Allen & Unwin UK to publish debut novel by Taunton-based writer and former teacher Elizabeth Delo

7th April 2022

Allen & Unwin have acquired World English rights to Becoming Liz Taylor, the first novel by British author Elizabeth Delo. Senior Editor Kate Ballard bought the rights from Annette Green at Annette Green Authors’ Agency.

Becoming Liz Taylor tells the story of Val, a widow living in Weston-Super-Mare, who spends lonely evenings dressing up as the movie star Elizabeth Taylor. It seems to be a way of coping with the loss and trauma she has experienced in her life. One day, when Val sees a pram left unattended on the seafront, on a whim she kicks off the brake and carries on walking…

Set in the present and the 1970s, Becoming Liz Taylor is a vivid and haunting depiction of love, loss and bereavement.

Elizabeth Delo is a writer and former teacher who lives in Somerset, whose debut was described by journalist and novelist Anna-Marie Crowhurst as (author of 2018’s The Illumination of Ursula Flight) ‘assured and fluid, beautiful and unexpected. I found (it) compelling and perfectly balanced, and the plot and premise original and clever.’

Elizabeth Delo comments:

‘It was whilst standing in a queue in Weston-super-Mare back in 2015 that I overheard a line of dialogue which made me curious. An idea for a story formed, and I wrote the novel during my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I was so excited when my agent Annette Green told me that Kate Ballard had fallen for my main character Val, and her heartbreaking story. I am really looking forward to working with Kate, and am delighted that Becoming Liz Taylor is being published by Allen & Unwin.’

Annette Green comments:

Becoming Liz Taylor is a compelling story of maternal love, loss and grief: the author gets to the very heart of the matter.  Val is a character with whom all women will empathise.’

Kate Ballard comments:

‘I was hugely impressed by Elizabeth’s writing in this truly accomplished debut and found myself gripped to Val’s story from the get-go – initially shocked by the abduction that sets events into motion and duly intrigued to find out what happens but also fascinated by this deeply troubled protagonist, into whose psyche we’re given a brilliantly believable insight as the reasons for her delusion start to reveal themselves. I found this an original, incredibly tense and ultimately poignant read, perfect for readers of Rachel Joyce, Ruth Hogan and Emma Healey, and my team and I are hugely exciting to be getting to publish it and share it with readers everywhere next summer.’