Gillian Best’s debut novel, The Last Wave, a family drama set on the South Coast of England, about the life a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times and her family, due to be published in the UK in May, has sold to House of Anansi Press in Toronto in a North American-wide deal.
Gillian was born and brought up in Canada before moving to the UK to undertake a PhD in creative writing at the University of Glasgow. She won the Bronwen Wallace Prize and was shortlisted for the Bridport Award and the Wasafiri Prize. She currently lives and works in Bristol.
Sarah MacLachlan, Publisher at award-winning House of Anansi said, ‘this is a very accomplished debut. I loved how the novel was layered and how the point of view was multiple. The descriptions of the sea and of long distance swimming are simply gorgeous. I love the idea of a character who is a distance swimmer — in Canada we have a history of great women swimmers – Marilyn Bell was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario and then the youngest to swim the English Channel.’
House of Anansi Press was founded in 1967 by writers Dennis Lee and David Godfrey. Anansi started as a small press with a mandate to publish Canadian writers, and quickly gained attention for publishing authors such as Margaret Atwood, Matt Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, and Erín Moure, as well as George Grant and Northrop Frye. French-Canadian works in translation have always been an important part of the list, and prominent Anansi authors in translation include Roch Carrier, Marie-Claire Blais, Anne Hébert, and France Daigle. Today, the company specializes in finding and developing Canadian writers of literary fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction, including Lisa Moore, Patrick DeWitt, Lynn Coady, Rawi Hage, Kathleen Winter, Peter Behrens, Gil Adamson and Eric Siblin, and in maintaining the culturally significant backlist that has accumulated in the decades since the house was founded.