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Oneworld acquires debut story collection by 2020 BBC Young Writer of the Year

Oneworld has landed a “dark, fairytale-esque flavour” short story collection by Lottie Mills, the 2020 BBC Young Writer of the Year, with an option on her debut novel.

As reported in the BooksellerJuliet Mabey, publisher at Oneworld, acquired world English rights, including serial and audio rights, from David Godwin at David Godwin Associates to Monstrum, which will publish as a superlead hardback in early 2024.

“Lottie is a precocious talent – a mere 16 when first shortlisted for the BBC Young Writer Award in 2018 – and I was completely blown away by the maturity of these superb stories,” Mabey commented. “Their strange, dark, fairytale-esque flavour reminded me a lot of other brilliant Oneworld short-story writers such as the Booker-shortlisted authors Diane Cook and Samanta Schweblin. Her writing is original and poignant and challenges us to look beyond our own boundaries and life experiences. We are absolutely thrilled and feel very privileged to be introducing Lottie’s work to readers around the world.”

Currently in her final year at Cambridge, Mills has cerebral palsy, and several of the stories grew out of her frustration with how difference, especially disability, is represented in fiction. “Her own disability informs many of these powerful stories about physicality, exclusion and belonging,” the synopsis read. “Sitting on the fringes of society, some of the characters are excluded, others viewed with suspicion, but each story draws in different ways on Lottie’s own experiences in a highly creative, evocative way.

The collection includes the BBC Young Writer Award-winning story ‘The Changeling’.

Mills is a final year English Literature student at Newnham College, Cambridge. She was shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award in 2018 when only 16, and went on to win two years later.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Juliet and the whole team at Oneworld,” Mills said. “They have shown such a rich understanding of my vision for Monstrum, and I can’t wait to embark on my debut with them. As a disabled person, I have so often been frustrated with how outsiderhood, and especially disability, has been misrepresented in fiction. I hope that my collection will subvert these ingrained narratives, and serve as a celebration of difference.”

Godwin noted: “I am thrilled that Lottie is to be published by Juliet at Oneworld. Lottie has the most thrilling talent and this is going to be an exceptional debut.”

Read more about Lottie in this Cambridge News article: ‘I was told I couldn’t go to Cambridge because of my disability – but I’m leaving with a first and a book deal’

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