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St Mary's Creative Writing Graduate Secures Two-Book Deal With Canongate

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St Mary's Creative Writing Graduate Secures Two-Book Deal With Canongate

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Jess Kidd, a graduate of Creative Writing at St Mary’s University Twickenham, has sold her debut novel to publisher Canongate. Louisa Joyner, editorial director of fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Himself in a two-book deal, from Susan Armstrong at Conville & Walsh. Jess graduated from St Mary’s MA in Creative Writing, before completing a PhD in the subject at St Mary’s. The publisher describes Jess’s debut novel as “by turns blackly humorous, mysterious and darkly chilling”. It tells the story of Mahony, a loveable thief and Dublin charmer who was abandoned as a baby and returns to the place of his birth in search of answers about his mother. The novel began as the central element of her PhD, supervised by St Mary’s lecturer and novelist Dr Russell Schechter and Professor Allan Simmons, before being revised for publication. ‘Jess’s remarkable talent was in evidence from day one,’ Schechter says. ‘We learned new things from each other as the novel grew and came to life. I always believed she would be a star.’Writing is isolating,” Kidd comments, “so it was a joy to explore my writing journey, academically and creatively, with Russell and Allan. This collaboration has not only informed my first novel but, I'm sure, will continue to influence my future work.” St Mary’s Creative Writing department welcomes PhD proposals in the novel, and its Creative Writing MA: First Novel, now specialises in tutoring first time novelists who want to complete drafts of their first novels. Lecturers and students at St Mary’s have been published by Bloomsbury, Canongate, St Martin’s Press and Picador.
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