On the eve of the Escalator Talent Development Scheme 2017-18 deadline, we’re very pleased to share news of two former Escalatees who are publishing their debut novels this June – Miranda Doyle and Jane Menczer.
A Book of Untruths (Faber & Faber)
A Book of Untruths is a family story told through a series of lies. Each short chapter features one of these lies and each lie builds to form a picture of a life-Miranda Doyle’s life as she struggles to understand her complicated family and her own place within it.
This is a book about love, family and marriage. It is about the fallibility of human beings and the terrible things we do to one another. It is about the ways we get at-or avoid-the truth. And it is about storytelling itself: how we build a sense of ourselves and our place in the world.
A Book of Untruths is a surprising, shocking and invigorating book that edges towards the truth through an engagement with falsehood. It brings questions to its readers; not answers.
A Book of Untruths is published by Faber & Faber on 1 June 2017.
Miranda Doyle graduated from an MA at Goldsmiths in Creative & Life Writing with distinction and was mentored through Escalator in 2005. She was awarded Arts Council England support in 2010 for the novel An Empty Quarter. Her autobiographical story, ‘Autopsy’, was selected by Irvine Welsh for The Scottish Book Trust for inclusion in its Days Like This anthology, and broadcast on Radio Scotland. A Book of Untruths is her debut book. Website
An Unlikely Agent (Birlinn Ltd)
London, 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret’s meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat.
When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!’. After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as The Scorpions.
Margaret’s guilty love of detective fiction scarcely prepares her for the reality of true criminality, and her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love.
An Unlikely Agent is published by Birlinn Ltd on 1 June 2017.
Jane Menczer lives in Cambridge and teaches drama at a local comprehensive school. She won a place on the Escalator Talent Development Scheme and a Grant for the Arts to help fund the completion of An Unlikely Agent, which is her first novel.
Miranda and Jane will host a joint book launch at Heffers Bookshop in Cambridge on 31 May 2017. Entry is free. They will also be speaking to this year’s Escalator winners at the inaugural meeting on 20 May about their books, the experiences of writing and of the publishing process.