Debra Barnes’ The Young Survivors inspires piano piece by composer Julian Marczak

Debra Barnes’ The Young Survivors inspires piano piece by composer Julian Marczak


Debra Barnes has had plenty of wonderful reviews for her Holocaust historical fiction debut, The Young Survivors, but one recent review has really been music to her ears…

Last week, composer Julian Marczak sent her the following message:


Dear Debra,

It is 1.45am and I have just finished reading your wonderful book, The Young Survivors. It is so beautifully written, gripping and says so much on behalf of the Jewish people. I am not Jewish myself, but have several close friends who are and your book has really touched my heart.

I am a composer and your outstanding story has inspired me to write a further piece for piano. I have played it to friends and they have said that the emotion behind the music is especially evident. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

With all good wishes,



If you’d like to have a listen of Julian’s beautiful piano piece, ‘When All is Done’, just click here.

When All is Done © Julian Marczak


We’re hiring: Senior Commissioning Editor/Editorial Director

We’re hiring: Senior Commissioning Editor/Editorial Director


A fabulous opportunity to join and help shape a resurgent name in publishing

Duckworth is a publisher of first-class, eye-opening non-fiction, founded in 1898 and since revitalised for the 21st century.

We’re looking for a senior editor to commission and publish new original titles across the non-fiction list, including personal stories of identity, travel and nature; global history; and popular science and psychology.

The role will most likely suit a commercially-minded editor with at least 3-5 commissioning years experience and proven excellent networking abilities.

You’ll need the skills to shape and manage a book at every stage of its life, from the seed of an idea to profitable publication and beyond. You’ll be great at pitching, and working with our small, friendly team to develop each book’s positioning, copy and design, as well as being adept at communicating with authors and agents. Most importantly, you’ll be imaginative and full of ideas.

The role is advertised as either a part-time role or full-time – we invite applications on either basis. We also welcome requests for regular homeworking days or flexible hours.

Salary range: £28,000-£40,000 (pro rata), dependent on experience

Please apply with covering letter and CV to by 21 April.

We are currently working part remotely, and part in our Richmond-upon-Thames office, and initial interviews are likely to be conducted over video call.


Let the books blossom: Spring reads from Duckworth

Let the books blossom: Spring reads from Duckworth


Spring is around the corner! Here are some fresh, inspiring reads from Duckworth which we believe embody the invigorating season of re-emerging flora and fauna, and (slightly) warmer weather.

Floating: A return to Waterlog

Joe Minihane

In the breaststrokes of Roger Deakin’s Waterlog, this is the story of one man’s search for himself across the breadth of Britain’s wild waters. A remarkable memoir about a love of swimming and a deep appreciation for the British countryside.

Perfect for those aiming to try something new, look for ways of dealing with anxiety, and embrace the outdoors this Spring.


‘Lovely, lively, passionate… a celebration of nature’s ability to inspire healing and joy’ Robert MacFarlane

‘Roger Deakin’s Waterlog journey, rebooted for the 21st century, Floating is a delicious slice of nature writing with a truly human heart’ Alexandra Heminsley

Buy now



The Friendship Cure: Reconnecting in the Modern World

Kate Leaver

The Friendship Cure

In The Friendship Cure, Kate Leaver s much anticipated manifesto brings to light what modern friendship means, how it can survive, why we need it and what we can do to get the most from it.

A remedy for reconnecting with friends as lockdown is slowly eased this Spring.


‘A gorgeous book and a reminder of just how intense and special female friendship is.’ Emma Gannon

The Friendship Cure is here to make us love our girl friends all over again… you’ll want to buy it and give it to all of your friends immediately.’ Evening Standard

Buy now



Everyman’s England

Victor Canning

In this series of pen-portraits of England from the 1930s, Victor Canning evocatively captures the pattern and colour of the English countryside. His heart-warming and humorous observations of sleepy villages, pastoral scenes and busy industries are a delightful time capsule into life in England during the interwar years.

For those who desire a soothing account of nature’s beauty, laced with vivid imagery.


‘Wonderful… elegant, humorous, exuberant essays.’ Guardian

‘Evocatively captures the pattern and colour of English life.’ The Bookseller

Buy now

The Shadowy Third – Julia Parry interviews on RTE Radio 1

The Shadowy Third – Julia Parry interviews on RTE Radio 1


Author Julia Parry talks with RTE Radio 1 about her remarkable biography, The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen. Available now to buy now from Amazon and Waterstones.

An interesting interview and a fascinating story – have a listen here:


The Templar’s Garden & Like as the Hart

The Templars Garden and Like as the Hart

The Templar’s Garden & Like as the Hart


Book and album – immerse yourself in 15th century England



The first book in The Maid of Gascony series, The Templar’s Garden, is out today (12th November).

Accompanying the book is an album, Like as the Hart, produced by author Catherine Clover, performed by the Choir of New College, Oxford. A unique experience, it allows readers to immerse themselves – by both reading and listening – in 15th century England, where Lady Isabelle d’Albret Courteault faces a new and unforeseeable life under the reign of King Henry VI after being forced to flee the Duchy of English Gascony.


Like as the Hart

Like as the Hart

You can buy the book and buy the album exclusively from Blackwell’s.


Below is a video offering highlights from the trailer for the book and album. It features Catherine Clover, Robert Quinney, Alexander L’Estrange, Antony Pitts and music performed by the Choir of New College. It was filmed on location at Trinity College, Oxford and Temple Church, London. Film production by Ali Webb of Webb Street Studios, London.



