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The success of the German U-boats has been covered in numerous books but, astonishingly, the story of how the British turned the situation around has never before been investigated.

From Chess to Space Invaders, war has always been a central theme in play; a lesser known fact is that the reverse is also true. Since the 1800s war-themed games have been adapted to real-world situations, recreating recent or forthcoming battles. As journalist and games expert Simon Parkin was to discover, what happens in these games often goes on to play out in real life. Earlier this year, whilst researching a piece for the New Yorker’s radio station about the role games can play in war, Simon was invited to visit the British Defence Academy in Shrivenham. He asked the overseeing Army Major whether he could offer up a concrete example of “gaming” influencing military tactics and policy. The answer led him to “Operation Raspberry”.

Operation Raspberry was born in the dilapidated WATU offices in Liverpool and first played out on a linoleum floor divided into painted squares. Model ships were moved across this make-believe ocean in a manner reminiscent of the childhood game, Battleships. Famed for his success in defeating U-boats,  Admiral Max Horton was invited to play, assuming the role of a German U-boat commander and tasked with defending his fleet from the British, played by a person concealed behind a canvas screen. Horton’s initial skepticism dissolved as in the course of five separate games, his U-boats were sunk without his unseen opponent sustaining a single loss. When Horton demanded the victor reveal himself, seventeen-year-old Janet Okell stepped out from behind the screen. Okell was one of eight women whose work, with Gilbert Roberts, on ‘The Game’ would help win Churchill’s battle for the Atlantic.

Combining novelistic (though resolutely non-fictional) accounts with Simon’s vast gaming experience and the often-unexpected things they reveal about us, A GAME OF BIRDS AND WOLVES promises to breathe a breath of fresh air into this period whilst finally bringing to the fore the unlikely hero(ines) of this fascinating and astonishing story. Along with already-established interviews with the surviving WRENs and their families, he plans to work with renowned archive researcher Laura Berry, to fully excavate these stories. Simon has already attracted film/TV interest in the book.

A British writer and journalist, Simon Parkin is a contributing writer for the New and a critic for The Observer newspaper. He has contributed to The New York Times, Harper’s, the Guardian, New Statesman, Technology Review, BBC and a variety of other publications. His first non-fiction book, DEATH BY VIDEO GAME, was published in 2015 by Serpent’s Tail and in the US in June 2016 by Melville House. It was a NYTBR ‘Recommended Read’, described therein as “very, very good”.


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‘Ania had set aside most of the morning for some work on her novel. Her main character was a less beautiful and more philosophical version of herself. She nursed a dark secret as did most of the other characters. These were all to be eventually revealed in the book-lined office of a psychiatrist, the novel’s narrator. Before long Ania was deep in contemplation, weighing up the benefits of different venues for her book launch.’

I am delighted to be sharing Mahesh Rao’s novel POLITE SOCIETY. Ania is the beautiful, clever and very slightly bored daughter of a rich Indian family. When she’s not interviewing celebrities or working on her novel, Ania uses her glittering social life to create romantic opportunities for her peers– first for her aunt (‘There was one in most of the grand houses in Delhi, usually beached somewhere on the upper floors.’) and then for her friend Dimple. Ania is too busy managing others’ love lives to give too much thought to her own, but she can’t help noticing her very good friend Dev is spending an awful lot of time with Kamya, an irritatingly beautiful novelist…

With stiletto-sharp observation and social comedy, Mahesh Rao has used Jane Austen’s Emma as a springboard to take us into the lives of a group of characters we never want to part with. His ability to combine a heavy dose of irony with the lightest of touches makes this novel a poignant, funny and hugely enjoyable read.

Mahesh is the author of a novel THE SMOKE IS RISING and a book of short stories ONE POINT TWO BILLION published in the UK by Daunt to wonderful reviews, and in France by Editions Zoe. THE SMOKE IS RISING won the Tata First Book Award for Fiction and his short fiction has been short-listed for the Bridport Prize, the Commonwealth short story prize and the Zoetrope: All-story short fiction contest.  He was born and brought up in Nairobi, has worked in the UK as a lawyer, researcher and bookseller and currently lives most of the year in India.

