Open thread: 2013 debuts by women

This year’s Waterstones 11 list of debut novels to watch was announced on Tuesday. Do take a look, as there’s some interesting stuff on there. (I’d pick out Carlos Acosta’s Pig’s Foot; Sam Byers’ Idiopathy; Gavin Extence’s The World Versus Alex Woods; Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart; Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go; and Sathnam Sanghera’s Marriage Material as the ones that initially catch my eye.)

But only three of the eleven novels are by female writers, and I knew there were many other interesting debuts by women being published this year, so I decided to make a list. This has mostly been compiled from suggestions on Twitter, but I do want to add to it, so please feel free to suggest more titles in the comments.

(NB. Where there are multiple editions, publication details refer to the UK one.)

Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler (Picador, January)

How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (Picador, January)

Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (Corsair, January)

70% Acrylic 30% Wool by Viola Di Grado (Europa Editions, January)

The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena (Atlantic, January)

Clay by Melissa Harrison (Bloomsbury, January)

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (Hutchinson, January)

The Beauty of Murder by A.K. Benedict (Orion, February)

The People of Forever are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiou (Hogarth, February)

Warpaint by Alicia Foster (Fig Tree, March)

Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle (Jo Fletcher, February)

Mums Like Us by Laura Kemp (Arrow, February)

The Night Rainbow by Claire King (Bloomsbury, February)

Pantomime by Laura Lam (Strange Chemistry, February)

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz (Hutchinson, February)

The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (Michael Joseph, March)

The Girl Below by Bianca Zander (Alma, February)

Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin (Alma, March)

The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland (HarperCollins, March)

Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman (Serpent’s Tail, March)

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley (Tinder Press, March)

Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter (Jo Fletcher, March)

She Rises by Kate Worsley (Bloomsbury, March)

Fever by Mary Beth Keane (Simon & Schuster, April)

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (Allen & Unwin, April)

The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter (Fig Tree, April)

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait (Picador, April)

Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy (Picador, May)

The Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks (Quercus, May)

Chaplin and Company by Mave Fellowes (Jonathan Cape, May)

If I Could Tell You by Lee Jing-Jing (Marshall Cavendish International, May)

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (Fig Tree, May)

The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright (Simon & Schuster, May)

The Whack-Job Girls by Bonnie ZoBell (Monkey Puzzle, Spring)

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch (Doubleday, June)

Hunters in the Snow by Daisy Hildyard (Jonathan Cape, July)

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach (Picador, July)

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Picador, August)

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury, August)

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (William Heinemann, August)

Thanks to all the Twitter users who made suggestions:

@fictionpubteam @beccalikesbooks @Laurajanekemp @shelleywriter @stujallen @emmacapron @Frizbot @JessicaLeeke @ckingwriter @LinsHealy @say_shannon @thisgreyspirit @JaneRusbridge @DogEarDiscs @bibliomouse @essiefox @taniahershman @AndrewHookUK @Clareaux @CathyReadsBooks @lozzhadden @WmHeinemann @amymculloch @JoFletcherBooks @JD_Slazenger


  1. Great list, and quite a few titles I hadn’t come across yet. Two more to add, Sarah Butler’s Ten Things I’ve Learnt about Love and Kate Worsley’s She Rises.

  2. Thanks for putting this list together David, I will keep coming back to it for more ideas as the year goes on. I’ve read a couple of these and I have a few more on my to be read pile here to start with. Another one I’ve just read is The Girl Below by Bianca Zander, coming from Alma Books in February/March I think.

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