Carolyn Jess-Cooke commended in The National Poetry Competition


I kept you in bed with me so many nights,
certain I could hold the life into you,
certain that the life in you wanted to leap out, hare-like,
go bobbing off into some night-field.
For want of more eyes, more arms
I strapped you to me while I did the dishes, cooked, typed,
your little legs frogging
against the deflating dune of your first home.
Nested you in a car seat while I showered, dressed,
and when you breastfed for hours and hours
I learned how to manoeuvre the cup and book around you.
Time and friends and attitudes, too.
We moved breakables a height, no glass tables.
Fitted locks to the kitchen cupboards, door jammers,
argued about screws and pills someone left within reach.
I’ll not tell you how my breath left me, how my heart stopped
at your stillness in the cot, and who I became
when at last you moved. There is no telling
what skins of me have dropped and shed in the fears
I’ve entered. What I will say is that the day
beyond these blankets, beyond our door
is known to me now, fragile as moth-scurf,
its long ears twitching, alert,
white tail winking across the night-field.

Boom by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Carolyn Jess-Cooke is a poet and novelist. Her beautiful poem ‘Hare’ has been commended in the National Poetry Competition, and was placed in the top ten out of 12,085 entries. Her poem ‘Home Birth‘ also recently featured in the New Statesman. Her second collection of verse, BOOM!, explores motherhood and is published by Seren Books.

Carolyn’s Writing Motherhood project is underway, with the first event happening on 13th April at the Wordsworth Trust and the launch of BOOM! at the Hexham Book Festival. On Saturday 14th June she will be performing at the Belfast Book Festival with Debi Gliori and Sinead Morrissey, and on Saturday 5th July she will perform with Hollie McNish and Rebecca Goss at the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Carolyn has also accepted an academic post in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, which will commence in September. As part of her new role she will developing a research project about mental health – also the subject of her next poetry collection.


Bookouture to launch Night School in US and C.J. Daugherty releases WattPad prequel

Night School banner

Night School US launch

Bookouture will launch C.J. Daugherty’s bestselling YA thriller series, Night School, in the US this May.

Starting with Night School: Legacy, Bookouture will launch the series in ebook only format, complete with an amazing set of new covers. The following books in the series will be released at half-monthly intervals.

‘Imagine a mixture of Hogwarts and Mallory Towers but filled with murder instead of magic. That is what you get. This book blew me away’   Serendipity reviews

‘If you are a fan of teen romance mixed with mystery and lots of twists and turns, this book is for you’ Maximum Pop!

‘The most exciting teen book series to hit our shelves in ages’ Teen Now

‘Daugherty’s storytelling brims with gusto. Another enjoyable, thrill-packed term’ The FT

  ‘Love, break-ups, murder, fighting, friendships, secrets, hot boys, beautiful girls, run-away siblings, long-lost grandmothers…everything you could want from a book’  The American Magazine


Free Night School prequel on WattPad

C.J Daugherty has just posted a brand new Night School prequel on Watt Pad, called The Day the Lights Went Out. The prequel is set five years before the start of Night School, Book One. Isabelle has been headmistress for one year. Carter is eleven years old. Allie hasn’t yet committed her first crime. And Nathaniel is about to make his presence known for the first time…

This exclusive story introduces an exciting new character you will meet again in later Night School books. It also explains once and for all why there are no computers at Cimmeria Academy.

The first half of the story is up now! The second half will go up in the same place this Friday.

Read The Day the Lights Went Out on WattPad for free

Publication of gripping new psychological suspense book

C.L. TaylorCongratulations to C.L. Taylor on the publication of her gripping new psychological suspense book, The Accident (HarperCollins/Avon).   C.L. Taylor likens publication day to New Year’s Eve on her author website.

Her book deal moment is also reported in Novelicious, and reviews can be read on Goodreads.

The MM Agency is delighted with all the review coverage so far and the strong retail support, particularly from WH Smiths, Tesco, Asda and Amazon.

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep, rights in The Accident have already been snapped up by publishers in America, Germany, Italy, Poland, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.  The UK and US covers are below – each publisher is using a different title, and the design they feel is most suitable for their market.

