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Saturday Spotlight: New Book Releases February 2024

By Claire Buss, Deputy Editor, Write On! 

At Write On! and Pen to Print, we want to help connect authors and readers, playwrights and audiences, so we’ve created a Spotlight page on the last Saturday of the month, showcasing some of the exciting new reads and plays available. The curated list is based on books and plays that you send us, so if you’re an author or a playwright and you’d like your book or play in the spotlight, reach out to us at Whether you’re an indie author, with a small press or mainstream publisher, established or brand new playwright, we’d love to hear from you and shine a light on your new work.

Write On! offers other opportunities for writers as well. If you’d like us to feature an extract from your book or a short story, please send the extract, book cover and blurb to with the subject: Write On! Showcase (ensuring you have your publisher’s permission, of course).

Pen to Print are also looking for short videos from people reading a passage from their favourite book, or authors reading extracts from their own books. These videos will be featured on the Pen to Print YouTube channel and across our social media. Please send in your videos or links to with the subject: Video Stories.


Deep Harbour by Tove Alsterdal

As the spring warmth melts the ice, divers search the wreckage at the bottom of the Ångermanland River  – but the murdered man they recover was put there much more recently than the historic artefacts they were seeking.

Local Detective Eira Sjödin, newly pregnant and not talking about it, is proud to be put in charge of the investigation, until she discovers the man’s identity – and the evidence begins to point towards her own family. As Eira works to piece together the truth from the long-buried evidence and her mother’s fragmented memories, she isn’t sure she is prepared for the revelations this truth might unleash.

Available to buy here

The Memory Of Us by Dani Atkins

If you can’t trust your head, can you trust your heart?

If she’d been found moments later, Amelia’s heart would have stopped and never recovered. Instead, she was taken from the desolate beach to the nearest hospital just in time to save her life. When her sister Lexi arrives from New York, Amelia’s heart is beating, but the accident has implanted a series of false memories. These memories revolve around a man named Sam, and a perfect love story that never existed.

Determined to help her sister, Lexi enlists the help of Nick, a local vet who bears a striking resemblance to Sam. Together, Lexi and Nick recreate and photograph Amelia’s dream dates in the hopes of triggering her true memories.

But as love starts to stir between Lexi and Nick, they must navigate a complex web of emotions. How can Lexi fall for Amelia’s dream man without hurting her sister?

Interesting Facts About Space by Emily Austin

Enid is many things: lesbian, serial dater, deaf in one ear, space obsessive, true crime fanatic.

When she’s not listening to grizzly murder podcasts, she’s managing her crippling phobia of bald people and trying hard not to think about her mortifying teenage years; not easy, when she’s lost the password to her old YouTube account and the (many) vlogs that her teen self once uploaded. She’s worried about herself, her depressive mother and what the deal is with gender reveal parties. But as Enid fumbles her way through her first serious relationship and navigates a new family life with her estranged half-sisters, she starts to worry that someone is following her. As her paranoia spirals out of control, Enid must contend with her mounting suspicion that something is seriously wrong.

Full of charm, humour and heart, Interesting Facts About Space is a pitch-perfect exploration of the strange ways we try to connect with others, and the power of sharing our secret selves with the people we love.

Ramadan Planner by Dina Aziz

“Ramadan isn’t just about not eating for prolonged periods of time, it’s about working on ourselves – our character and imaan – and setting goals, replacing bad habits and working on our spirituality. It’s a time to focus on personal growth and to help others where we can.” Dina Aziz

The month of Ramadan is a time for reflection, self-improvement, personal growth and of heightened devotion and worship but, the pressures and stresses of day-to-day life can sometimes make it feel hard to keep track of all your good intentions. From suhoor to iftar and beyond, The Ramadan Planner is here to help guide you through the month of Ramadan. Full of helpful checklists, reminders, journal prompts and spaces to reflect, whether you’re fasting or exempt, get ready to track your progress through the holiest month:

Set and keep track of your goals for the month ahead
Check-in on your mood and mental health
Fast mindfully and plan your suhoor and iftar meals
Stay focused on your goals and good intentions
Keep track of your prayers for each day
Make a list of du’as and note down your good deeds
Create space to reflect on the highs and lows
Prepare for Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations
Schedule your day to make the most of the month

Available to buy here
Connect with Dina Aziz

The Glorious Race Of Magical Beasts by Alex Bell

Twelve-year-old Eli is an apprentice librarian at the largest library in the world. But when his grandmother falls ill, he enters ‘The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts’ to raise money for her treatment.

