The Estate of Helen Dunmore


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Dunmore Author Photo 2014 cred Caroline Forbes.jpg


Agent: Caradoc King
Associate: Millie Hoskins
Assistant: Olivia Maidment


Helen Dunmore was an award-winning novelist, children’s author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past.

Her first  novel, ZENNOR IN DARKNESS, explored the events which led DH Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize.  Her third novel, A SPELL OF WINTER, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with her novel THE SEIGE which was described by Anthony Beevor as a ‘world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel THE BETRAYAL was longlisted for the Man Booker prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and THE LIE in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize.

Her final novel, BIRDCAGE WALK, deals with legacy and recognition - what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them - and was described by the Observer as 'the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written'. In 2017 she posthumously won the Costa Book of the Year prize for her final poetry collection, INSIDE THE WAVES. Helen's last and outstanding collection of stories GIRL, BALANCING was also published posthumously in 2018.

"Wisdom and wit shine out from Helen Dunmore’s last stories." - The Times

"It was her emotional concision that made her so exceptional, a quality on ample display in these posthumous short stories ... some absolute gems." Mail on Sunday 

"I couldn’t recommend these stories more." Evening Standard 

Helen was known to be an inspirational and generous author, championing emerging voices and other established authors. She also gave a large amount of her time to supporting literature, independent bookshops all over the UK, and arts organisations across the world. She died in June 2017.


Publication DetailsNotes



UK: HarperCollins; Canada: HarperCollins

An atmospheric and beautifully written adventure, from the award-winning author of the Ingo series.

Morveren lives with her parents and twin sister Jenna on an island off the coast of Cornwall. As Morveren and Jenna’s relationship shifts and changes, like driftwood on the tide, Morveren finds a beautiful teenage boy in a rock pool after a storm. Going to his rescue, she is shocked to see that he is not human but a Mer boy. With Jenna refusing to face the truth, Morveren finds herself alone at the worst possible time. Because when the worlds of Air and Mer meet, the consequences can be terrible…



UK: HarperCollins; Can: HarperCollins; Indonesian: PT Gramedia

Cold, strong water has got me in its grip. It hates me. It wants to destroy me. It will carry me to the back of the cove and smash me against the cliff . . . Dark despair crawls over my skin. Where is Ingo?
Sapphire, Conor and their Mer friends Faro and Elvira are ready to make the Crossing of Ingo - the most dangerous journey young Mer have to face. No human has ever been chosen to make the Crossing, and the future of Air and Ingo depends on their success.

But Ervys, his followers and new recruits, the sharks, are determined that Sapphire and Conor must be stopped - dead or alive . . .



UK, US, Canadian: HarperCollins; Finnish: Gummerus; German: C Bertelsmann Jugendbuch; Indonesian: P T Gramedia; Swedish: B Wahls

After the devastating flood which ended THE TIDE KNOT, Sapphire and Conor have moved back to their beloved cottage on the cliffs, and life is returning to normal. But only the two of them know about the loosing of the Knot which caused the flood, and the ancient wisdom of Saldowr which called back the tides.
As the human population clear up the flood damage, the Mer must face that the unleashing of the tides was caused by a deeper, still present danger. Once again Sapphire and Conor, who bridge the worlds of Mer and human, are asked to help. But mixed loyalties fill THE DEEP, and as Conor and Sapphy do battle against the monster Kraken in the darkest depths of the sea, they must also face the perilous rivalries of Ingo.

THE DEEP is the third novel in Helen Dunmore’s spellbinding INGO series, of which Amanda Craig said in the Times: ‘Intensely compelling and written in gorgeous, pellucid prose, the projected quartet knits together adolescent anguish, sexual attraction, environmental concerns and a profound sense of mystery.’



UK, US, Canada: HarperCollins; Finnish: Gummerus; German: C Bertelsmann Jugendbuch; Indonesian: P T Gramedia; Swedish: B Wahlstr

Sapphire and Conor’s mother has moved them to the town of St Pirans: further from the cove where their father went missing, and further – their mother hopes – from the seductive call of the Mer people and the sea. But whilst Conor becomes absorbed in new friends, surfing, diving and the bustle of the town, Sapphy is travelling deeper into the sea, further into Ingo.
Her beloved dog Sadie, Granny Carne and new friend Rainbow draw her back to Earth, but can she resist the company of Faro, the Mer boy whose very thoughts mix with hers? Conor seems to have forgotten Ingo, but how can Sapphy forget it when it seems to have a mysterious, urgent message for her? And why does Saldowr, wisest and most powerful of the Mer people, need help from Sapphire and Conor?