The Accident by C.L. Taylor

UK cover

C.L. Taylor BEFORE I WAKE - US jacket

US cover

HarperCollins book deal for debut writer Fionnuala Kearney

Fionnuala KearneyCongratulations to Fionnuala Kearney for her three book deal with HarperCollins / HarperFiction.  Madeleine Milburn negotiated  the deal with Publishing Director, Kimberley Young, who will publish the first book in the contract, You, Me and Other People in 2015.  She gave Fionnuala a glowing endorsement:

“There are some authors who deliver story and some who deliver emotion. When a debut novel delivers both you know it’s an author you want on your list. Fionnuala had the whole team in tears, all for different reasons and I’m so excited we have a three-book deal as this is an author I want to publish for many years to come.”

For fans of Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty, You, Me and Other People is a story of a marriage in crisis told from both husband and wife, showing the reader that nothing is ever as simple as the word “betrayal”.

Fionnuala Kearney, who gave up her job to devote herself to writing her first novel said, ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be signing with HarperCollins. It’s a dream come true to be recognised by such a reputable publisher and the beginning of what I hope will be a long and happy partnership.’

Madeleine Milburn said ‘I am so excited to have such a talented author with Kimberley Young, especially given to her experience of growing debut authors into bestselling brands’.

The deal has been reported in The Bookseller ahead of the London Book Fair next week.

Wallis and Williamson shortlisted for prestigious Children’s Awards

The Dark Inside - Italian jacket                     A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

A huge congratulations to agency authors Rupert Wallis and Lara Williamson on being shortlisted for two very exciting Children’s Awards:

Rupert Wallis

The Dark Inside (Simon & Schuster) by Rupert Wallis has been shortlisted for The Andersen Prize, the most prestigious literary award for children in Italy.  He’s been shortlisted with two other authors, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The winner will be announced on May 24 in Genoa.


Lara Williamson

Lara Williamson’s A Boy Called Hope (Usborne Publishing) is shortlisted for the IBW Book Award, alongside Patrick Ness and Malorie Blackman

You can read more in the press release on the Bookseller:

IBW Award

MM Literary Agency: News & Reviews and Bologna Book Fair 2014

Bologna Children's Book FairBologna Book Fair 2014 : The Madeleine Milburn Agency is excited to attend the Bologna Children’s Book Fair from Monday 24th – Friday 28th March 2014. The Agency has over fifty meetings with international publishers, American editors and Film & TV scouts.  Milburn will be pitching the Agency’s budding list of children’s titles.


C.J. Daughertysalon_livre_paris_2014-2

C.J. Daugherty is heading to Paris for the Salon du Livre 2014 where she will be signing books for her fans and taking part in the most important conference of the fair talking to New York Times & USA Today bestseller of teen novels, Simone Elkeles, about romance for teens and YA.


C.L. Taylor b&wThe Accident by C.L. TaylorC.L. Taylor has been getting fabulous review coverage for her psychological suspense novel The Accident (HarperCollins) ahead of publication.  Cally is due to appear at The Lady’s Literary Lunch 2014 in April alongside bestselling authors Isabelle Wolff and Clare Campbell.


The Storm Tower Thief by Anne Cameron

Anne Cameron’s second installment of The Lightning Catcher series, The Storm Tower Thief (HarperCollins) has received an excellent US Kirkus review: ‘ Reprising the successful formula of The Lightning Catcher, Cameron again locates her engaging trio of best friends in the fantastical Perilous boarding school venue populated with a growing cast of bizarre characters and some truly horrific winter weather.’


Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Luana Lewis‘ debut Don’t Stand So Close (Transworld) has been called ‘a stunning debut psychological suspense thriller that will keep you firmly in its grip’ by The Sun


Karen Ross writing room

Karen Ross’s writing room is now up on Novelicious

Bloomsbury Publishing acquires ‘bestseller-in-the-making’

Caleb Krisp

The Madeleine Milburn Agency is delighted to announce the phenomenal international rights deals for a brand new children’s book, Caleb Krisp’s Anyone But Ivy Pocket, a darkly whimsical and wickedly funny tale of a twelve-year-old maid of no importance who finds herself at the very heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, ghosts and murder.

Harry Potter publisher, Bloomsbury, has acquired the UK & Commonwealth rights fighting off stiff competition from an inordinate number of other publishers. They will publish the first book in Spring 2015, with books two and three to follow at nine-month intervals.

