Motherland Announcement


07 Oct 2014

John Murray, an imprint of John Murray Press, are very pleased to announce acquisition of a brilliant literary debut from a bold new voice in British fiction: MOTHERLAND by Jo McMillan is a fresh, moving, original and funny novel set in the West Midlands of the 70s and 80s.

It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation - as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it's in the blood: the Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began. Jess and her mother Eleanor spend every spare moment selling socialism to Tamworth, a sleepy Midlands town that simply doesn't want to know.  So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. They cross the Iron Curtain and turn instantly from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, Martina, a new and more contented life beckons.  But soon the trouble starts and the Cold War reaches right into their home: threats creep from both sides, and when Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos, Jess no longer knows if the people she calls 'comrade' are quite who they seem…

Reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are not the only Fruit, as well as Goodbye Lenin, MOTHERLAND is a tender mother-daughter story and a tragi-comic and wittily observed portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It's about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it's like to grow up on the losing side of history.

John Murray Publisher Roland Philipps struck a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights with Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh.  MOTHERLAND will be published in July 2015.
German rights have already been pre-empted by Ullstein.

Roland Philipps said: ‘Jo McMillan's sense of character and place is rich and memorable, but above all what drew me to this novel was the marvellous humour behind what at times is a painful story; it fizzes with memorable lines which left me feeling entertained and moved as well as reminded of an extraordinary time.’

For further information please contact Rosie Gailer;; 020 7873 6452