This annual race is always held in the most perilous places and is full of spiky dangers. Most participants seek out unicorns and dragons to help them on their conquest, but not Eli. He embarks on this journey with his trusted pet and friend, Humphrey, his moon tortoise. Moon tortoises aren’t suited to racing and Eli is no natural adventurer. But he soon finds himself in an unlikely partnership with Raven, a rule-breaker and skilled archer and her ice hare,  one of the fastest animals in the world.

If the two children put aside their differences and work together, they might just reach the finish line!

Available to buy here
Connect with Alex Bell

Infinity Alchemist by Kacen Callender

Ash Woods isn’t supposed to perform alchemy – he’ll be arrested if anyone ever finds out.

But when he’s caught by the condescending Ramsay Thorne, instead of handing him over to the reds, Ramsay blackmails Ash into helping with a dangerous personal mission: finding the legendary Book of Source, said to make its reader an all-powerful alchemist.

As Ash and Ramsay work together, their feelings for each other grow. But, Ash must discover his own power and find out how far other alchemists are willing to go to get it.

Available to buy here

When I Passed The Statue Of Liberty I Became Black by Harry Edward

The lost memoir of Britain’s first Black Olympic medal winner – and the America he discovered.

After winning Olympic medals for Britain in 1920, Harry Edward (1898–1973) decided to try his luck in America. The country he found was full of thrilling opportunity and pervasive racism.

Immensely capable and energetic, Harry rubbed shoulders with kings and presidents, was influential in the revival of Black theatre during the Harlem Renaissance and became a passionate humanitarian and advocate for child welfare. He was present at some of the twentieth century’s most significant moments, worked alongside W. E. B. Du Bois and Orson Welles, and witnessed two world wars and the civil rights movement. Yet he was frustrated at almost every turn.

Toward the end of his life he set down his story, crafting this memoir of athletics and activism, race and racism on both sides of the Atlantic. His manuscript went unpublished until now. This deeply engaging tale of Edward’s life is a moving testament to his drive to form a better world.

Available to buy here

Island In The Sun by Katie Fforde

Dominica. A beautiful remote island where the sun shines and the living is easy.

And where Cass goes to photograph a rare stone carving as a favour to her father.

With her is Ranulph, a deeply attractive, much-travelled journalist, who offers to help Cass with her quest.

But Dominica has just been hit be a severe hurricane and Cass and Ranulph are spending all of their time helping the local community.

Cass knows she must not fall in love with him… He’s just looking out for her, being kind.

There’s no way he could be even the slightest bit interested in her. Could he?

Available to buy here
Connect with Katie Fforde

A Mother’s Secret by Katie Flynn

Though she may feel lost, she will never give up on finding the truth. . .

1941: Libby’s life on the sprawling farm at Hollybank is a far cry from the bustling streets of London where she grew up. But, after the tragic death of her parents she moved to Liverpool to be closer to her long-lost aunt and uncle.

When she discovers they’re far from the decent people they claimed to be and have spun a web of lies about her late mother, Libby’s world is shaken.

But she is determined to set the story straight and embarks on a journey to unravel the devastating secret her mother kept until her dying day.

Can Libby separate the truth from the lies, and forge a brighter future for herself?

Available to buy here

Mongrel by Hanako Footman

Mei loses her Japanese mother at age six. Growing up in suburban Surrey, she yearns to fit in, suppressing not only her heritage but her growing desire for her best friend Fran.

Yuki leaves the Japanese countryside to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist in London. Far from home and in an unfamiliar city, she finds herself caught up in the charms of her older teacher.

Haruka attempts to navigate Tokyo’s nightlife and all of its many vices, working as a hostess in the city’s sex district. She grieves a mother who hid so many secrets from her, until finally one of those secrets comes to light . . .

Shifting between three intertwining narratives, Mongrel reveals a tangled web of desire, isolation, belonging and ultimately, hope.