In The Bookseller, Editorial Director Ellen Holgate, called it ‘a novel full of invention, wit and dysfunctional Victorian aristocrats. Most importantly, it features the best anti-heroine I’ve read about in a long time. Mr Krisp has created an extraordinary new voice and we can’t wait to unleash Ivy on the unsuspecting world.’

In the run up to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Madeleine Milburn Agency has also sold North American rights in a major auction to HarperCollins / Greenwillow Books.  The American editions will be published simultaneously with the UK editions.  This was closely followed by an overnight six-figure pre-empt for German rights, a ten-way auction in Brazil, best offers in Spain, and offers from Croatia, Israel, Hungary, Korea, Norway and Sweden, with other auctions underway.

Ivy’s monstrously unreliable narration and her wonderfully eccentric way of seeing the world tempers the darkness of this fairly grisly mystery-adventure, which shares a similar sensibility with the works of Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman.  The Agency is thrilled that the Ivy Pocket series will be published all over the world.

Globe map

An agent’s opinion on gendering children’s titles

Let Toys Be ToysFurther to the heated publishing debate about whether children’s books should be made gender neutral, as discussed in The Bookseller following the heated campaign Let Toys Be Toys, we express our support for a move to stop designating books as either for girls or boys.

At such a young and impressionable age, we shouldn’t be pushing children into unnecessary categories.

Gender is not a fact of life. Females aren’t born with an innate preference for horses, glitter and fairies. Nor do males have a congenital predisposition to playing with dragons and rockets. Yes, many parents may shop for gender specific titles. But as agents and editors, we are at the core of making these reading options available. Do we really want to reinforce what is “acceptable” to read? What makes a child a proper girl or a proper boy? Or do we want to inspire their imagination and encourage them to read anything and everything that they enjoy?

We must allow children to gravitate towards whatever books they want to read, without labeling it and thereby imposing unnecessary restrictions or taboos. There will be girls who read about sports cars, and boys who read about ponies – so make this mainstream, not closeted reading that can target bullying.

Books aren’t “gender specific”, but how they are marketed is. As an agent, I am always on the lookout for books that, regardless of the theme or the gender of the protagonist, appeal to a wide range of children. We are currently at auction in countries all over the world with the middle grade book, Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp so, internationally speaking, ‘gender neutral’ books have far wider appeal. We’ve had great success with other gender neutral titles by our authors: C.J. Daugherty, Lara Williamson, Rupert Wallis, Holly Bourne and Dave Lowe.

Read the Bookseller article, “Children’s book trade: gendered titles ‘limiting’”, to see how other agents and publishers have responded to the debate on on gendering children’s titles.

Amazon Publication of The Pollyannna Plan

Huge congratulations to Talli Roland on the publication of The Pollyanna Plan.  Lake Union, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, launched their edition today with a publicity banner on the Kindle Homepage itself, calling it ‘heartfelt and funny’:

The Pollyanna Plan kindle books

The Pollyanna Plan by Talli RolandThe Agency is thrilled with their ambitious publishing plans, particularly for the US market.

Talli’s debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite.

Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites, and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States.

The No-Kids Club by Talli RolandAmazon / Lake Union Publishing will follow with the publication of The No Kid’s Club in June this year.

The Bookseller brings us the latest news on Amazon Publishing.

MM Literary Agency: News and Reviews

Emma Garcia’s Never Google Heartbreak launched in America

Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

‘Clever, witty and downright hilarious,’ Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia has now been launched in America (Bookouture).

US readers can buy copies on Amazon, iBookstore and Barnes & Noble


Karen Ross Mother of the Year launch

On Monday we celebrated the launch of the Lucy Cavendish shortlisted book Mother of the Year by Karen Ross (Ebury) in Primrose Hill.

Karen Ross launch

‘Sweet and endearing, witty and stimulating, light and powerful, and entertaining throughout’

‘This is a really entertaining book that reads like a comedy of errors at times… I’d recommend it to both mothers and daughters’ Bookbag


Holly Martin UK bestseller

The Guestbook by Holly Martin

The Guestbook by Holly Martin climbed right up to No.5 on the entire bestselling Kindle book chart during its second week of publication (Carina).


Night School trailer

Trailermade Films have put together a TV ad for the international No.1 bestselling Night School series by C.J. Daugherty, which will run on the Sky Arts channel over the next couple of months:

The 4th book in the series, Night School: RESISTANCE will be out in June 2014.