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Under the Table

David Hargreaves (Author)

Dominic da Silva, in his late fifties, has terminal cancer. This diagnosis prompts him to return to the diaries he kept from his boarding school years into his early thirties.

These notebooks conjure lost tableaux of Britain in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s: with the emotional repression and genteel rural poverty of his youth, through to upbeat accounts of later joyful excess and profound friendship.

Dominic has the chameleon qualities of the true survivor: by the age of thirty, he has carved out a promising career and is married to a wealthy young lawyer, herself the very epitome of upward mobility. But he’s cursed, it seems, by wanting everything to which he’s supremely ill-suited.

A quarter of a century later, it all looks very different. His has, in many ways, been a thwarted existence, and Dominic’s diaries chart his lurching journey towards self-recognition – from grand house parties to a hostel for the homeless, from an apparently perfect life to arrest and ignominy.

Under the Table is a powerful homage to truth and friendship – and a recognition of the toughness upon which both depend.

Crushed Mexican Spiders

Tibor Fischer (Author)

The appearance of any new work by Tibor Fischer is a cause for celebration. Here, are two dazzling new stories that show why he is so admired. The first, Crushed Mexican Spiders, is classic Fischer. Don't be fooled by the title: the poet laureate of London grime is on home ground as a women returns home to discover the key to her Brixton flat no longer works...

Haunting images and crisp one-liners are about all that link it with the second tale, Possibly Forty Ships, the true story of the Trojan War. In a scene straight out of a Tarantino movie, an old man is being tortured, pressed to reveal how the greatest legend of all really happened. (Let's just say it bears scant resemblance to Homer: 'If you see war as a few ships sinking in the middle of the waves, a few dozen warriors in armour, frankly not as gleaming as it could be, being welcomed whole-heartedly by the water, far, far away from Troy, if you see that as war, then it was a war...')

The stories are published in a beautiful small hardback edition, each one illustrated by the work of the acclaimed Czech photographer Hana Vojáková. The book has two front covers: read one way you're in south London at night; turn it over and you’re being burned by the harsh glare of Mediterranean sunlight.

Evil Machines

Terry Jones (Author)

How do you feel about your phone? Or your car? You probably don't think about them much, except when they go wrong. But what if they go really wrong and turn properly bad – evil, even?

Join Terry Jones on a hilariously disturbing journey into the dark heart of machines that go wrong: meet the lift that takes people to places they don't want to go, the vacuum cleaner that's just too powerful, the apparently nice bomb, the truthful phone, the terrifying train to anywhere, and Mrs. Morris, a little old lady from Glasgow who turns out to be a very resourceful heroine...

Brisk and cheerful on the outside, but as edgy and uncomfortable as any of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected within, Terry Jones's collection of thirteen cautionary fables will make you look at the 'helpful' inventions that surround you in a very different way.

A brilliantly-written and gleefully mischievous book, suitable for Luddites of all ages or anyone who likes a bit of Pythonesque edge to their silliness.

A Box of Birds

Charles Fernyhough (Author)

Neuroscientist Dr Yvonne Churcher has problems in the world beyond her lab. One of her students, James, a dangerously attractive anti-science protestor, has set out to challenge her entire philosophy about how the brain works. His friend, Gareth, a brilliant, unstable computer genius, is obsessed with the biochemical basis of memory. When he tries to persuade Yvonne to get involved with a plan to stimulate memory artificially, it sets off a chain of events involving unscrupulous biotech companies, stolen brain-mapping data and a strange brand of eco-terrorism.

A Box of Birds is both a pacy literary thriller set in a near-future world of experimental brain research, and a compelling love story between a neuroscientist and an animal rights campaigner. It brilliant dramatizes the clash between two of the predominant philosophical positions of our age: the materialist view that science has all the answers and that 'we' are nothing more than bundles of nerves and chemical reactions, and the Freud-inspired position that underpins the culture of psychotherapy: that the stories we tell about ourselves and our pasts have the capacity to change our future. Does neuroscience really change our understanding of who we are? Or are we all at the mercy of our own need to make coherent stories?

Unbelievable

Jennifer Pickup (Author)

Neona White is rather extraordinary. The thing is, while she knows that she's very different from other teenagers, she doesn't know quite how different…yet. A traumatic incident leaves Neona without the desire to keep living and a fear that she's not entirely human, and her mother is less than forthcoming. She is soon sent to live with her Grandmother where, after making some unusual new friends, she begins a dangerous quest to unravel the mysteries of her identity. Her supernatural identity.