In this sequel to the highly-acclaimed INGO, Sapphy and Conor realise the terrible dangers of their beloved Ingo, and the power of their strange position between sea and earth. It’s up to them to save their community on land, but they can’t abandon the search which first took them under the sea: the search for their lost father.

In 2006, THE TIDE KNOT won the Nestle Children's Book Prize Silver Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.



UK: HarperCollins; Finnish: Gummerus; German: C Bertelsmann Jugendbuch; Indonesian: P T Gramedia; Swedish: B Wahlstrom; Thai: Pe

Inside Zennor church you’ll find the mermaid of Zennor, carved in an old dark wood; her name is Morveren and people said she was the Mer King’s daughter. She wasn’t always so still. A long time ago she, a creature of the Mer, fell in love with an Air person, a human man who she couldn’t live with – not up in the dry air. Yet she couldn’t forget him and she kept swimming upstream to hear him sing, until one day he swam downstream and was never seen again. He had become one of the Mer people of Ingo.
Hundreds of years later a girl called Sapphire Trewhella would seek out these same Mer people to help her find her father, who had disappeared one night in a mysterious boating accident. No one knows what could have happened to Sapph’s father. A year after the accident he is given up for dead – but not by Sapphy. She remembers her Dad and remembers how he sang to her: “I wish I was away in Ingo, Far across the sea…”

With the help of her brother Conor, her Mer friends, Faro and Elvira and the greatest Air person of them all, Granny Carne, Sapphy is swept away on a beautiful but dangerous underwater adventure. Unbeknown to Sapphire, her journey is not just about finding her Dad, but about finding out who and what she really is.

Ingo is the first book in an enchanting sea trilogy written by the critically acclaimed Orange prize winner Helen Dunmore.


Publication DetailsNotes



Hutchinson (Random House)

With her trademark imagination and gift for making history human, Helen Dunmore explores the fragile ties between passion, love, family, friendship and grief, often through people facing turning points in their lives.



Hutchinson (Random House)

London, November, 1960: the Cold War is at its height. Spy fever fills the newspapers, and the political establishment knows how and where to bury its secrets.
When a highly sensitive file goes missing, Simon Callington is accused of passing information to the Soviets, and arrested.
His wife, Lily, suspects that his imprisonment is part of a cover-up, and that more powerful men than Simon will do anything to prevent their own downfall.
She knows that she too is in danger, and must fight to protect her children. But what she does not realise is that Simon has hidden vital truths about his past, and may be found guilty of another crime that carries with it an even greater penalty.



Hutchinson (Random House)

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK's most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.

A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him.

He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?



UK: Hammer (Random House); Korean: Munhakdonge

The setting is 1952, and everything is new and strange for Isabel. She’s recently married and has moved to a town where she knows no-one. Her husband Philip is a doctor who works all hours, and wouldn’t dream of allowing his wife to work. A clever, educated woman, Isabel now spends her days trying to get to grips with the tedium of housework and learning how to cook, and she’s lonely and vulnerable. To make matters worse, their rented accommodation is very cold. Hunting for extra blankets she finds an old “greatcoat” – a long, thick coat of the sort which was worn by servicemen during the war – and their landlady doesn’t seem to object to it being used. That night, while Philip has been called out again on a medical emergency, Isabel has been sleeping fitfully, covered by the huge greatcoat. She wakes from a disturbed dream to hear a tapping at the window: a strikingly handsome RAF officer in a similar greatcoat is there, smiling at her with a look of recognition. At first she’s terrified, but eventually lets him in. Thus begins the strangest of relationships – or perhaps it’s a continuation of one from the past? As her feelings for Alec deepen, she must also confront the question of who he really is and what has drawn him to her, and to this house.

THE GREATCOAT is a beautifully written story about the power of the past to imprint itself on the present, until the present is possessed by the past.



