Corvus signs ‘utterly compelling’ debut The Silence Project

6th April 2022

Corvus Publishing Director Sarah Hodgson has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Carole Hailey’s debut The Silence Project from Marina de Pass at The Soho Agency. The Silence Project will be Corvus’ lead debut for the first half of 2023, publishing in hardback, export trade paperback and ebook on 2nd February 2023.

Carole Hailey completed the six-month Guardian/UEA novel writing course taught by Bernardine Evaristo, who imbued her with such a love for writing fiction that she abandoned her career in law to undertake an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, followed by a PhD in Creative Writing at Swansea University. Carole was a London Library Emerging Writer 2020/21. The Silence Project was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award 2020 and highly commended by the judges.

The Silence Project asks what it would be like to be the daughter of a woman who started a cult that changed the world, and takes the form of a fictitious memoir.

On Emilia Morris’s thirteenth birthday, her mother Rachel moves into a tent at the bottom of their garden. From that day on, she never says another word. Inspired by her vow of silence, other women join her and together they build the Community. Eight years later, Rachel and thousands of her followers around the world burn themselves to death.

In the aftermath of what comes to be known as the Event, the Community’s global influence quickly grows. As a result, the whole world has an opinion about Rachel – whether they see her as a callous monster or a heroic martyr – but Emilia has never voiced hers publicly. Until now.

When she publishes her own account of her mother’s life in a memoir called The Silence Project, Emilia also decides to reveal just how sinister the Community has become. In the process, she steps out of Rachel’s shadow once and for all, so that her own voice may finally be heard.

Carole Hailey says:

“I am thrilled that The Silence Project has found a home at Corvus – the love that Sarah and the team have already shown for it is beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m so excited to work with them to send Emilia, Rachel and her Community out into the world.”

Sarah Hodgson, Publishing Director, Corvus, says,

“The unique and arresting premise of The Silence Project caught my attention as soon as I opened Marina’s submission email, and the novel itself only exceeded my expectations. Carole’s writing has both a simplicity and a depth to it that is utterly compelling, I’m over the moon to welcome Carole to the Corvus list, and can’t wait to share The Silence Project with readers – you’ll need to clear your schedules for this one, because it really is unputdownable.”

For translation, North America and film and TV rights, please contact marina@thesohoagency.co.uk.