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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 2006 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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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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