And breathe… reassuring reads in turbulent times

Reassuring reads

And breathe… reassuring reads in turbulent times


Lockdown 2.0. American elections. Climate emergencies. It’s all a bit overwhelming.

We therefore invite you to take a breath, grab a cuppa, and try and savour the simple pleasures: reconnecting with friends, admiring nature, or doing nothing at all.


The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang The Importance of Living

Intended as an antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world, Lin Yutang’s prescription is the classic distillation of ancient Chinese wisdom: revere inaction as much as action and invoke humour to maintain a healthy attitude.

With our lives accelerated to unbelievable levels (particularly so in 2020!), this wise and timeless book is more pertinent than ever before.

Quote from The Importance of Living:

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

Buy now from and support indie bookshops and publishers.



A Wood of One's OwnA Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey

A Wood of One’s Own is the story of how Ruth Pavey grew to understand and then shape four acres of derelict Somerset land into an enduring legacy.

Accompanied throughout by the author’s evocative hand-drawn illustrations, it is a potent reminder of nature’s delicate balance, and its comforting and abiding presence.

Quote from A Wood of One’s Own:

“There is something very buoyant about the company of trees, plants, animals, birds, insects all intent upon their own lives.”

Buy now from




The Friendship Cure by Kate LeaverThe Friendship Cure

How can we live in the most interconnected age and still find ourselves stuck in the greatest loneliness epidemic of our time? It’s killing us, making us miserable and causing a public health crisis. What if meaningful friendships are the solution, not a distraction…

In The Friendship Cure, Kate Leaver’s much anticipated manifesto brings to light what modern friendship means, how it can survive, why we need it and what we can do to get the most from it.

Quote from The Friendship Cure:

“We need to relearn the art of friendship because we need each other more than ever.”

Buy now from

J.J. Connolly reading from Layer Cake (20th Anniversary Edition)

J.J. Connolly reading from Layer Cake (20th Anniversary Edition)


‘Welcome to the Layer Cake, son’


The 20th Anniversary editions of Layer Cake and Viva La Madness are out now.

Special edition signed copies are available from No Alibis bookshop. Available also at all good bookshops:


Listen to author J.J. Connolly read an excerpt from his famous crime bestseller:


Duckworth’s Summer Reads

Duckworth’s Summer Reads


Hello all! Back in April, we talked about what our team would be reading during lockdown. Four (long) months later, we are going to have another quack at it.

Fanny (marketing and publicity guru): Summer reading for me usually means delving into great fiction. I’m reading:

  • Hot Milk by Deborah Levy – my first Levy and really enjoying it so far. It’s set on the Spanish seaside and though it’s all about a tricky mother-daughter relationship, the setting definitely brings the right summer-y vibes.
  • Finally carving out time to read Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other – better late than never! Obviously a hugely important book this year and everyone that I know who’s read it had only the best things to say, so really looking forward to giving it a read.

Matt (of-all-trades): Manuscripts!

But I am meant to read the Sunday Times bestseller Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race for my book club end of next week so better get started. I’ll be writing a review of the book for Ninja Book Box, which specialises in promoting indie press books.

Pete (le chef): I have just started on Jessica Kane’s Rules for Visiting, to read by the river.

A quiet, thoughtful start, but I have a feeling this is going to build into one of those novels of quiet genius.

Rob (intern-galactic): I have also had a book club to prepare for. The book of discussion is Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. I’m really enjoying the book. It is raw, full of emotion, yet so graceful in its lyricism.

Still waiting for my brief moment.


Let us know what you’re reading on Twitter using our handle @duckbooks and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook @DuckworthPublishers.


Joe Minihane talks ‘Floating’ with the BBC

Joe Minihane talks ‘Floating’ with the BBC


Author Joe Minihane speaks to Mollie Davidson of BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio about outdoor swimming, his book Floating, and the importance of lidos.



Signed copies of Floating: A return to Waterlog are available to purchase from Kenilworth Books now.

A remarkable woman: Frances Hodgson Burnett

A remarkable woman: Frances Hodgson Burnett


Frances Hodgson Burnett was a remarkable woman.

Born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester in 1849, over 170 years ago, she transgressed all the rules for a woman of her time. She was twice married and twice divorced.

At 14 Frances found herself in Tennessee, just after the end of the Civil War, needing to help support her family. At 22, already getting her stories accepted, she refused to marry and travelled alone to England, the second of the 33 times she crossed the Atlantic.

In 1875, finally married and with a small child, with her writing she supported her husband’s studies in Paris. Here, Frances’ second son was born.

Her first novel (for adults) set in Lancashire, was widely praised. One American critic wrote:

‘We know of no more powerful work from a woman’s hand, not even excepting the best of George Eliot.’

Much later, after the publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy, Frances lunched with William Gladstone, the British Prime Minister in Italy. He suggested that her bestseller would help Britain and America ‘to understand each other’

Frances was a celebrity, recognised wherever she went. She was the highest paid writer (of either sex) in all America.

In 1888, to thank her for her efforts to protect copyright, she was presented with a magnificent diamond bracelet inscribed

‘To Frances Hodgson Burnett, with the gratitude of British Authors.’

Her life was as extraordinary as any of her thirty novels. It seems strange that most people know nothing about her beyond the fact that she wrote three famous books for children: Little 
Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess and, most loved of all, The Secret Garden.


Anne Thwaite’s biography of Frances Hodgson Burnett, Beyond the Secret Garden, will be published 6 August 2020. Available to pre-order now.

You can test your knowledge of Frances, and be in with the chance of winning some great prizes, by entering our ‘Beyond the Secret Garden Quiz’.