHER MACLEHOSE, Publisher I was completely riveted by the sheer audacity of Larsson’s creation in Lisbeth Salander when I first read a proof copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It must have been in the Autumn of 2007, a few months before she was revealed to English readers. A rare and memorable night of no sleep - I was in awe and in tatters. The attraction of a complex character who is so persistently underestimated, her projected appearance so deceptive – she’s tiny and a girl, she’s a punk, she’s damaged and in the care system. But this complexity transfers to strengths: she’s learned to rely on no-one, her tremendous skills are self-taught and she knows she has nothing to lose. She goes into Terminator Mode. There is something about the pace and poise of Larsson’s delivery that kept this reader entirely hooked. A line is played out and rapidly pulled in; Lisbeth disappears for long stretches of the narrative (for much of The Girl Who Played with Fire), from the investigative eye, from the reader’s page, but it is Lisbeth that we most want to read about. And Larsson delivers her to us at exactly the right moment – absence and reappearance. Silent cheers and goosebumps. A character of contrasts who reveals herself in a series of acts, the violence of which can appall. And yet she doesn’t lose us for a moment. In many crime novels the main protagonist/hero is sketched out at the beginning; a paragraph of past trauma, current addictions, complicated personal relationships. With Lisbeth, her persona shifts, her preferences are entirely unpredictable. I have never read a crime novel in which unpredictability becomes a strength. And yet, simultaneously, she possesses such extraordinary righteous integrity. Stieg Larsson makes all but the very finest of his competitors seem plodding and derivative, and with the creative brilliance of David Lagercrantz this most exceptional of heroines is brought back to life. More cheering and goosebumps. KATHARINA BIELENBERG, Associate Publisher, MacLehose Press


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MacLehose Press

The MacLehose Press is devoted to the translation of literature and crime fiction into English, and to the publication of a very few outstanding writers in English. The Press has already broken new ground with the #1 bestselling success of the Swedish writer Stieg Larsson and with many other critically acclaimed books

Submission Guidelines

About Us

Jo Fletcher Books is an imprint of Quercus Publishing, an Hachette UK company. Jo Fletcher Books is a specialist science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint, but as Jo’s own personal tastes in fiction have always been so wonderfully eclectic, and as the field of imaginative literature is so incredibly wide, Jo Fletcher Books is going to be as broad a church as possible, hopefully publishing something for everyone. Submissions Jo Fletcher Books currently accepts unsolicited submissions, but only by email. If you wish to submit, please email the first 10,000 words, or the first three chapters of your novel to in the following format: Word doc Font: Times New Roman Font size: 12 Spacing: Double-spaced Please include a brief covering letter in the body of the email, and a short synopsis (no longer than one page) in a separate attachment. Please note the following: We only accept submissions that can be categorized as Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror. If your novel does not fall into any of these genres it will not be considered. We do not accept short stories or novellas. We do not publish children’s books. We will consider YA, but only if it can be classed as YA/Adult crossover. We accept manuscripts that have been previously self-published as long as the author is happy to let all rights revert to us on signature of any contract. Jo Fletcher Books is not an agency, but a publishing house. If you are looking for representation we recommend you use The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, which contains a comprehensive and up-to-date list of agents currently taking on new authors We get a great many submissions, so it is not possible to respond to everyone individually, and we do not give feedback. If you have not heard from us within six months, please assume you have been unsuccessful in this instance. Agents: please note this email address is for unsolicited submissions only.

Lisbeth Salander Returns

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is back

This much anticipated continuation to one of the best-loved crime series of the last decade will be published in Sweden as Det som inte dödar oss (“What Doesn’t Kill You”). The English-language title will differ, and is yet to be confirmed. David Lagercrantz, the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You”, will be visiting the UK in the Spring as part of a seven-month build up to publication which MacLehose Press are aiming to make the event of the publishing year. Publisher Christopher MacLehose said: “In one sense the chance to publish a new novel in the Millennium series merely underlines the sorrow of every one of his readers that Stieg Larsson could not have gone on to complete his planned ten-book oeuvre. But – and it is now almost a new and certainly fabled genre – the continuation by another hand has been long anticipated and David Lagercrantz will keep a very great storyteller’s flame alive. The MacLehose Press are delighted to help him to do that. David Lagercrantz wrote I AM ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, the prize-winning and bestselling “autobiography” of the Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and is also the author of a brilliant novel of the life and death of Alan Turing entitled FALL OF MAN IN WILMSLOW which we will publish in May of this year. Lagercrantz is simply an exceptional storyteller himself and his continuation of the Millennium series can be awaited by the millions of Stieg Larsson’s readers with confidence and great impatience.” Lagercrantz is a Swedish journalist and author. His ghosted autobiography I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one of the most successful books in recent years, not only in Sweden but worldwide; it was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and the prestigious August Prize. Eva Gedin, the publisher of Norstedts, says: “We all felt that David Lagercrantz was perfectly suited for the task. He is an accomplished author who has created and written about complex and highly original characters throughout his career. We knew he would write this new Millennium novel in his own voice, while being faithful to the DNA of Stieg’s characters.” Stieg Larsson’s family has been involved at every stage of the process. They wrote an agreement with David Lagercrantz for this novel and, given his bona fides, gave him creative latitude while working on the project: “By letting David Lagercrantz write his own Millennium novel we keep the characters and the universe Stieg Larsson created alive.” Joakim and Erland Larsson, the Stieg Larsson Estate David Lagercrantz says: “Stieg Larsson was a master at creating complex stories with a lot of different plotlines and that was something I was determined to live up to . . . [His writing style] is down to earth and unaffected. But there is a kind of journalistic authoritativeness about his work. I realised early on how idiotic it would be for me just to imitate him. This is my own prose.” Stieg Larsson's Millennium books have sold more than 80 million copies in 50 countries making it one of the most successful series of novels in modern times. Publication worldwide will be on 27th August 2015, 10 years since Norstedts published Män som hatar kvinnor which in English was called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.