Latest JJLA news



Emily Inkpen



Author Emily Inkpen is the latest client of the John Jarrold Literary Agency.

Her science fiction debut novel The Blood Road follows three narrative voices:

For Varian, Isra and Ren, life has never been about what they want. As the adopted children of Nathaniel Dex, weapons manufacturer and President of Dex Island, they were raised as lab-rats, moulded into soldiers, forced to fight, kill and command. Until Isra’s tragic death in combat, aged just eighteen, plunged Dex Island into national mourning.

Eight years later, war is brewing. A country is ready to fall and the leaders of three great nations stand poised to claim the territory as their own. But while Nathaniel provides the weapons, using Ren as a political pawn and Varian’s troops as the spark that will start the war, none of them can predict the reappearance of Isra, and the complications that will bring.

Her influences are as varied as Ursula K Le Guin, The Duchess by Amanda Foreman and the computer game Final Fantasy VII.


Emily said:

“I have been a writer all my life. My passion for fantasy and sci-fi started when my dad read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, a little every night, at the age of six. It took just over a year! I was also raised on the original radio production of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I still know it almost word for word.

“I founded the Glasgow University Creative Writing Group while I was studying for my degree in English Literature. There I met a core group of people who are all now writers and scattered throughout the industry.

“I received first class honours with the courses Fantasy Literature of the 20th Century (Dr Robert Maslen),  Theory and Criticism (Prof Willy Maley), Postcolonial Literature (Prof Willy Maley) and Modern Literature (Dr Helen Stoddart).

“I have always created worlds. For me, freeing myself from the fetters of the world we know allows me to explore all of the possibilities of worlds we are yet to discover.

“Occasionally I write a short story, but they always end up being the Prologue to something much bigger.

“For me, creativity is collaborative. I like to share and discuss.”

She was a medical and healthcare writer for five years. In March 2020 she moved across to the gaming industry and now writes for a game studio.


John Jarrold said: “Occasionally you see a world or universe that feels fully formed from the first page.  That is the case here – as it is with Emily’s characters. This series-opening novel is an outstanding debut that had me cheering for its protagonists, sometimes despite themselves. I want to know What Happens Next!”




• July 21st, 2020 • Posted in News


Ian Whates, Publisher at NewCon Press, has acquired printed book and ebook rights in the fantastical novel Queen of Clouds by Neil Williamson (exclusive for 24 months), which will be published early in 2022.

Neil said: “I’m delighted to be working with Ian Whates and NewCon Press again. They did such an outstanding job with The Moon King and I’m looking forward to having an equally beautiful companion edition of Queen of Clouds sitting beside it on the shelf. Queen of Clouds wasn’t an easy book to write. It features the usual weirdness you’d expect from me, such as wooden automata, sentient weather, talking cats and compellant inks, but it’s also the story of how the world in The Moon King comes to be flooded, and of the futility of trying to persuade those with power to act in times of environmental catastrophe. It feels ever more pertinent now and I’m over the moon that one of our very best independent presses is going to publish it.”

Neil’s first story was published in 1994 and his collection The Ephemera was initially published in 2006 and shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award (and re-published by Infinity Plus Books in 2011). He has since published another collection, Secret Language (shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award), and co-edited two anthologies, Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction (shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award) and Thirty Years of Rain. The Moon King (previously published by NewCon Press) was shortlisted for the BSFA and British Fantasy awards for Best Novel, and has received the following outstanding quotes and reviews:


“A truly unique fantasy, The Moon King is a mysterious, luminous read, full of intriguing characters and featuring a twisty, page-turning plot. Beautifully written and thoughtful. Sure to be one of the best debuts of this or any other year.”   World Fantasy Award winning author, Jeff VanderMeer

“Part dream, part nightmare, part memory, Neil Williamson’s Glassholm is a city that hovers on the brink of violent change. Through the intertwined stories of a cop fleeing his dark past, a young artist in rebellion against the social order, and an engineer who would most certainly not be king, Williamson has woven a story that teems with ideas and imaginative power. There is beauty in it, and strangeness, and page-turning adventure. The marvellous conceit at The Moon King’s core also conveys a powerful message about man’s relationship with nature and with his environment. The commitment shown to the characters by their creator is intense, and palpable. An intricately constructed, heartfelt novel that does its author proud.”    Nina Allan, author of 2017 BSFA Award winning novel The Rift.

“A vivid evocation of a strange moon-ridden bipolar world that swings each month from delirium to despair, and the sort of book that creeps into your dreams.”   Chris Beckett, author of 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award winning novel Dark Eden.

“It must be tough to write an effective fabulation like this as there are so few good ones (The Barron in the Trees by Calvino, The Four Wise Men by Tournier, The Woman in the Dunes by Abe), but Williamson manages to pull off the feat. The dangers of forcing the fiction into the stiffness of allegory or letting the fantastic run messily wild are ever present. The Moon King deftly skates the enchanting boundary between those two possibilities with its fully realized characters and the town of Glassholm, which is both our world and not at the same time. With its themes of art, politics and change, presided over and influenced by the waxing and waning of the moon, the reader is drawn into an engrossing mystery that reveals some dark truths about the ultimate nature of everyone’s perceived “fantasy” kingdoms. Beautifully written. I hope more people become aware of this book and give it a look.”   World Fantasy and Nebula Award winning author, Jeffrey Ford.




The Moon King embeds biting sociocultural observation in a narrative that fizzes with inventive energy, provocative wit and consummate artistry. Often dazzling but always imaginative, intensely serious yet enormously entertaining, it is a sparkling debut novel.”  Andrew Hedgecock, Interzone.