UK: Penguin; Brazil: Record; Chinese(simplified): New Star Publishing; Greek: Modern Times; Hebrew: Penn; Hungarian: Europa; Nor

Summer 1952: the city of Leningrad has known peace for almost eight years – but underlying that peace is a deep and wary unease. Stalin’s Soviet Union is a land of whispers and watchfulness, where nobody can count themselves as safe, and so for Andrei and his wife Anna – survivors of the German siege – the best course of action has always been to blend in and not be noticed.

But Andrei is also a doctor, and when a colleague asks him to advise on a young patient who happens to be the son of a high-ranking figure at the Ministry of State Security, Andrei finds himself caught in an impossible game of life and death. Whether he treats the child or not, everything he holds dear will be exposed and endangered by his actions. While her husband agonises over his decision under the impassive gaze of the authorities, Anna will need all her strength and courage to ensure a future for herself and her whole family.

An exquisite and gripping tale of life and love in Stalinist Russia, THE BETRAYAL is also the sequel to Helen Dunmore’s critically acclaimed novel THE SIEGE, which was shortlisted for both the 2001 Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction.



UK: Penguin; Portuguese (Brazil): Record; Romanian: Leda

In the heat of Rome’s long summer, the poet Catullus and his older married lover, Clodia Metelli, meet in secret.
Living at the heart of sophisticated, brittle and brutal Roman society at the time of Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar, Catullus is obsessed with Clodia, the Lesbia of his most passionate poems. He is jealous of her husband, of her maid, even of her pet sparrow. And Clodia? Catullus is ‘her dear poet’, but possibly not her only interest…

Their Rome is a city of extremes. Tenants are packed into ramshackle apartment blocks while palatial villas house the magnificence of the families who control Rome. Armed street gangs clash in struggles for political power. Slaves are the eyes and ears of everything that goes on, while civilisation and violence are equals, murder is the easy option, and poison the weapon of choice.

Catallus’ relationship with Clodia is one of the most intense, passionate, tormented and candid in history. In love and in hate, their story exposes the beauty and terrors of Roman life in the late Republic.



UK: Penguin; German: Luebbe

Political unrest stirs in the attic rooms and bookshops of early twentieth century Helsinki, as diverse groups of Finns dream of a life without Russian rule. On the death of her Communist father, young Eeva is taken to the House of Orphans, hours outside the city and far removed from her former life. Eeva chafes against the strict rules of the House, and resents being trained as a maid. Even when she finds work in the house of the kind Dr Eklund, and develops a love of the fertile Finnish countryside, the class war rages within her; and the doctor’s growing love for Eeva cannot quench her longing for Lauri, her childhood friend. Dr Eklund, mourning the death of his wife, his alienation from his daughter and the impossibility of his longing for Eeva, begins to feel that his generation may be obsolete.
But the doctor is capable of a kindness Eeva has never perceived: finding that she wishes to leave, he helps her find her way back to Helsinki and to Lauri. This proves a more volatile world than she remembers. The old politics have a violent edge; Lauri has made new and dangerous friends, and whilst revelling in her freedom, Eeva realises that they may both be in real peril, and that she may have to call on the doctor once again.

Helen Dunmore’s new novel has a tangible sense of place and time, whilst dramatising the conflict between ideals and individuals. Like THE SIEGE, this new novel is rooted in its historical setting, but is written with abundant humanity.



UK: Viking; US: Grove Atlantic; Dutch: De Geus; French: Belfond; German: Luebbe; Hebrew: Yavneh; Hungarian: Europa; Italian: Mar

September 1941. German forces surround Leningrad, imprisoning its inhabitants, many of whom will not survive the Russian winter. What is it like to be so hungry you simmer your leather manicure case to make soup, so cold you burn first your furniture and then your books? Interweaving two love affairs across two generations, THE SIEGE is the story of a family’s struggle to stay alive over one terrible winter of starvation and loss. It tells of war and the wounds it inflicts upon ordinary people’s lives. A lyrical and deeply moving celebration of love, life and survival, THE SIEGE is the fruit of Dunmore’s long fascination with Russia’s history, its people and its culture. This novel marks a major breakthrough in her writing.


Publication DetailsNotes



Bloodaxe Books

To be alive is to be inside the wave, always travelling until it breaks and is gone. These poems are concerned with the borderline between the living and the dead - the underworld and the human living world - and the exquisitely intense being of both. They possess a spare, eloquent lyricism as they explore the bliss and anguish of the voyage.