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Sandstone Press signs new novel by Costa shortlisted author Stephen May

Sandstone Press has acquired the world rights to Costa Novel Award shortlisted author Stephen May’s latest novel, Sell Us The Rope.

May 1907 and a young Stalin is in London for a conference of Russian communists. With Lenin, Trotsky, and Rosa Luxemburg among others, he battles to keep the party radical, while dodging the attentions of the Czar’s secret police. He also finds himself drawn to a fiery Finnish activist, Elli Vuokko, beginning a relationship that is as dangerous as it is complicated.

Kay Farrell, assistant publisher, said: ‘Working with Stephen May is always a delight and I’m really excited about the new direction he’s taking here, moving into historical fiction. He blends fact and fiction seamlessly, with the same sharp eye for humour and gender politics that made his contemporary fiction so relatable.’

May commented: ‘This book is a departure for me and it was an eye-opening pleasure to spend time in the Edwardian East End and fascinating to mingle with the Russian Communists, to try and find the humanity within some of history’s hardest men and smartest women. It’s also great to be working with Sandstone Press again, to know that Sell Us The Rope is in the very best hands.’

About the author

Stephen May is the author of five novels including Life! Death! Prizes! which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and The Guardian Not The Booker Prize. He has also been shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and is a winner of the Media Wales Reader’s Prize. He has also written plays, as well as for television and film. He lives in West Yorkshire.

Advance praise for Sell Us the Rope

‘Original, adept and confident... What can I say, except that I wish I had written it myself?’
Hilary Mantel

‘A fascinating and immersive imagining of real events that both challenges and illuminates history.’
Benjamin Myers

‘Electrically-imagined, immersive and compulsively readable, Sell Us the Rope hums with the visceral energy of revolutionary fervour’
Liz Jensen

‘Boldly conceived, precisely imagined, beautifully written.’
Michael Stewart

‘Stephen May’s writing is convincing and engaging in this brilliant tale of revolutionary shenanigans in London.’
Suzanne Joinson

‘Brilliant and original — part historical novel, part romantic comedy, and part bildungsroman about a tyrant-in-waiting.’
Marcel Theroux

‘Beautifully written, compelling and insightful, brimming with captivating characters and twisty intrigues. This book really got under my skin.’
Katherine Clements

Stephen May

Stephen May