05.  03.  2007

Novel Successes for Cambridgeshire Writers

Criminal Writing gets deals with major publishers

Two Cambridgeshire-based novelists are having their exciting crime novels produced by large publishing houses. Aliya Whiteley’s book, Light Reading, will be published by Macmillan under their New Writing imprint. Nicola Upson’s detective novel, An Expert in Murder, will be published by Faber & Faber in May 2008.

Aliya Whiteley                Nicola Upson

Both writers benefited from Escalator Literature, part of a talent programme run by Arts Council England, East.

Aliya Whiteley, (above left) who lives in Brampton, Cambridgeshire, has this to say about how Escalator 2006 has helped her career: “The Escalator scheme has provided invaluable guidance, both in terms of the craft of writing, and in making new contacts in the publishing business. Novelist Michelle Spring is an excellent mentor. She has advised me on both my manuscript and my writing career, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have won a place on the scheme which has allowed me to work with her, and to meet such a talented and dedicated group of writers.”

Aliya’s mentor, crime writer Michelle Spring, is thrilled: “Within a few months of becoming part of the Escalator scheme, Aliya Whiteley has found an agent, revised her manuscript with the help of a mentor, and had her novel accepted for publication by Macmillan. This is yet another example of how Escalator helps talented writers on their way to becoming the literary stars of the future.”

Nicola Upson, (above right) who lives in Cambridge, believes Escalator 2005 has been invaluable in gaining her 2-book deal: “To receive the award was a huge boost, and it gave me the space to put my shoulders down and just write. Most importantly, though, the support of The New Writing Partnership, Arts Council England, East and Michelle Spring gave me the confidence to treat my work as a priority and a long-term investment. Without them, I'd probably still be tinkering around with Chapter Ten, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities that Escalator has given me.”

Walter Donohue at Faber is very pleased to welcome Nicola on board: "An Expert In Murder is a brilliant evocation of London's theatre world in the 1930s. First-time novelist Nicola Upson has cleverly combined aspects of Tey's life and art to produce a complex and psychologically-rich plot, whose characters are haunted by the horrors of the First World War."

The innovative Escalator programme has seen some notable success in the last three years. John Davidson, Acting Director of Arts & Development at Arts Council England, East, says: “Escalator works across all art forms to find, support and invest in the best artistic talent in the East of England and is pioneering the work of talented writers at all stages of their career, helping them to take important artistic and professional steps. Many of the writers involved through The New Writing Partnership have already secured agents and publishers as a direct result of its support.”

More about the novels

Light Reading is a fast-paced mystery featuring a detective duo who are more used to making sponges than taking risks. It proves that the quietest people hold the biggest surprises, and that uncovering another person’s secrets is always a dangerous business . . . .

What does a suicide note reveal about a person? Pru Green, RAF Wife and pessimist, has read enough of them to know they don’t reveal anything, least of all the reason for committing suicide. But the newest addition to her collection of notes is different: it is the start of a mystery that will take Pru and her best friend, the eternal optimist Lena, into an underworld that spans a teenage mafia, extra-marital sex and murder.

An Expert in Murder is a detective novel set in London’s theatreland during the 1930s. A fan of Josephine Tey’s novels, Nicola Upson was fascinated by Tey’s many different writing identities and her mysterious life that was divided between Scotland and London's West End. Tey's plays enjoyed extraordinary success and launched the careers of actors such as John Gielgud, whom Nicola interviewed before writing the book.

Notes to Editors:

Escalator is an Arts Council England, East initiative to make the East of England a major driving force for the development of new arts talent, regionally, nationally and internationally. It is designed to locate, develop and promote artists at critical stages of their careers. Escalator covers music, performance, visual arts and creative writing. The programme for creative writing is being managed by The New Writing Partnership and includes support for writers by mentors, feedback from editors and opportunities to showcase work.

The New Writing Partnership exists to develop and support creative writing, establishing the East of England as a national and international centre of excellence. www.newwritingpartnership.org.uk/escalator.

For further information please contact:
Sarah Gooderson, The New Writing Partnership, Norwich
Tel 01603 877177

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