Neona continues to face the eternal struggle between what people want her to be and who she actually is, as the world she thought she knew begins to disclose its unbelievable secrets.

Warhorses of Letters

Robert Hudson (Author) , Marie Phillips (Author)

The world's first gay, equine, military, epistolary romance.

Newly discovered letters written from Wellington's warhorse (Marengo) to Napoleon's warhorse (Copenhagen) and vice versa.

Includes extra material not featured in the Radio 4 series, both elements of the letters cut from the final scripts and additional material not featured in the shows at all, including the letters from Marengo to his hygienist and the horse he plays chess with, and the notes between Copenhagen and the annoying dog he has to share a stall with.

Initially written as a series of letters between the authors (each choosing a stretch of the Napoleonic wars between them to examine and write into the most recent letter). They were then performed with great success at the Tall Tales evenings in Kilburn until the letters were picked up by the BBC for broadcast in autumn 2011.

Conversations with Spirits

E. O. Higgins (Author)

December, 1917.

The Great War is rampaging through Europe – yet Trelawney Hart has scarcely noticed. The arch-sceptic and former child prodigy has lost his way and now ekes out a lonely existence, taking his only comfort from the bottle.

This dissolute lifestyle is interrupted, however, when spiritualist crusader and celebrated author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrives at the door of his London club and requests his help in investigating a man he believes to be a psychic medium of unparalleled gift. Driven on by his anticipation of exposing the psychic as a fraud, Hart accepts. But it is not long before he finds himself helpless amidst a series of seemingly inexplicable events – and he is forced to consider whether there may be much more to life than he had ever thought possible.

Nominated for the Edinburgh Book Festival's 2014 First Book Award.

Dazzling the Gods

Tom Vowler (Author)

A brother returns from exile to stir up the past. A macabre performance in the bowels of a Parisian museum must be seen to be believed. Lovers torn apart by heroin confront their loss in wildly divergent ways. A severely disabled husband struggles with the permission he has bestowed. And a widower observes his daughter blossoming amid the carnage of war.

Rich with dark, beguiling, playful and audacious tales, Dazzling the Gods is the second short story collection from award-winning author Tom Vowler.

News from Gardenia

Robert Llewellyn (Author)

When Gavin Meckler's light aircraft encounters a mysterious cloud and crashes to earth, he discovers that the eerily quiet landscape in which he has landed is 200 years older than the one from which he took off. In this gentle, peaceful, sustainable new world, it is possible to travel from one side of the globe to the other in a matter of minutes without burning fuel, and everyone is a gardener because that's how they can be sure to eat.

Inspired by William Morris's utopian novel News from Nowhere, Robert Llewellyn shows us a future where we don't burn anything to make anything else and which isn't hovering on the brink of disaster; where aliens haven't invaded, meteors haven’t hit and zombies haven’t taken over. In short, a world where humanity eventually gets it right.

All the technology described in the novel has seen the light of day in reality. Llewellyn's future isn't perfect and may not be very likely, but it is entirely possible.

News from the Squares

Robert Llewellyn (Author)

In this eagerly-awaited sequel to News From Gardenia, Gavin Meckler is trying to get back to the present, but something is amiss. He soon realises he has travelled sideways through time to another possible future, as unlike Gardenia as our own era.

Arriving in a teeming megacity, Gavin discovers a highly technologically developed society in a vast urban landscape constructed around a seemingly endless series of squares dense with lush vegetation and trees.

Much of what Gavin sees is recognisable. But there is one important difference. Here, women make up the majority of the global population and run the majority of institutions, including the vast and mysterious Institute of Mental Health where Gavin is required to live...

Rinse, Spin, Repeat

Edith Fassnidge (Author)

On Boxing Day in 2004, Edie Fassnidge set off for a day of kayaking off the coast of Thailand with her boyfriend, mother and sister. That's when disaster struck.

She felt a shift in the air; she spotted something on the horizon; and seconds later, the first wave came crashing down upon them. Separated from her family and covered in open wounds, Edie battled for hours to get to safety: colliding with rocks; tumbling underwater as if in a giant washing machine; grappling with overgrown branches and venomous ants... all the while hanging on to the hope that she wasn't the only one to survive.

