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Mary Watson. Image from African Success via Google.

Mary Watson, Africa39 author and winner of the 2008 Caine Prize, will have her third book released in February 2018. The Young Adult novel, titled The Wren Hunt, comes after her 2004 short story collection, Moss, and 2013 novel, The Cutting Room.

The world rights to The Wren Hunt, which “tells the story of two ancient powers fighting for survival and one girl, born of both, who will decide their fate,” was acquired by Bloomsbury Children’s Books’ editorial director Ellen Holgate, from Watson’s agent, Claire Wilson, at Rogers, Coleridge & White.

The news was reported by The Bookseller.

Holgate said she was “reluctant” to pigeon-hole the genre because it was “so different from anything else out there.”

“The setting is contemporary, but with a deep, ancient magic thinly veiled from view – it sizzles with romance, betrayal, deceit, lies and magic,” she said. “The tension at the heart of The Wren Hunt makes it read like a thriller, but the high concept is backed up by exceptional writing.”

Watson added: “I wanted to explore the idea of hunting, of being pursued or ensnared but in subtle ways. To tell a story about a girl who, in searching for something, realises that it is she herself who is lost. I was taken with the idea of magic in the patterns formed by everyday things, and hoped to weave a world where the ordinary and the magical exist side by side.”

Watson, who is South African, received the 2008 Caine Prize for her short story, “Jungfrau,” about a girl who discovers an affair between her father and a lady she looks up to. She has a PhD in Film Studies and a creative writing degree from the University of Cape Town.

Congratulations to Watson.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October, 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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