We’re incredibly proud of our former students’ success. And we’ve blogged about Kate Hamer before – when her short story One Summer won The Rhys Davies Short Story Competition and was featured on BBC Radio 4. Well, as if that wasn’t impressive enough, we’ve just heard that Kate has signed a substantial two-book deal with Faber & Faber and that the translation rights for her debut novel The Girl in the Red Coat have already been sold to publishers in Germany and the Netherlands. And, with the Frankfurt Book Fair about to begin, Kate can undoubtedly look forward to further deals in other territories.
Kate, a mother of two, was a student on our Autumn 2011 Novel-Writing Course, on which she began work on The Girl in the Red Coat. She travelled each week from Cardiff to the Curtis Brown offices – a round trip of some 300 miles – for the tutorials and workshopping sessions, and her focus and dedication marked her out from the start.
‘During the course, Kate worked incredibly hard and was a very lovely person to have in our student group,’ recalls Curtis Brown Creative director and co-tutor Anna Davis. ‘She listened to and acted on constructive criticism of her work very effectively – sharpening both her plot and her prose style. The Girl in the Red Coat is a compelling story, brilliantly told, and it deserves huge success.’
‘I started the Curtis Brown Creative course almost exactly two years ago,’ says a delighted Kate. ‘To go from a rough first draft to a deal with such a legendary publishing house as Faber, and rights sold overseas, feels just incredible.’
The Girl in the Red Coat follows eight-year-old Carmel, who is abducted by an elderly man at a local book fair, leaving her mother Beth to search for her. ‘I had an instant thrill when I read the very first page of the novel, and from then on was gripped like glue till I reached the end,’ says Curtis Brown’s Alice Lutyens, who represents Kate. ‘I believe this book has the superstar quality to carry all its readers to the very end, and will be a huge success.’
Kate Hamer is the sixth former Curtis Brown Creative student to secure a book deal with a major publisher. Like Tim Glencross, Jessie Burton, Jake Woodhouse, SD Sykes and Antonia Honeywell before her, she’ll now be giving up the day job to concentrate on writing full time. ‘This will be a real standout on our 2015 fiction list,’ says Faber & Faber’s Sarah Savitt, who bought the novel at auction. ‘Kate Hamer is a distinctive new voice in British fiction.’
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.