Rinse, Spin, Repeat is a graphic memoir depicting Edie's experience of surviving the Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed over 200,000 lives and changed hers forever. Using simple illustrations and concise text, she unfolds her feelings in the hours and days of pain and uncertainty that followed. She also reflects on her struggle to find peace in the aftermath of the tsunami, which ultimately empowered her to become the person she is today.

It is a simultaneously devastating and inspiring story that will capture the heart of anyone who has wondered how it is possible to keep going after life has crumbled to pieces.

Repeal the 8th

Una Mullally (Author)

Abortion is illegal in almost every circumstance in Ireland, making it the only democracy in the western world to have such a constitutional ban:

· Between 1980 and 2015, at least 165,438 Irish women and girls accessed UK abortion services. In 2016, the figure was 3,265.
· Any woman or girl who procures an abortion, or anyone who assists a woman to procure an abortion in Ireland can be criminalised and imprisoned for up to fourteen years.
· A woman may not procure an abortion in Ireland if she is pregnant due to incest or rape, or to prevent inevitable miscarriage and fatal foetal abnormality.

The movement to repeal the Eighth Amendment and make abortion legal in Ireland has grown massively over the last few years. This anthology shares the literature, personal stories, opinions, photography, art and design produced by the movement that catalysed 2018’s momentous referendum.

Featuring prize-winning novelists, critically acclaimed poets, cutting-edge artists and journalists on the front line, this anthology will be the definitive collection of the art inspired by the most pressing debate in contemporary Ireland, and beyond.

Contributors include: Lisa McInerney, Anne Enright, Louise O’Neill, Caitlin Moran, Tara Flynn, Aisling Bing, Sinead Gleeson, Emmet Kiran.

News from the Clouds

Robert Llewellyn (Author)

Gavin Meckler has slipped sideways in time again to a far more treacherous future than he has ever faced before.

Ever since Gavin left the world of 2011 and landed 200 years in the future, he has navigated the garden lands of Gardenia, escaped a world run by women in the Squares, and now finds himself in a floating city in the Clouds.

In this possible alternative future, the planet is ravaged by a brutal climate – crippling storms, sweeping winds and an unforgiving sun. Earth's inhabitants have had to adapt, creating a highly sophisticated society where the human race has two options: to live on the earth's scarred surface in enormous culverts, reinforced to withstand the ravages of the weather… or to float above it all.

It is a classless society where everyone must experience life both on the earth and in the clouds… and where they claim to know how and why Gavin has travelled 200 years beyond his own time.

Will Gavin finally understand the truth behind his journey? Can he find his way back to the life he left behind in 2011?

Is there even a world to go back to?...

A Country to Call Home: An anthology on the experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers

Lucy Popescu (Author)

From the editor of A Country of Refuge comes an anthology of new writing on one of the defining issues of our time; focusing on the fate of refugee children and young adults, it is aimed at children and adult readers alike.

There are tales of home, and missing it; poems about the dangerous journeys undertaken and life in the refugee camps; stories about prejudice, but also stories of children’s fortitude, their dreams and aspirations.

A Country to Call Home implores us to build bridges, not walls. It is intended as a reminder of our shared humanity, seeking to challenge the negative narratives that so often cloud our view of these vulnerable young people, and prevent us giving them the empathy they deserve.

The book will include newly commissioned stories, flash fiction, poetry and original artwork from some of our finest children’s writers: Michael Morpurgo, David Almond, Chris Riddell, Moniza Alvi, Simon Armitage, Sita Brahmachari, Eoin Colfer, Kit de Waal, Peter Kalu, Judith Kerr, Patrice Lawrence, Anna Perera, the late Christine Pullein-Thompson, Bali Rai and S. F. Said.

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile

Alice Jolly (Author)

Tiny, hare-lipped orphan Mary Ann Sate – persecuted for her ‘devil’s mark’ and dismissed as a half-wit – is taken in by Mr Harland Cottrell as a servant in the Stroud Valleys of the 1830s. Living in total obscurity, she dies without leaving a trace, it seems, beyond a single line in the local death register: ‘Mary Ann Sate, 9 October 1887, Imbecile’.

But Mary Ann was cleverer and more observant than those around her credited and, towards the end of her life, she took up a pen to write her own truth. Set against the upheavals of enclosure and the weavers’ riots, we are granted an immersive, domestic view of history, a vivid and poignant account of what it was to live through those times, amid the haunting landscape she so lovingly evokes.

