Allen & Unwin to publish debut novel for adults by YA author Francesca Haig

22nd June 2020

Allen & Unwin have acquired UK & Commonwealth (excl. Canada) rights to The Cookbook of Common Prayer, the first novel for adults by Australian author Francesca Haig. Senior Editor Kate Ballard bought the rights from Juliet Mushens at Mushens Entertainment.

The Cookbook of Common Prayer is the story of one Tasmanian family whose lives are turned upside down by the drowning of their eldest child in a caving accident in the UK. Desperate to protect their unwell teenaged daughter from the news, Gabe and Gill decide they must hide the truth from her at all costs – a decision which has ripple effects throughout their family. The Cookbook of Common Prayer explores the things we do for our children, and the things we do to our children, and how it’s possible to find a way forward against all odds. Shot through with hope, it reads like Celeste Ng meets Anne Tyler – this is accessible literary fiction at its very best.

Francesca Haig grew up in Tasmania and is an academic and writer, whose poetry and YA/crossover fantasy have been widely published. She lives in London with her husband and son.

Francesca Haig says:

“From the moment Allen & Unwin read this novel it’s been clear that they ‘get’ it – by which I mean that the aspects that matter to them are the same aspects that matter to me. It’s been a joy to experience A&U’s insightful grasp of what I’m trying to achieve with The Cookbook of Common Prayer, and their enthusiasm for bringing it to readers. I care so deeply about this novel and its characters, and it’s wonderful to know that they’ve found the best possible home.”

Juliet Mushens says:

“Francesca’s prose is striking and beautiful and her portrayal of a family in crisis is gripping and thought-provoking.”

Kate Ballard comments:

“Intrigued by the premise I found myself gripped by Francesca’s storytelling in this exquisite exploration of the ripple effect of the truths we share and the secrets we keep from those we care about most. The way in which Francesca injects hope into a novel revolving around grief thanks to a combination of brilliantly believable characters and their multiple perspectives is impressive and makes for a gripping, heart-in-your mouth read that you want to talk about as soon as you finish the last sentence. I can’t wait to be able to do so when we share The Cookbook of Common Prayer with readers everywhere next summer.”

The Cookbook of Common Prayer will publish in hardback and e-book in June 2021 on the Allen & Unwin imprint of Atlantic Books.