The debut novel from an Isle of Man author discovered by a publisher at the very first Manx Litfest will be launched at this year's festival.
Angela Roberts' The Fear of Flying Club will be published in September by Limerick-based Pillar International Publishing, with the book's launch party taking place at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas on Thursday, September 29.
Manx-born and educated, Angela first submitted a manuscript to Pillar director Mark Lloyd during a face-to-face 'pitch session' during Manx Litfest 2012. Angela didn't pursue that manuscript, but Mark had seen something in Angela's writing. The following year she pitched The Fear of Flying Club, since when they have worked together towards publication.
The novel follows the adventures of four aerophobes and their hapless instructor, as they try to get over their fear of flying for very different reasons.
'I'm thrilled to have been invited to launch the book at this year's Manx Litfest,' said Angela. 'It's exciting enough that The Fear of Flying Club is being published, but it is particularly specialto me that it is being launched at Manx Litfest because it is largely down to the festival that the book is where it is today.
'After pitching it to Mark at the 2014 festival, the novel was signed by the company in early 2015. I would urge any budding writers to get involved in this year's Manx Litfest and make the most of the fantastic opportunities it creates right here on our doorstep.'
Angela is an office manager with Hotchkiss Associates, having swapped professions after an eight-year career in marketing. In addition to writing novels, she writes lifestyle articles and short stories (one of which ironically won her two return flights to Paris).
Mark said: 'The pitching sessions at Litfest were very strong. The island can be proud of its writing. Angela had something special: a sharp wit and the ability to paint characters you could root for. The characters of Rachel and Poppy in The Fear of Flying Club are so beautifully crafted. When a manuscript makes me laugh and makes me cry, I have to run with it.'
Festival Director John Quirk said: 'It's wonderful news for Angela, and we're thrilled to have helped give her the platform from which she has reached publication. It's also special for Manx Litfest, of course. One of our aims when creating the festival was to provide opportunities to Isle of Man writers, in particular those who were unpublished. To see one of our first writers to attend the pitch sessions now having a novel published is both pleasing and humbling.
'There will be more pitch sessions during Manx Litfest 2016, and hopefully there is another success story just around the corner.'
Full details of the pitch sessions, and this year's Manx Litfest Writers' Day (October 1), will be announced in the next few weeks.
This year's festival, which runs from Tuesday, September 27 until Sunday, October 2, again sees a number of authors, poets and illustrators visiting the Isle of Man from around the British Isles,
including Queen of Crime Martina Cole, children's author Sally Gardner, poet Hollie McNish. For further information about the festival, visit www.manxlitfest.com
The schedule for Manx Litfest 2016 will be unveiled in the next fear weeks, and will again feature the Schools' Day on Friday, September 30, and the popular Family Day on Saturday, October 1.
Manx Litfest is a registered charity (#1100) and receives financial assistance from Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin, along with several corporate sponsors and private individuals.