Available to buy here
Connect with Hanako Footman

Skin by David Harsent

Skin, David Harsent’s new collection, consists of ten dramatic sequences of poems, which, like a planetary system, operate on one another in a dynamic assemblage of propulsion and pull.

The stage is charged and minimal. Harsent works from an image-bank of ‘touchstones’ accrued over the course of a long poetic career and rich with symbolic import: doorways and windows, a bed, a mirror, the sea, the moon. To which, the players arrive in various configurations: a man, a woman, a chorus of feral angels, a caged bird, the breath of animals.

Conveyed in language that is profoundly musical, preoccupied with signs and portents, numbers and repetitions, driven by the mutable nature of desire, the ensuing drama is intense, domestic-mythic and visionary.

Available to buy here

None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell

Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie is also celebrating her 45th.

A few days later, they bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie says she thinks she would be an interesting subject for Alix’s podcast. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Alix agrees to a trial interview and indeed, Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated. Alix finds her unsettling but can’t quite resist the temptation to keep digging.

Slowly she starts to realise that Josie’s been hiding some very dark secrets and, before she knows it, Josie has cajoled her way into Alix’s life and home.

Soon Alix begins to wonder who is Josie Fair really? And what has she done?

Available to buy here
Connect with Lisa Jewell

Screen Deep: How Film And TV Can Solve Racism And Save The World by Ellen E. Jones

Screen Deep is a book about the immense potential of screen storytelling to defeat an evil both historic and urgently topical: racism.

Everyone watches TV and movies. Everyone has an interest in building a more just and equitable world. Screen Deep goes beyond the many film books and anti-racist manuals by demonstrating the connection between these two aspects of modern life.

In Screen Deep Ellen E. Jones combines her personal experience as a mixed-race woman who cares about racism with her professional expertise as a film and TV journalist of 20 years standing, to ask – and answer – several questions: Is there such a thing as an Indigenous western? Is race comedy ‘cancelled’? Where are all the films for white people? And most importantly: Can you still fight the good fight with a mouthful of popcorn?

Available to buy here
Connect with Ellen E. Jones

The Ghost Orchid by Jonathan Kellerman

Some secrets are worth killing for.

In an upscale Bel Air property, two lovers are found dead in a swimming pool. The man is the playboy heir to a business empire and the woman is his even wealthier married neighbour.

An illicit affair is the perfect motive. But the house is untouched – no forced entry, no forensic evidence – and so LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis asks psychologist Alex Delaware to help unpick the case.

It quickly becomes clear that both victims had troubled pasts. Now Alex and Milo must confront LA’s darkest side as they unravel a trail of deadly secrets . . .

Available to buy here

The Island Swimmer by Lorraine Kelly

Once the tide turns, you can’t hold it back…

When Evie’s father falls desperately ill, she finally returns to the family home on Orkney and the wild landscape she left as a teenager, swearing never to return. Not everyone is happy at her arrival, particularly her estranged sister Liv –their relationship broken after a childhood trauma.

As Evie clears out her father’s neglected house to prepare it for sale, she finds herself drawn to a group of cold-water swimmers led by her old friend Freya, who find calmness beneath the waves. Together they help Evie face up to the mistakes in her past, unlocking a treasure of truths that will reverberate through the community and shake her family to its core.

Available to buy here
Connect with Lorraine Kelly

The Tastemaker: My Life With The Legends And Geniuses Of Rock Music by Tony King

Leaving school at the age of sixteen to start his career in the music industry at Decca Records, Tony King would soon find himself becoming a close friend and confidante to some of the world’s biggest artists, a far cry from his childhood days in Eastbourne.

Living in an era of seismic social, technological and cultural transformation, King experienced these defining moments as an influential figure in London and New York’s gay scenes. Despite a heady life in showbusiness, however, he would soon learn that a glittering career couldn’t shield him from heartbreak. Witness to the AIDS crisis and its devastating consequences, his personal life was intermittently marked by tumult and turmoil. This included spending time with with his friend Freddie Mercury in the Queen frontman’s final days.

Suffused with Tony King’s disarming warmth and unparalleled charisma – and at times profoundly moving – The Tastemaker paints an intimate portrait of a music legend and captures the unpredictable world he stamped his indelible mark upon.

