Today we reveal the cover for a show-stopper of a novella by Dr Laura Fish: 'Lying Perfectly Still', released in October 2024.
Winner of the SI Leeds Reader's Choice Award 2022.
From the Orange Prize long listed author of 'Strange Music'
The cover illustration is by young Eswatini artist Sambulo Shongwe.
UNCOVERING THE TRUTH WON’T BE EASY.
When Koliwe leaves England for a new job in overseas aid in Eswatini, formerly the Kingdom of Swaziland, she encounters a world of clashing beliefs, wealthy ex-pats and sexual predators. As she uncovers the corruption at the heart of the aid community, she is forced to reassess her own identity and confront those who seek to undermine her.
The novella is available for pre-order now here.
About the Author:
Laura Fish is an award-winning writer of Caribbean heritage. She is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing programme at UEA (2002) and was awarded a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from UEA (2007).
Her third novel, Lying Perfectly Still, was S I Leeds Reader’s Choice winner 2022, and came third in the S I Leeds Literary Prize 2022.
Her second novel, Strange Music (Jonathan Cape 2008; Vintage 2009, now available penguin.co.uk) was Orange Prize listed 2009; International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nominated 2009; selected for Pearson Edexcel's Black British Writing A level reading guide 2017/18; is taught on university courses internationally. Her first novel, Flight of Black Swans (London: Duckworth 1995) received very favourable reviews in The Guardian, the Evening Standard, and Times Literary Supplement.
Laura is one of four writers featured in the Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature special issue, ‘Contemporary Black British Women's Writing: Experiments in Literary Form’ pp. 211-222 (founded by Germaine Greer), alongside Bernadine Evaristo, Booker Prize winner 2022.
Since 2014, Laura has been employed at Northumbria University, U.K University of the Year, Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2022.
Laura has over 10 years’ experience with BBC in broadcast television and radio, in news, current affairs and features.
It is my pleasure to hand over to Dr Laura Fish to give some insight into the background of novella 'Lying Perfectly Still' (October 2024).
"When I was living in Eswatini, the HIV infection rate was over 42% among women of child-bearing age, which was estimated to be the highest HIV rate in the world, and the numbers testing HIV positive were continuing to rise.
Research for the book involved interviewing those infected with the virus, to learn about their experiences, visiting orphanages for abused and neglected children, and interviewing researchers and health practitioners who had conducted studies on reasons behind the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS.
One question I was haunted by when working in Southern Africa was why people who were HIV positive had unprotected sex with people who were HIV negative. Some aspects of the story emerged through meeting with local people and learning about their lives through an interpreter - young women in particular, who ran child-headed families, families where children live without parents or guardians. In Eswatini, the emergence of child-headed families was attributed to the increasing number of HIV and AIDS orphans. Some voices in the narrative echo these young womens’ voices.
Fiction has a history of providing a platform from which narrative accounts of the effects of past or current critical issues can become part of the wider public dialogue. When I later returned to Eswatini on a research trip, the information gathered went towards constructing a narrative strand written from the perspective of a young woman affected by HIV and AIDS and living in a rural area."