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Saturday Spotlight: New Book Releases May 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.


The Puzzle Wood by Rosie Andrews

Deep in the woods, something is stirring…

When Miss Catherine Symonds arrives to take up a position as governess at remote Locksley Abbey in the foothills of the Black Mountains, where England bleeds into Wales, she is apprehensive.

It’s not the echoing, near-empty house with its skeleton staff that frightens her, nor the ancient woods that surround the Abbey, or even the dogs that the owner, Sir Rowland, encourages to stalk the grounds, baying for blood. It’s Catherine herself who fears scrutiny: her reference and very identity are fraudulent. She’s travelling in disguise to investigate the fate of the last governess at the house, who took her own life out in the woods. For that governess was Catherine’s own sister but, until now, she’d believed Emily had died many years before, when they were just children.

Available to buy here

The Ministry Of Time by Kaliane Bradley

A boy meets a girl. The past meets the future. A finger meets a trigger. The beginning meets the end. England is forever. England must fall.

In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering ‘expats’ from across history to test the limits of time-travel.

Her role is to work as a ‘bridge’: living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as ‘1847’ – Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as ‘washing machine’, ‘Spotify’ and ‘the collapse of the British Empire’. With an appetite for discovery and a seven-a-day cigarette habit, he soon adjusts and, during a long, sultry summer, he and his bridge move from awkwardness to genuine friendship, to something more.

But as the true shape of the project that brought them together begins to emerge, Gore and the bridge are forced to confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can love triumph over the structures and histories that have shaped them? And how do you defy history when history is living in your house?

The Fellowship Of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr

Clayton Stumper is an enigma.

He might be 25 years old, but he dresses like your grandad and drinks sherry like your aunt.

Abandoned at birth on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, he was raised by the sharpest minds in the British Isles and finds himself amongst the last survivors of a fading institution.

When the esteemed crossword compiler, Pippa Allsbrook, passes away, she bestows her final puzzle to him: a promise to reveal the mystery of his parentage and prepare him for his future.

Yet as Clay begins to unpick the clues, he uncovers something even the Fellowship have never been able to solve – and it’s a secret that will change everything…

Think Twice by Harlan Coben

The Theatre Of Glass And Shadows by Anne Corlett

Sometimes the greatest spectacle hides the darkest secrets…

In an alternate London, the city’s Theatre District is a walled area south of the river where an immersive production – the Show – has been running for centuries, growing ever bigger, more sprawling and lavish. The Show is open to anyone who can afford a ticket but the District itself is a closed world; even the police have no jurisdiction within its walls.

Juliet’s mother died when she was a baby. Brought up by her emotionally distant father and even more distant stepmother, she has never felt wanted. It’s only when her father passes away that Juliet – now 19 – learns her birth was registered in the District. Desperate to belong somewhere at last, she travels to London where she hopes to unearth the truth about her identity, her mother’s death and her father’s years of silence – and claim her birthright.

But in the District, there is only one central truth: the Show must go on. And in a world where illusions abound, and powerful men control the narrative, Juliet has no idea of just how far some will go to ensure certain stories are never told…

Available to buy here
Connect with Anne Corlett

Spice: The 16th-Century Contest That Shaped The Modern World by Roger Crawley

The story of the 16th-Century’s epic contest for the spice trade, which propelled European maritime exploration and conquest across Asia and the Pacific.

Spices drove the early-modern world economy and, for Europeans, they represented riches on an unprecedented scale. Cloves and nutmeg could reach Europe only via a complex web of trade routes, and for decades Spanish and Portuguese explorers competed to find their elusive source. But when the Portuguese finally reached the spice islands of the Moluccas in 1511, they set in motion a fierce competition for control.

Roger Crowley shows how this struggle shaped the modern world. From 1511 to 1571, European powers linked up the oceans, established vast maritime empires, and gave birth to global trade, all in the attempt to control the supply of spices.

