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The Raven’s Nest by Sarah Thomas lands with Atlantic

25th February 2022

Atlantic Books is happy to announce that it has acquired The Raven’s Nest by writer and filmmaker Sarah Thomas. Karen Duffy, Associate Publisher and Head of Campaigns, bought UK & Commonwealth rights in a three-way auction from Matthew Marland at Rogers, Coleridge & White. The Raven’s Nest will be published in hardback and eBook in July 2022, with a paperback to follow in summer 2023.

Artfully weaving nature writing, memoir and travelogue, it is a story about resilience and learning to belong through love and language, set in the elemental landscape of Iceland’s bewitching Westfjords.

In 2008, on a short trip to Iceland for a film festival, Sarah Thomas found herself spellbound by its otherworldly landscape. An immediate love for this country and a man she meets there, Bjarni, turns that first week-long visit into a profoundly transformative half-decade, one which radically alters Sarah’s understanding of herself and of the natural world. She finds a place where the midwinter full moon is brighter than daylight, where fierce storms shake iron-clad houses and northern lights pattern the night sky, where the meaning of the word for yes – já – is imbued with ambiguity when spoken on an inbreath. A place in which, and with which, it is possible to think differently.

Cal Flyn, author of the Baillie Gifford-shortlisted Islands of Abandonment, is one of the book’s early readers:

“Sarah Thomas’ lyrical, thoughtful prose takes us on a journey, both physical and emotional, to the far north – a region about which stories are increasingly essential, especially from those who live there. One senses her filmmaker’s eye in her crisp visual imagery, and in her careful portraits of both people and place.”

Sarah Thomas is a writer and filmmaker. Her films have been screened internationally, and she is a contributor to the Dark Mountain journal. Her writing has also appeared in the Guardian and the anthology Women on Nature. She was longlisted for the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize, and shortlisted for the 2021 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize for the proposal for this book.

Karen Duffy says:

“Written in beautifully vivid prose, The Raven’s Nest is a profoundly moving meditation on place, identity, and how we might live well in an era of environmental disruption. I think anyone who reads the opening pages of Sarah’s wonderful book will just know that they are embarking on a very special journey. The landscape, the raven, Bjarni and his family and other Westfjordian characters are captured with a visceral precision. One of the many things I admire about this book is that it seems to come from a place of curiosity and love.  Sarah’s relationship to her new Icelandic community is one of learning, adapting, accepting. I am certain there are many readers hungry for a book as original and moving and disrupting as The Raven’s Nest and Atlantic will be doing all it can to get the book to them.”

Sarah Thomas says:

“It has been a richly rewarding experience to work with my agent and with Atlantic, a publisher who has approached this book with such care, curiosity and openness to doing things slightly differently. It was a fated match: following an exciting auction, it was a joy to get the call about Atlantic’s final offer as I sailed, on the North Atlantic, into the village where the raven’s nest of the title is housed. I hope that this intricately woven tale, which has been many years in the living and the writing, will immerse readers as I was immersed, in an unbounded way of being and thinking – one in which we might really live in and with the world, with agency and respect. I cannot wait to share this beautiful country and the lifelong impact it has had on me.”