‘Fish got a ticket, has he?’ asked the stationmaster.   Emma Macdonald

Hilary Bradt | BEASTLY JOURNEYS – Unusual Tales of Travels with Animals

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Jennifer Barclay | Non-Fiction

Never work with children or animals – they steal the show. That’s certainly the case with the animals in this collection of 45 true stories.

Gerald Durrell shares his bed in Argentina with a feverish baby peccary; John Rendall travels to Africa to introduce Christian the lion to the wild; Sarah Outen makes fishy friends while rowing solo across the Indian Ocean; and Jonathan Scott joins a pack of painted dogs.

Other journeys involve a smuggled tortoise, a dancing snake and a baby elephant; a dog that runs an ultra-marathon through the Gobi desert; Persian kittens on camelback and cats on boats; a 19th-century giraffe that walked from Marseilles to Paris drawing crowds of thousands; and a cockerel that accompanied a climber up the highest peak in Madagascar. Read about
the travelling musicians from Russia who needed a guinea pig to warm the maestro’s hands, and a rabbit in Ghana with a custom-made waistcoat.

With extracts from classic writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Isabella Bird and Dervla Murphy, and original stories from new writers, this anthology might make you think differently when choosing a travel companion. There are birds and dogs that help people find their way, and beasts of burden that become burdensome beasts. Whether great or small, these are all creatures that make the human journey exceptional.

‘Fish got a ticket, has he?’ asked the stationmaster.   Emma Macdonald


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In 2014 I moved back to the United States after living abroad for fourteen years, my whole adult life, because my father was dying from cancer. Six weeks after I arrived in New York City, my father died. Six months after that I learned that I had inherited the gene that would cause me cancer too.

When Jean Hannah Edelstein’s world overturned she was forced to confront some of the big questions in life: how do we cope with grief? How does living change when we realize we’re not invincible? Does knowing our likely fate make it harder or easier to face the future? How do you motivate yourself to go on your OkCupid date when you’re struggling with your own mortality?

Written in her inimitable, wry and insightful voice, Jean Hannah Edelstein’s memoir is by turns heart-breaking, hopeful and yet also disarmingly funny. THIS REALLY ISN’T ABOUT YOU is a book about finding your way in life. Which is to say, it’s a book about discovering you are not really in control of that at all.

„Jean Hannah Edelstein is one of the most brilliant writers of her generation, as witty, wry and unsentimental as Nora Ephron. This is a magnificent book, about families, mortality, love and the hard, necessary work of becoming an adult.“
-Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City

„A most magnificent, beautifully written memoir. Unsentimental but heartbreaking, the voice – true and clear. Brilliant.“
-Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina

Ben Rhodes | THE WORLD AS IT IS – A Memoir Of The Obama White House

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From one of Barack Obama’s closest aides comes a revelatory behind-the-scenes account of his presidency—and how idealism can confront harsh reality and still survive—in the tradition of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.
For nearly ten years, Ben Rhodes saw almost everything that happened at the center of the Obama administration—first as a speechwriter, then as deputy national security advisor, and finally as a multipurpose aide and close collaborator. He started every morning in the Oval Office with the President’s Daily Briefing, traveled the world with Obama, and was at the center of some of the most consequential and controversial moments of the presidency. Now he tells the full story of his partnership—and, ultimately, friendship—with a man who also happened to be a historic president of the United States.

Rhodes was not your typical presidential confidant, and this is not your typical White House memoir. Rendered in vivid, novelistic detail by someone who was a writer before he was a staffer, this is a rare look inside the most poignant, tense, and consequential moments of the Obama presidency—waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room, responding to the Arab Spring, reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran, leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government to normalize relations, and confronting the resurgence of nationalism and nativism that culminated in the election of Donald Trump.

In The World as It Is, Rhodes shows what it was like to be there—from the early days of the Obama campaign to the final hours of the presidency. It is a story populated by such characters as Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, and—above all—Barack Obama, who comes to life on the page in moments of great urgency and disarming intimacy. This is the most vivid portrayal yet of Obama’s worldview and presidency, a chronicle of a political education by a writer of enormous talent, and an essential record of the forces that shaped the last decade.