Taking us on voyages from the dockyards of Seville to the vastness of the Pacific, the volcanic Spice Islands of Indonesia, the Arctic Circle and the coasts of China, this is a narrative history rich in vivid eyewitness accounts of the adventures, shipwrecks and sieges that formed the first colonial encounters ―and remade the world economy for centuries to follow.

Available to buy here

All Fours by Miranda July

A semi-famous artist announces her plan to drive cross-country from LA to NY.

Thirty minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she spontaneously exits the freeway, beds down in a nondescript motel and immerses herself in a temporary reinvention that turns out to be the start of an entirely different journey.

Miranda July’s second novel confirms the brilliance of her unique approach to fiction. With July’s wry voice, perfect comic timing, unabashed curiosity about human intimacy and palpable delight in pushing boundaries, All Fours tells the story of one woman’s quest for a new kind of freedom.

Part absurd entertainment, part tender reinvention of the sexual, romantic and domestic life of a 45-year-old female artist, All Fours transcends expectations while excavating our beliefs about life lived as a woman. Once again, July hijacks the familiar and turns it into something new and thrillingly, profoundly alive.

Available to buy here
Connect with Miranda July

Attack Of The Roborts by Nicholas Kasparis

Ralph is like a celebrity at school for winning the ‘Young Inventors’ TV competition.

Winning the huge £250,000 cheque makes life easier for Ralph, but it does not change him as a person. Ralph’s dad Arthur does not have to work such long hours at the battery factory to support his son, and they get to spend more time together. Life is blissful for a while.

Then one day, when Ralph and Arthur are watching TV, the programme is interrupted by a shocking live news announcement. The Roborts Ralph designed to help the elderly at the care homes, are now attacking members of the public. Moments later, the phone rings, and one of the producers from the ‘Young Inventors’ programme wants the £250,000 prize money back, because the Roborts have malfunctioned. Next, a knock at the door leaves Ralph and Arthur exasperated, as the police take the father and son in for questioning.

Knowing that they are the chief suspects, and that the TV producer wants the money back, Ralph and Arthur formulate a plan to find the real culprits responsible for sabotaging the Roborts and making them go haywire. Ralph and Arthur hatch a cunning plan to prove their innocence. In a race against time, will they be able to solve the mystery surrounding ‘The Attack of the Roborts?’

Available to buy here
Connect with Nicholas Kasparis

When We Were Silent by Fiona McPhillips

“I’m not here for prestige. I’m here for revenge.”

Lou Manson is an outsider when she joins the final-year class at Highfield Manor, Dublin’s most exclusive private school. Beyond the granite pillars and the wrought-iron gates is a world of wealth, privilege and potential. But Highfield is also hiding a dark secret – and Lou is here to expose it.

When Lou befriends the beautiful and talented Shauna Power, her plans are thrown into turmoil. Speaking out against the school would mean betraying Shauna, and Lou soon discovers that the Highfield elite will go to any lengths to protect their own reputation…even when the consequences are fatal.

Thirty years later, Lou is called to testify in a new lawsuit against Highfield. But telling the truth means confronting her past – and there is one story she swore she’d never tell…

Available to buy here
Connect with Fiona Phillips

Blood On The Tide by Katee Robert

As a bloodline vampire, Lizzie has never had a problem taking what she wants, and right now what she wants are the family heirlooms that were stolen from her, a ship, and a portal home.

Unfortunately, even that short list is impossible to accomplish on her own—and her allies have bigger things to worry about. When they rescue a selkie, it’s the perfect solution to her problem. Lizzie needs a guide through Threshold and the selkie needs her skin back.

Maeve didn’t choose to give up her skin—it was stolen from her. Now she’s in an uneasy partnership with a dangerous woman who seems more apt to kill than to share a kind word. It’s terrifying…and a bit alluring. Even though she knows it will end in heartbreak, Maeve can’t help being drawn to Lizzie.

