Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency

Atom acquires fourth YA novel from David Owen

Atom, an imprint of Little, Brown, has acquired a new YA novel from David Owen. Olivia Hutchings, commissioning editor at Atom Books, bought UK & Commonwealth rights from Ella Kahn at Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency.

Grief Angels is an urgent and heartfelt look at the power of nostalgia and at different forms of grief. It tells the story of 15-year-old Owen Marlow, who is experiencing a great, disorienting loss after his father suddenly passed away and his mother moves them to a new town. Overwhelmed by sadness, he has started to have strange hallucinations of skeletal birds circling above him. Owen tells himself that these visions are just his brain’s way of trying to cope – until one night, the birds descend and take him to an otherworldly forest. There, he is asked to go on a dangerous journey that promises to bring him the understanding he so desperately seeks – if he can survive it.

‘David Owen is a master at taking a topical issue affecting young people today and choosing not to explore it under a gritty, cynical lens, but instead to give it a magical realist twist – transforming it into a gripping read not unlike an episode of Black Mirror. Yet David always offers his characters tenderness and hope, and this latest book is no exception. Grief Angels sees Owen learning the importance of opening up to a friend at school, and whilst the pair of them may make plenty of mistakes along the way, their relatability and humour is undeniable. I can’t wait for readers to meet them’ said Olivia Hutchings

David Owen studied created writing at The University of Winchester, where he went on to teach for three years. David is the author of three novels: Panther (2015), which was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, The Fallen Children (2017), and All the Lonely People (2019); all of which were published by Atom Books. All the Lonely People was described by the Guardian as, ‘An adroit, fast-paced YA page-turner that movingly explores themes of isolation, disaffection and our overwhelming need to be connected’.

Grief Angels will be published in February, 2020. Early material will be showcased at YALC, the UK’s dedicated Young Adult Literature Convention as part of London Film and Comic Con, where David Owen will himself be appearing on Sunday 28th July to discuss New Masculinity with Nikesh Shukla and Samuel Pollen.