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Posted by Tom, April 1, 2020

Nosy Crow acquires three children’s books from journalist, anthologist and cookery writer, Ella Risbridger

Nosy Crow is delighted to announce the acquisition of two gripping middle-grade novels AND a stunning poetry anthology from brilliant writer Ella Risbridger.

The first novel, The Secret Detectives, is an exciting and unputdownable historical mystery, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell and Robin Stevens. UK publication is scheduled for February 2021, with the second novel to be published in 2022. Tom Bonnick, Senior Commissioning Editor at Nosy Crow, bought world rights for two middle-grade books from Daisy Parente at Lutyens and Rubinstein.

The Secret Detectives is a hugely gripping historical mystery with a fantastic, unique setting and a wonderful new hero. On board the S.S. Mariana, Isobel Petty witnesses a shocking act – somebody being thrown overboard in the middle of the night. But when the ship’s captain insists that nobody is missing, Isobel and her reluctant new friends must solve two mysteries – the identities of both the murderer and the victim – before the ship reaches England and the culprit has the chance to escape.

Meanwhile, Louise Bolongaro, Head of Picture Books at Nosy Crow, was inspired by Ella’s adult poetry collection, Set Me On Fire: A Poem for Every Feeling, to acquire a children’s poetry collection from Ella, which will be published in September 2021.

Set to be illustrated in glorious full colour by rising star Anna Shepeta and with high production values, including a beautiful cloth quarter binding, Ella will pull together over 100 poems to create an inspiring and uplifting poetry anthology written by women and girls. Ella’s ability to create stories through her anthologies will be brought to life with wonderful illustrations from Anna on each spread. The book will feature voices from a diverse range of backgrounds and ethnicities and from throughout the ages. It includes poets such as Christina Rossetti, Grace Nichols, Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Sappho, Elizabeth Hewer, Imitiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay and many, many more.

Ella Risbridger is a writer from London. Her first cookbook, Midnight Chicken (& Other Recipes Worth Living For), was named a Book of the Year 2019 by half a dozen different publications, including The Times, Daily Mail, and Observer. The Secret Detectives is her debut children’s book.

Ella comments: ‘When I was four years old, I decided I wanted to make a poetry anthology when I grew up. When I was ten, I had an idea for a murder mystery about The Secret Garden. Now I get to make both those books, and I get to make them with Nosy Crow. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be part of the Nosy Crow family – which is everything you hope children’s publishing will be. (There is cake, there is an office dog.) You hesitate to say “dream come true” because it’s so trite, but the world is very hard and sometimes good things happen and this is one of them, so why not? It’s a dream come true to be doing this; it’s a dream come true to be doing this with Nosy Crow, who I have loved for years and who make such beautiful books; it’s a dream all round.’

Tom Bonnick, Senior Commissioning Editor at Nosy Crow, comments: ‘I have been a huge admirer of Ella’s writing for adults, including her journalism for The Pool and her wonderful cookbook, Midnight Chicken, for many years, and to be publishing her first novel for children is the most enormous privilege. Inspired by the classic literature from her childhood, Ella has created a brilliant and beautiful story – I fell in love with the writing, and her young heroine, Isobel, from the first page. The Secret Detectives is a true modern classic.’

Louise Bolongaro, Head of Picture Books at Nosy Crow, comments: ‘Ella has poetry running through her veins. She knows a poem not just for every feeling, but for every moment, every question and every hope. We knew she would create an uplifting, visionary collection that would speak to girls and women everywhere, and inspire them in every way. I couldn’t be more proud to publish this wonderful book.’