Advance praise for The World as It Is

“Ben Rhodes is one of the most brilliant minds and powerful storytellers I’ve ever known. In The World as It Is, he doesn’t just bring you inside the room for key moments of Obama’s presidency, he captivates you with the journey of an idealistic young staffer who becomes the president’s closest friend and advisor—a journey that both cynics and believers will find riveting and hopeful.”— Jon Favreau


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For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, disregarded, mutilated or made fun of, and the truth is that because of this most people don’t know enough about vaginas at all. As women all over the country begin to join together in a conversation about consent and power, Lynn’s investigation into the history, biology and politics of the vagina will be a valuable and urgent addition to the discussion.

In Vagina: A Re-Education, she is determined to smash the stigma and uncover the facts about the vagina, from sex-education, to the clitoris, through pain and arousal, Lynn will chart the story of the vagina, and empower women to know more about their bodies. This is also a personal journey, as Lynn re-educates herself about her own vagina, and tells her readers how her story could have been helped by just a little more information.

As head of news and content at The Pool, Lynn understands how constructs about femininity intersect with damaging myths about our biology. As a freelance journalist, she has written for The Irish Times, The Independent, The Financial Times, BuzzFeed, Grazia, Stylist and many other UK and international publications. Incidentally, she is currently living in Berlin!

Allen & Unwin will publish the book next year and it is due to be delivered in late June (just a few weeks!). We are so excited to see more of this book, as you’ll see in the proposal Lynn voice and engagement with the subject is striking and refreshing.

Barbie Latza Nadeau | ROADMAP TO HELL – Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast

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From sex slaves to drug mules, The Daily Beast’s Rome Bureau Chief uncovers a terrifying and intricate web of criminal activity right on Europe’s doorstep.
Caught between Camorra gunrunners selling to ISIS and Nigerian drug gangs along Italy’s picturesque coast, each year thousands of refugees and migrants are lured into their underworld, forced to become sex slaves, drug mules or weapon smugglers. In this powerful exposé, investigative journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau follows the weapons trail, meets the trafficked women trapped by black magic, the brave nuns who try to save them and the Italian police who turn a blind eye as the most urgent issues facing Europe play out in broad daylight.

“I read this book in one horrified gulp. It was dreadfully gripping, so clearly combining compassion with incision, genuine pity with years of coalface research. Here is a profound, appalling portrait of a country overwhelmed by crime, which somehow manages to keep a focus on the human victims and the geopolitical forces at play.” 
—Tobias Jones, author of The Dark Heart of Italy: An Incisive Portrait of Europe’s Most Beautiful, Most Disconcerting Country

Andrew Pack | IN SECURE

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UNBOUND | YA / Fantasy  

I loved this one and really felt for the protagonists! This tackles a lot of big issues lightly and with huge empathy – the author works in family law.

Pretty Jen and silent Casey. Violent Sharp and self-harming Selfie. Lauren, who won’t eat and Boo who eats things she shouldn’t. Brick, the brilliant hacker full of rage. Robin, the charmer, escape artist and master thief. Hasan, who did something so bad even the adult carers working in their secure unit for troubled adolescents can’t hide their dislike of him. Al, the ​accidental ​magician with a book of spells that are beginning to cost more than he’s willing to pay.

Ten troubled teenagers locked in with their worst fears. And something is stirring inside the magic book. Some​thing​ watch​ful​. Some​thing hungry…   Something about to find out what makes these children tick, and whether ten ​out-of-kilter ​clocks can manage to synchronise when it really matters.

(Imagine “Five Children and It”, if the five children were juvenile delinquents, and the ‘It’ was a lot more like Stephen King’s version…)


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UNBOUNDLiterary Fiction

‘The novel I have in mind, and for which I’ve done a ninety-page plan, is about the Black Prince. I thought it might be amusing blatantly to steal the Camera Eye and the Newsreel devices from Dos Passos just to see how they might work, especially with the Black Death and Crécy and the Spanish campaign. The effect might be of the fourteenth century going on in another galaxy where language and literature had somehow got themselves into the twentieth century…’ – Anthony Burgess, Paris Review, 1973

The story of Edward, the Black Prince’s campaigns in fourteenth-century France is brought to vivid life by the acclaimed novelist Adam Roberts. Based on a completed screenplay and the notes for an unfinished novel by Anthony Burgess, and using a variety of narrative styles -from disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, Roberts reveals himself as an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.