The Moon King belongs in the tradition of Mervyn Peake…an elegant, eloquent inquiry into the relationship between humankind and nature”  The Financial Times

The Moon King is literary fantasy at its best.” The Guardian

“Massively impressed…What sets this book apart from more tentative first novels is how seamlessly Williamson blends historic and genre elements into a setting that seems to skirt the more exotic bounds of Empire, leap to the borders of reality itself, and then go further.” Faren Miller, Locus 10/14

The Moon King is an engrossing tale, with well-sustained mystery, charm and a tangible sense of impending danger. In a word, magic.” **** The List.

The Moon King [places] in the top tier of fantasy debuts this year and makes Neil Williamson an author worth watching in the future.”  Strange Horizons

“It’s a real delight to find a full-length debut novel where character’s pop, the situations glisten with sheer wonder and you realise you were meant to have put the book down and gone to bed a good hour or more ago.” Vector

“This is stylish, quirky fantasy at its very best. Beautifully written, full of fabulous imagery and strikingly original.” Keith Brooke


The agent was John Jarrold.






• July 15th, 2020 • Posted in News


Kate Runde of Podium Audio has acquired audio rights in the War Eternal fantasy trilogy by Rob J Hayes: Along the Razor’s Edge, The Lessons Never Learned and From Cold Ashes Risen.   The agent was John Jarrold.


Rob is also the author of the Amazon Best Selling The Heresy Within, the SPFBO-winning piratical swashbuckler Where Loyalties Lie, and the critically acclaimed Never Die, and five other successful self-published novels. His novel Herald is under consideration by publishers in London and New York.


• June 17th, 2020 • Posted in News



Mehdi Bel Abbes



The latest client of the John Jarrold Literary Agency is Mehdi Bel Abbes.

His debut novel is a coming-of-age epic fantasy entitled The Birth of a Damselfly, which is the first in a trilogy detailing the rags-to-riches story of Ahto Asviani as she struggles to navigate in an Empire without a sun, and a world on the verge of war – the Senarian Saga.


Einatria is a world in stagnation. After a long and bloody campaign, the sun has ceased to shine across the now-humbled Atrian Empire, yet blazes relentlessly across the free nations of the west.

Danger lurks in every cloud of smog. Ahto Asviani, like so many Atrians, is just trying to survive the aftermath of war, working as housekeeper to a den of prostitutes.

That is until a desperate act by the woman she trusts most thrusts Ahto into a new world of politics and gentry that might prove as every bit as dangerous as the last.

This will appeal to readers who have enjoyed stories such as The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff, The Books of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence, and The Poppy War by R.F Kuang – and an LGBT+ protagonist.


The author will be 25 at the end of June 2020. He was born in Casablanca to a Scottish mother and Moroccan father. He has lived and studied in Scotland, attending Stirling University, where he graduated with a 2:1 in Psychology. Currently, he works part-time in a cinema, sweeping under seats whilst he plots out the Senarian Saga. He says: “My favourite writers tend to be older, Victorian, which I think has definitely influenced my writing. Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Arthur Conan Doyle to name a few. More contemporary authors I have enjoyed are R.F. Kuang, Mark Lawrence, and the great Ursula Le Guin.”


“Mehdi has never submitted short fiction, and this is his debut in all ways,” said John Jarrold.  “He has a remarkable voice, great invention and a great range of characters – look out for the Fae Siofra, who I love!”



• June 5th, 2020 • Posted in News




Tobi Ogundiran


Author Tobi Ogundiran has joined the John Jarrold Literary Agency.  His debut novel is the fantasy CHILDREN OF AṨSA


Tutu is a twin.  She is a murderer. She is a fugitive.

For a thousand years the Anukhi conquerors have ruled Ibyssia. They have just one rule: all twins are to be killed at birth.

It is in this world that Tutu and her twin sister live, painfully aware that their very existence is prohibited. They do not draw attention to themselves, and they master the art of hiding in plain sight.

Everything changes the night Tutu murders their mother … with magic.

At least that’s what she’s told. Tutu does not remember how her mother died. She does not remember how she came to possess magic. She does not remember how she lost her sister. All she remembers is the burnt hole in her mother’s chest and the cold fists of the inhuman jailers as she is carted off to prison. Here she is tortured for five years for the whereabouts of her sister.

Until she escapes.

The world is an unfriendly place, where Tutu finds even her countrymen prejudiced against her. But Tutu is convinced she did not kill her mother. Her jailers dog her at every turn, relentless in their efforts to recapture her, but Tutu will do anything to regain her memories to learn the truth of what happened that night.

But perhaps some truths are best left unknown, some memories best left buried.



CHILDREN OF AṨSA is a high fantasy novel, the first in a planned trilogy. It is perfect for fans of THE POPPY WAR and RAGE OF DRAGONS, and marries the author’s love for epic fantasy with his country’s (Nigeria) twin myth from precolonial times. it will resonate with anyone seeking something other than the prevalent Eurocentric fantasy.


Tobi’s short stories have been published/are forthcoming in the The Dark, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shoreline of Infinity and FIYAH.


“It’s a delight to see far more diverse agency submissions than of yore,” said John Jarrold. “As always, it’s the author’s voice that grabs you (or far more often, doesn’t) immediately. Tobi’s setting and characters fascinated me from the first page – this is original, intelligent fiction, with a wonderful deep background of politicking, families and magic in many forms.”








• June 1st, 2020 • Posted in News