In this fictional found memoir, novelist Alice Jolly casts an unflinching female eye on real events, and gives joyful, poetic voice to the silenced women of the past.

Project Prep

Yanneke Niessen (Author) , Niki Smit (Author)

Project Prep tells the story of four thirteen-year-old girls as they begin to discover a new world of technology, entrepreneurship and coding. It’s also a story about friendship, love, fashion and all the other things in the life of a thirteen-year-old. The girls come across the challenges, setbacks and successes any entrepreneur faces, but most importantly they discover how magical working in technology can be – the amazing feeling that comes from seeing an idea become a reality, something you can actually use and that is impacting other people’s lives for the better.

Along the way readers will learn the ins and outs of the tech world, meet entrepreneurial role models, and learn the beginnings of how to code.

The Broken Mirror

Jonathan Coe (Author) , Chiara Coccorese (Illustrator)

Can desire really transform reality?

From award-winning novelist Jonathan Coe and distinguished Italian artist Chiara Coccorese comes The Broken Mirror, a political parable for children, a contemporary fairy tale for adults, and a fable for all ages.

One day Claire, to escape her quarrelsome parents, takes refuge in the dump behind her house. There she finds a broken mirror, a nasty piece of sharp glass… yet she is strangely drawn to it. She soon discovers it has the power to transform even the most drab reality into a fairy-tale world: the grey sky is reflected blue, and Claire’s modest, suburban house is transformed into the most beautiful castle.

As Claire grows older, always accompanied by her magic mirror, she can see her face without her teenage acne, and her town before it fell victim to thieving property developers. But, in reality, libraries are being turned into luxury flats wherever she looks, and the boy Claire loves is instead her worst enemy.

Frustrated and angry with the mirror’s illusions, Claire is about to destroy it when the mysterious Peter steps in: he has also found a shard of broken mirror, and so begins their journey to piece together the larger puzzle…

Previously published in Italian, French, Greek and Dutch, The Broken Mirror comes to life in English for the first time, to be read with equal pleasure by children and adults.

24 Stories

Kathy Burke (Edited by)

On the night of 14 June 2017, a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London, killing at least 87 people and injuring many more. An entire community was destroyed. For many people affected by this tragedy, the psychological scars may never heal.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects many people who have endured traumatic events, leaving them unable to move on from life-changing tragedies. In the immediate aftermath of the fire, the focus was rightly placed on providing food, shelter and health care for those left homeless – but it is important that we don’t lose sight of the psychological impact this fire will have had on its survivors.

24 Stories is an anthology of short stories, written on themes of community and hope, by a mix of the UK’s best established writers and previously unpublished authors, whose pieces were chosen by Kathy Burke from over 250 entries.

Contributors include: Irvine Welsh, A. L. Kennedy, Meera Syal, John Niven, Pauline Melville, Daisy Buchanan, Christopher Brookmyre, Zoe Venditozzi, Nina Stibbe, Mike Gayle, Murray Lachlan Young, Barney Farmer.

A Murder to Die For

Stevyn Colgan (Author)

When hordes of people descend on the picturesque village of Nasely for the annual celebration of its most famous resident, murder mystery writer Agnes Crabbe, events take a dark turn as the festival opens with a shocking death.

Each year the residents are outnumbered by crowds dressed as Crabbe’s best-known character, the lady detective Millicent Cutter. The weekend is never a mild-mannered affair as fan club rivalries bubble below the surface, but tensions reach new heights when a second Crabbe devotee is found murdered. Though the police are quick to arrive on the scene, the facts are tricky to ascertain as the witnesses, suspects and victim are all dressed as Miss Cutter. And they all want to solve that crime too . . .

A Dark Nativity

George Pitcher (Author)

The Rev’d Natalie Cross, a high-profile priest at St Paul’s Cathedral, is tipped to be one of the first female bishops in the Church of England.

She could be happy. But she’s not.

Natalie’s work among the desperately poor is intricately bound up with her wounded past. Her fierce humanity has already got her into trouble as a foreign aid worker among the refugees of Sudan and the Middle East. And when she is drawn into the world of peace-process politics, it seems it’s not her faith she needs so much as a brutal self-reliance born of damage done long ago.

In a godforsaken world of oppression and terror, where cynical intelligence agencies operate outside the rule of international law, she is forced to respond in kind to those who would so cruelly use and abuse her.

The most dangerous people are not always those holding the guns – and Natalie will need to abandon morality and tap into her own dark side to take them on.

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