Available to buy here

Pity by Andrew McMillan

The town was once a hub of industry. A place where men toiled underground in darkness, picking and shovelling in the dust and the sleck. It was dangerous and back-breaking work, but it meant something. Once, the town provided, it was important; it had purpose. But what is it now?

Brothers Alex and Brian have spent their whole life in the town where their father lived and his father, too. Now in his middle age and still reeling from the collapse of his personal life, Alex must reckon with a part of his identity he has long tried to conceal. His only child Simon, has no memory of the mines. Now in his twenties and working in a call centre, he derives passion from his side hustle in sex work and his weekly drag gigs.

Set across three generations of South Yorkshire mining family, Andrew McMillan’s magnificent debut novel is a lament for a lost way of life, as well as a celebration of resilience and the possibility for change.

Available to buy here
Connect with Andrew McMillan

With A Little Luck by Marissa Meyer

After being magically gifted with incredible luck, a boy discovers that when it comes to love, this gift just may be a curse.

Jude is determined to fly under the radar. He just wants to draw his comics, host regular D&D nights with his friends, work at his parents’ vinyl record store, and escape high school as unscathed as possible. That is, until the night he comes across a mysterious 20-sided dice and finds himself inexplicably gifted with a bout of supernatural good luck.

Suddenly, everything Jude has ever wanted is within reach. His first art submission is accepted to his favourite fanzine. He helps his friend’s song become a finalist in a songwriting competition. And he’s the 100th caller to a local radio contest, winning him a pair of coveted concert tickets, which he uses to ask out the popular girl he’s been crushing on. For a few blissful weeks, he feels invincible.

But when he loses the magic dice at a local music festival, his luck takes a turn for the worse. He struggles to reclaim his good fortune while fighting off long-buried feelings for his best friend, who is definitely not the girl he’s supposed to be in love with. Can Jude risk stepping into the spotlight long enough to win the true girl of his dreams? Or is he doomed to be unlucky in love forever?

Available to buy here
Connect with Marissa Meyer

The Fury by Alex Michaelides

Everything comes at a price. But not everything can be paid for…

Millie wants to graduate, get a job and buy a house. She’s slowly saving up from her job on campus, but when a visiting professor offers her an unusual opportunity to make some extra money, she jumps at the chance.

Agatha is a writer, recovering from a break-up while researching attitudes towards weddings and money for her new book. She strikes gold when interviewing the girls in Millie’s dorm, but her plans take a turn when she realises that the best material is unfolding behind closed doors.

As the two women form an unlikely relationship, they soon become embroiled in a world of roommate theatrics, vengeful pranks and illicit intrigue and are forced to question just how much of themselves they are willing to trade to get what they want.

Available to buy here
Connect with Alex Michaelides

Neighbors And Other Stories by Diane Oliver

And she was becoming frightened too, looking at all those white faces pressed against the windowpanes.

One Black family comes under attack as their little boy prepares to start at an all-white school.

Friends plan a protest sit-in at the Rose Crest Tea Room, only to be arrested.

The first Black student – always the ‘Experiment’ – retreats into her closet at a newly integrated college.

And when a social worker enters a secluded woodland cabin, she meets the fate of all visitors…

Tragically killed aged twenty-two in 1966, Diane Oliver’s masterly stories resonate today with renewed urgency. Steeped in the nightmarish horror of life for the Black community in the Jim Crow-era American South, these chilling tales explore toxic racism and the human toll of activism for ‘the cause’ with heartbreaking empathy and wisdom. Depicting African American families whole and broken, daily injustices and life-threatening political struggle, Neighbors restores a lost star to the twentieth-century literary canon.

Available to buy here

According To Mark by H.B. O’Neill


Robert is unravelling.

Following a devastating break up he finds himself distraught, desperate, and increasingly confused.

When his literary hero, Mark Twain begins to communicate with him, Robert initially takes solace in Twain’s innate wisdom. Quite quickly though warning bells start to soundmand it becomes clear that Mark’s whispered, often cryptic advice, could prove dangerous.

As Robert’s mental health continues to deteriorate, he embarks on a quest around London, using Twain’s words as his guide and inspiration.

Will listening to his hero lead to solace and recovery, or is it an undertaking that can only end in tragedy?