Available to buy here
Connect with Katee Robert

Provincials: Postcards From The Peripheries by Sumana Roy

An enchanting and joyous exploration of life and creativity at the geographical edges of the modern world.

Who is a provincial? In this subversive book, Sumana Roy assembles a striking cast of writers, artists, filmmakers, cricketers, tourist guides, English teachers, lovers and letter writers, private tutors and secret-keepers whose lives and work provide varied answers to that question. Combining memoir with the literary, sensory and emotional history of an ignored people, she challenges the metropolitan’s dominance to reclaim the joyous dignity of provincial life, its tics and taunts, enthusiasms and tragicomedies.

In a wide-ranging series of “postcards” from the peripheries of India, Europe, America and the Middle East, Roy brings us deep into the imaginative world of those who have carried their provinciality like a birthmark. Ranging from Rabindranath Tagore to William Shakespeare, John Clare to the Bhakti poets, T. S. Eliot to J. M. Coetzee, V. S. Naipaul to the Brontës, and Kishore Kumar to Annie Ernaux, she celebrates the provincials’ humour and hilarity, playfulness and irony, belatedness and instinct for carefree accidents and freedom. Her unprecedented account of provincial life offers an alternative portrait of our modern world.

Available to buy here

As If Human: Ethics And Artificial Intelligence by Nigel Shadbolt & Roger Hampson

A new approach to the challenges surrounding artificial intelligence that argues for assessing AI actions as though they came from a human being

Intelligent machines present us every day with urgent ethical challenges. Is the facial recognition software used by an agency fair? When algorithms determine questions of justice, finance, health, and defense, are the decisions proportionate, equitable, transparent, and accountable? How do we harness this extraordinary technology to empower rather than oppress?

Despite increasingly sophisticated programming, artificial intelligences share none of our essential human characteristics—sentience, physical sensation, emotional responsiveness, versatile general intelligence. However, Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson argue, if we assess AI decisions, products and calls for action as though they came from a human being, we can avert a disastrous and amoral future. The authors go beyond the headlines about rampant robots to apply established moral principles in shaping our AI future. Their new framework constitutes a how-to for building a more ethical machine intelligence.

Available to buy here

Chronicles Of A Village by Nguyễn Thanh Hiện

At the foot of Mun Mountain in central Vietnam, a self-appointed scribe collects the stories of his neighbours ― tales of love, nature and war ― and weaves them into a surrealist history of their farming community.

In crystalline fragments resembling prose poems, the scribe eternalises the vanishing beauty and tragic transformation of the village―its sacred forests, astonishing animals, mythical figures, and human lives nurtured by a profound love for soil and sky, as well as its catastrophes: ecological destruction, political purges, asphyxiating modernity, violence and indoctrination in the name of progress.

Nguyễn Thanh Hiện’s Chronicles Of A Village, the writer’s first work to be translated into English, is an elegy for a place and a people: a profound meditation on how history is created, destroyed, manipulated  and rewritten, and a tribute to the beauty and ‘fatal historical disabilities of a land.’

Available to buy here

Private Revolutions: Coming Of Age In A New China by Yuan Yang

This is a book about the coming of age of four women born in China in the 1980s and 1990s, in a society about to change beyond recognition.

It’s about Leiya, who wants to escape the fate of the women in her village. Still underage, she bluffs her way on to the factory floor.
It’s about June, who at 15 sets what her family thinks is an impossible goal: to attend university rather than raise pigs.
It’s about Siyue, ranked second-to-bottom of her English class, who decides to prove her teachers wrong.
And it’s about Sam, who becomes convinced that the only way to change her country is to become an activist; even as the authorities slowly take her peers from the streets.

With unprecedented access to the lives, hopes, homes, dreams and diaries of four ordinary women over a period of six years, Private Revolutions gives a voice to those whose stories go untold. At a time of rising state censorship and suppression, it unearths the identity of modern Chinese society and, through the telling, something of our own.

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 20 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.