Saturday, January 07, 2012

Jubilee - not that one - this one, by Shelley Harris

Cast your mind back. Bit further ... bit further ... That's it! Stop right there and scroll down a bit. That's when I first mentioned the wonderful Shelley Harris when she won the Authonomy Live event at York in 2010. I predicted then that life would change for Shelley and I was right. (I often am; just ask my kids.)


Now move forward a bit to here. This is where I talked about Shelley's success with signing with an agent who negotiated a fab deal for her with Weidenfeld & Nicolson following a bidding war. (What a wonderful phrase that is; one which every author yearns to hear.)

Right, so now we're up to speed, let me update you.  Jubilee was published at the end of December and I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy.  And ... it's brilliant!  The book has parallel timelines, each of which is equally compelling, one set in 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee, and one in the present day.  The main characters were subjects in an iconic photograph at a Jubilee street party and there's a plan to recreate the setting decades later, now that they are all adults.  With themes revolving round what it means to be British, the impact of racial hatred, buried memories, corrosive hidden secrets and unhealed wounds, Shelley has created a highly impressive debut novel.  Anyone who can remember back to the 70s will recognise the political and emotional landscape she draws with such skill and her flawed characters are conveyed with humanity and insight. As an ex-professional photographer, I particularly love the way she explores what is happening around the frozen micro second of a shutter click; what is seen and what is hidden. 

Next week, I will be attending Shelley's launch and, to continue celebrating with her, I will be posting an interview here on this blog.  Find out what motivated Shelley to write this book; how she nailed the voices and experiences of her diverse cast of characters; the ups and downs of her writing journey prior to that life-changing perfomance at York and much more.

Meanwhile, go and buy her book. It really is very good, y'know.

7 comments:

Whisks said...

I look forward to it - sounds just up my street. And I remember York 2010 as well. Good luck, Shelley!

John T said...

I've been waiting for this ever since York! Wonderful that Shelley has made it to publication. My copy is on the way - what a good way to start a new year.

Debi said...

Pah. Site won't let me use the photo of Shelley from her agent's site. Will sort out when I get the chance. Meanwhile, here's some music. Lah lah de dum de dum dum ...

isabelcostello said...

I'm another one of the lucky people who got to read Jubilee before it came out and I absolutely agree with Debi about how good it is. There'll be a review on my blog this week. It's incredibly hard to break through as a debut novelist, and this is how talented you need to be to get there. Go Shelley!

Sally Zigmond said...

Thanks, Debi. I'm off to buy a copy now. It sounds great.

stella josphine said...

Thanks for sharing the new book published by Debi.Thank you.

domy drewniane

pegge lee said...
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