The Black Prince is exuberant, unconventional, saturated with gorgeous and awful detail, funny, gripping and vivid – a stunning historical novel in its own right, as well as an authorised edition to the Burgess canon.

Ravi Agrawal | INDIA CONNECTED – How the Smartphone is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy

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An immersive, sweeping, and sharp-eyed look at the creative and disruptive effect the internet is having on India.

“A remarkable work of non-fiction…a fascinating and very well-written account of the ways in which the smartphone is transforming every aspect of Indian life, from marriage to politics, and not always for the better…. India Connected is a must-read for everyone who is interested in contemporary India.” —Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies and The Great Derangement

As always with India, the numbers stagger: in 2000, 20 million Indians had access to the internet; by 2017, 465 million were online, with three Indians discovering the internet every second. In the course of a single generation, access to the internet has progressed from dial-up connections on PCs, to broadband access, wireless, and now 4G data on phones.

The rise of low-cost smartphones and cheap data plans has meant the country leapfrogged the baby steps their Western counterparts took toward digital fluency. The results can be felt in every sphere of life, upending traditions and challenging conventions. Nothing is untouched, from arranged marriages to social status to business start-ups, as smartphones move the entire economy from cash-based to credit-based.

Access to the internet is affecting the progress of progress itself. As Agrawal shows, while smartphones offer immediate and sometimes mind-altering access to so much for so many, they create no immediate utopia in a culture still riven by poverty, a caste system, gender inequality, illiteracy, and income disparity. Under a government keen to control content, it has created tensions. And in a climate of hypernationalism, it has fomented violence and even terrorism. The influence of smartphones on the world’s largest democracy is nonetheless pervasive and irreversible, and India Connected illuminates both its dimensions and its implications.


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A pioneering music educator reveals how making and enjoying music can supercharge childhood development—and how parents and educators can harness this power to nurture children’s intellects, emotional health, social skills, creativity, and more.

You have probably heard of the “Mozart Effect”—essentially, the idea that listening to classical music can make people, especially kids, smarter.  While the research behind that claim (and the cottage industry it spawned) was all based on bad science, there is now clear evidence that music actually does help children develop intellectually.  It also fosters their social, emotional, and creative growth in ways we are only beginning to comprehend.  But not all music has this effect, nor are all ways of experiencing music equally beneficial.  In this uplifting book, music educator Joan Koenig will draw on the latest scientific research and on her experience in and out of her Parisian classroom to show how music can turn children into better people—and how, in the process, they can become extraordinary musicians themselves.

Daphne Geismar | INVISIBLE YEARS

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A Family Underground in the Netherlands 1942-1945, created and designed by Daphne Geismar. Based on an extraordinary collection of primary sources – narratives, photographs, remembrances, and historical facts – this book literally unfolds the underground world of hiding in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, in a multi-generational, extended family portrait. When Daphne Geismar, acclaimed book designer, was presented with the contents of her mother’s and aunts’ previously closed ‘Holocaust drawers’ she discovered the cornucopia of materials she was destined to open further to orchestrate this book.

For Chaim and Fifi de Zoete, the survival of their close-knit family meant hiding separately, sending their three young daughters Mirjam, Judith, and Hadassah, age 9, 10, and 11 each to live alone in a home that would take them in, while they themselves lived in isolation beneath the floorboards of the vaulted ceiling of a church.  All survived, and their journals, interviews, and letters, and artifacts, as well as writings of extended family members are the fabric of this composite living story, each solitary and all of a piece, forever shaped by invisible existence through a horrific chapter of history.

INVISIBLE YEARS is stunningly created by de Zoete granddaughter and award-winning book designer Daphne Geismar, who has designed and produced books for major museums including The Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as Yale University Press.  Included here is a sample of the design, a full manuscript of the work, the ‘history briefs’ which correspond to the pages of the family documents and records, and the images to be included.  Anticipated is a book 8.25 x 11.75 inches vertical; 256 or 272 pages; 70 images.