Editorial Director Bella Pagan introduces the acquisition of The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt, a magical debut novel with its own unique mythology, publishing in Summer 2019. 

With the year rapidly running out on us, I wondered if any bookish gems were left to find in my submissions folder. But, as I stormed through The Nightjar in short order, I knew I'd found one! The characters were unforgettable and the world Deborah had built was simply mesmerising. This book glowed with potential and I caught myself thinking about it constantly. And when I met Deborah, before making our offer, I knew we really had something. She was fizzing with enthusiasm and ideas, and I could tell that her debut novel would be something truly special.  

I was so drawn to the book and this Alice's modern journey 'down the rabbit hole' - to a strange alternate London. I loved the emotional high points, the jeopardy, the fresh worldbuilding and the creative flourishes – and I can’t wait for others to discover all this too. So without further ado, I'm delighted to introduce The Nightjar

About The Nightjar:

The Nightjar introduces us to an engaging, flawed heroine who has to journey into darkness to save her friend’s life. We also discover a unique alternative London, infused with the magic of Finnish mythology. Fans of Joanne Harris and Claire North will love this book.

In The Nightjar, Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life, and only her best friend Jen understands her terror. So when an accident leaves Jen in a coma, Alice is devastated. Then the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an aviarist: capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. And Jen’s nightjar has already flown to Death’s aviary, the Black Menagerie. Unless Jen and her soul bird can be reunited, she won’t recover – and only Alice can save her.

With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden city within the London she knows. Here, surrounded by others with unique powers, she begins to hone her own newfound talents. However, she's being hunted by a faction intent on annihilating magic users. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything she holds dear to save her best friend – and uncover the strange truth about herself.

Deborah Hewitt said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that my book has found a home with Pan Macmillan. I feel very fortunate to have the support of such a fantastic team behind me, and I couldn’t be happier about the opportunity to work with Bella. She has been nothing short of inspirational and I look forward to bringing our shared vision for the book to life!’

Deborah Hewitt is a teacher and previous ‘Undiscovered Voices’ winner living in Manchester. The Nightjar will be published in the summer of 2019 and Deborah's second book will be published a year later.