Our Dark Angels collective novel Keeping Mum is racing towards its finish line like a 15-person bobsleigh. The book is now printing and will be delivered next month. Its cover design by Sam Gray is shown here, and I think it’s a brilliant example of cover art. Sam has also crafted the text typographically to be elegant, readable and appropriate to the different characters who feature in the story.
Here’s an extract from the press release by our publishers Unbound, with Elen Lewis’s first lines as the Mother, Iris.
They say you should walk towards the light. Well I didn’t. I fled. I ran away from it. I pushed the light back and it splintered in my hands like glass. I thought I might be dead because there was no blood. I raged, I wept. I shouted. There was no pain. I screamed. There was no noise. It wasn’t time. It wasn’t right. But still, I did not know that I was dead. Still, I hoped that I was not. I wasn’t ready…
Has it been done before? Dual authorship is one thing, but fifteen authors writing one novel?
Keeping Mum is a blackly comic picaresque tale that follows a family as they peel away the layers of secret lives, including their own. Each character’s voice belongs to one of the fifteen authors behind the book as they tell the story of a woman who dies in a Scottish country house – and whose family decides to transport her body back to London via a few special, secret-laden locations. Along the journey as they begin to unravel their family’s lies they discover that sometimes, telling lies is the only way to be true.
All fifteen authors will come together to celebrate the book’s launch on 25th April, and we’ll follow that on the same evening with a dinner to mark the 10th anniversary of Dark Angels. If you’ve been on one of our Dark Angels courses but haven’t yet got your ticket, you’d better be quick. It will be quite a night.
For some concluding words, I go back to Unbound’s press release:
“The result is a captivating novel which is in turns poetic, comic, psychological, philosophical and moving.” That’s a lot to live up to, but I think we do. The book will be available in May, online and in shops.