Stacey Bartlett 20 January 2012 - 4:30pm
Waterstones has announced its annual lineup of debut authors who look set for success this year
Click the first five authors' names to read interviews with them about their debuts.
Eleven years in the making, Harbach’s baseball-themed novel is already on a winning streak. Harbach is also making history – he is the only début author in literary history to have a book about his novel released before the novel itself.
“When you’ve been working on something for six or seven years and you’ve been telling people about it and you know that the end is really not in sight . . . Well, I certainly had some dark moments in the composition.”
Eowyn Ivey – The Snow Child (March)
Ivey’s novel is set in the ruthless winter wilderness of 1920s Alaska – before electricity, hot water or convenience stores. A native of Alaska herself, Ivey came across the inspiration for the story in the bookshop she worked in, flicking through a famous Russian fairytale.
“It was kind of a magical feeling when I read it, I got this amazing tingly feeling. It kept coming, it was like opening a box . . . I had a fire inside me.”
Patrick Flanery – Absolution (March)
Set in South Africa, Absolution follows a journalist who is writing the biography of a prolific author whose family has a tragic crime-filled past. Flanery, who is from California, drew inspiration from Margaret Atwood as he wrote the novel to take a break from writing his doctoral thesis on Evelyn Waugh at Oxford.
“That’s one of the fascinating things about South Africa. Every social moment is, I don’t want to say fraught, but inflected with so much social and historical complexity. Every relationship, even a casual exchange between a patron and customer in a store, is encoded in the history of race and social deprivation."
Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (March)
Harold Fry is an unremarkable old man who does a remarkable thing. Upon learning an old friend is dying of cancer, he goes to post her a letter of condolence, but instead bypasses the post box, and the next one, and the one after that, until he finds himself walking to Berwick-upon-Tweed from Devon. Joyce wrote the story as a radio play originally, after finding out her father had cancer.
“I started writing it for him but knowing that he wouldn’t hear it. He died before it went out. But he was very much present as I was doing it.”
Charlotte Rogan – The Lifeboat (March)
Released shortly before the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, The Lifeboat centres around the sinking of a great Atlantic liner and the survivors on a lifeboat full of people, namely a 22-year-old honeymooner who is on trial for questionable circumstances surrounding her survival for three weeks on the boat when many died.
"It's a psychological exploration of the will to survive. My parents instilled in me a respect for nature, the real wildlife and the real sea."
The other six:
Frances Greenslade - Shelter (February)
WIll Wiles - Care of Wooden Floors (February)
Grace McCleen - The Land of Absolution (March)
Anna Raverat - Signs of Life (April)
Karen Thompson Walker - The Age of Miracles (June)
Jenni Fagan - The Panopticon (May)