Supported by

Stu Hennigan

Senior librarian for stock and reader development, Leeds Libraries

Bluemoose has an unerring eye for literary talent and has published stunning books by modern greats such as Heidi James and Ben Myers, so any new release from them is cause for celebration. Three Graves by Sean Gregory, based on the life of legendary writer Anthony Burgess, is sure to be a stellar addition to its catalogue.

This Is How We Come Back Stronger (And Other Stories) is a collection of pieces, edited by the Feminist Book Society, in which feminist writers respond to the pandemic of 2020 in essays, fiction and interviews. Twenty per cent from every copy sold is being donated to Women’s Aid and Black feminist charity Imkaan, so it’s supporting some worthy causes.

Influx is constantly at the cutting edge of modern fiction, as demonstrated by the first UK publication for Percival Everett by Virgil Russel by Percival Everett, a metaphysical, philosophical “story within a story within a story” by a writer described by the Wall Street Journal as “a scandalously under- recognised contemporary master”.

Annie Ernaux’s searching, probing memoirs have been recognised as modern classics in France and with some justification. Exteriors is the latest in a line of English translations of her work from Fitzcarraldo Editions, and it is guaranteed to be an absolute joy.

Dark Neighbourhood by Vanessa Onwuemezi (Fitzcarraldo Editions) is a short story collection which aims to take readers “on a surreal and haunting journey through a landscape on the edge of time”. It sounds intriguing and fantastic in equal measure. Definitely one to look out for.

Sarah Mathieson

School librarian at St Francis’ College in Letchworth, Hertfordshire

I am a massive fan of Onjali Q Rauf’s previous titles so I’m keen to get my hands on her next offering, The Lion Above the Door (Orion). It looks set to be a timely novel highlighting those stories which are missing from current history books. With Rauf, you know you are in for a thought-provoking read.

I’ve got high hopes for Stuntboy, in the Meantime (S&S UK) by Jason Reynolds and Raul the Third, an illustrated novel aimed at middle- grade readers. Reynolds’ writing is amazing—he makes character development and building empathy look easy—and Raul the Third’s incredible illustrations add those all-important details to the story. This looks set to be a winning combination.

Biographies and autobiographies are consistently popular in my school library and I’m certain that Coming Up For Air (HarperCollins) by Tom Daley will be no exception. Covering his path to Olympic Gold in Tokyo, as well as his personal journey of self-discovery, this book will no doubt appeal to a wide audience.

I love Karen McManus’ previous thrillers and I’m already hoping I find You’ll Be the Death of Me (Penguin) under the Christmas tree. McManus’ whodunits keep me reading late into the night with her cleverly written and fast-paced twisting plotlines, believable characters and tense drama.

Adam Kay’s last book, Kay’s Anatomy, was so popular in my school library with its humorous, informative writing on all things body-related. Kay’s Marvellous Medicine (Puffin) focuses on the history of medicine—and I can already hear the students giggling.

Claire Warren

School librarian, South Nottinghamshire Academy

Giften (Pushkin Press) by Leyla Suzan is a stunning début novel about a post-apocalyptic world with dwindling resources. Ruthie is one of a rare group of Giftens, who have a special gift and can grow things with their hands. A fascinating environmental, dystopian story that gets increasingly gripping.

The prequel to The Last Wild trilogy, which I absolutely adored. I know many readers will be ecstatic to get their hands on Piers Torday’s The Wild Before (Quercus). It follows Little Hare’s journey to protect a magical calf, whose death foretells the arrival of a plague. A very timely book.

A YA book that is getting lots of traction on Twitter, and is apparently going to be released as a Netflix film, The Upper World (Penguin Random House UK Children’s) by Femi Fadugba is a philosophical sci-fi thriller. It weaves between Esso and Rhia’s stories, as well as different time periods, hinged on a single shot from a gun. It looks, simply, delicious.

Having read Jasbinder Bilan’s other works, it’s clear that she’s brilliant at writing simple yet beautiful narratives about myths and identity within thoroughly exotic settings. And Aarti & The Blue Gods (Chicken House) doesn’t look to disappoint. I cannot wait to find out about and learn Aarti’s story.

Julia and the Shark (Orion) by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston, combines beautiful black and yellow illustrations with gorgeous poetry. About a mother, daughter and shark, this story is a journey of discovery and a feast for the eyes. I think this is soon to be a very memorable modern classic for many.


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