Available to buy here
Connect with H.B. O’Neill

How The World Made The West: A 4,000 Year History by Josephine Quinn

The West, the story goes, was built on the ideas and values of Ancient Greece and Rome, which disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages and were then rediscovered by the Renaissance. But what if that isn’t true?

In a bold and magisterial work of immense scope, Josephine Quinn argues that the real story of the West is much bigger than this established paradigm leads us to believe. So much of our shared history has been lost, drowned out by the concept – developed in the Victorian era – of separate ‘civilisations’.

Moving from the Bronze Age to the Age of Exploration, How the World Made The West reveals a new narrative: one that traces the millennia of global encounters and exchange that built what is now called the West, as societies met, tangled and sometimes grew apart. From the creation of the alphabet by Levantine workers in Egypt, who in a foreign land were prompted to write things down in their own language for the first time, to the arrival of Indian numbers in Europe via the Arab world, Quinn makes the case that understanding societies in isolation is both out-of-date and wrong. It’s contact and connections, rather than solitary civilisations, that drive historical change. It is not peoples that make history – people do.

Available to buy here
Connect with Josephine Quinn

My Heavenly Favourite by Lucas Rijneveld

In the tempestuous summer of 2005, a local veterinarian becomes enraptured by a 14-year-old farmer’s daughter – his ‘favourite’ – as he tends her father’s cows.

This deeply troubled soul is our narrator: a man who believes he offers the object of his love a tantalizing path out of the constrictions of her conservative rural life, a chance to escape to a world of fantasy. But the obsessive reliance he cultivates builds into a terrifying trap, with a crime and confession at the heart of it that threatens to rip their small community apart.

An unflinching excavation of taboos and social norms, My Heavenly Favourite is a torrent of grief and obsession. The remarkable and chilling successor to Lucas Rijneveld’s international sensation, The Discomfort Of Eveningthis profane novel is powered by the paradoxical beauty of its prose, which holds the reader fast to the page.

Available to buy here
Connect with Lucas Rijneveld

Peng And Spanners by Steve Webb

When the school pizza parlour disappears and a giant robot suddenly appears, Pengtastic and Spanners know that only they can help the headmaster find his parlour before the school inspectors arrive and shut him down.

There’s just one massive pesky robot to defeat, Cinderella the caretaker, who roars about rules and an incredible jail break to get out of first.

Available to buy here
Connect with Steve Webb

Liberty Over London Bridge: A History Of The People Of Southwark by Margaret Willes

The first complete history of Southwark, London’s stubbornly independent community over the Thames.

Southwark’s fortunes have always been tied to those of the City Of London across the river. But from its founding in Roman times, through to flourishing in the medieval era, the Borough has always fiercely asserted its independence. A place of licence, largely free of the City’s jurisdiction, Southwark became a constant thorn in London’s side: an administrative anachronism, a commercial rival and an asylum for undesirable industries and residents.

In this remarkable history of London’s liberty beyond the bridge, Margaret Willes narrates the life and times of the people of Southwark, capturing the Borough’s anarchic spirit of revelry. Populated by a potent mix of talented immigrants, religious dissenters, theatrical folk, brewers and sex workers, Southwark often escaped urban jurisdiction―giving it an atmosphere of danger, misrule, and artistic freedom. Tracing Southwark’s history from its Roman foundation to its present popularity as a place to visit, through Chaucer, to Shakespeare and on to Dickens, Willes offers an indispensable exploration of the City’s unacknowledged mirror image.

Available to buy here

Remember, if you’re an author and you’d like to see your book in our Saturday Spotlight, email: and send us the details of your new novel.

For details of Penguin RandomHouse new releases, visit their website here.
For details of Hachette new releases, visit their website here.
For details of HarperCollins new releases, visit their website here.
For details of PanMacmillan new releases, visit their website here.
For details of Simon & Schuster new releases, visit their website here.

Disclaimer: Amazon links are given for ease but please remember there are a number of other online retailers operating, including hive (which helps to support independent book shops), Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play and Nook as well as online stores for bookstores such as Waterstones, Barnes & Noble and WHSmiths

Issue 19 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets. You can find previous editions of our magazines here.

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on

We want to help connect authors and readers, so our Saturday Spotlight page showcases some of the exciting new reads available each month.