Little Island Books is thrilled to announce the sale of North American publication rights to The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). With this sale, Grehan will join the HMH list of authors which includes 8 Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners and 13 National Book Award winners.
Grehan is an award-winning author in her own right, with her first book, The Space Between, winning the Eilís Dillon Award for a debut book at the Children’s Book Ireland awards in 2018.
The Deepest Breath, her second book, is a middle-grade verse novel about an 11-year-old girl, Stevie coming to understand that she has the sort of feelings towards her female friend, Chloe, that she is expected to have for boys. This is a sensitive, warm and reassuring book told in lyrical but accessible language which covers an important topic which is under-represented in middle grade literature.
Speaking to Books Ireland, Matthew Parkinson-Bennett said “Little Island is extremely proud to have published this important and beautiful book. Meg wrote The Deepest Breath because she knew there were girls out there who needed to read it, because it was the book she wished had been available when she was younger. So it is wonderful that the Deepest Breath will now be available to a whole new audience, where we hope it will continue to find the young readers who need it.”
Lily Kessinger, acquiring editor at HMH, added, “from Stevie’s distinct voice to the lyrical writing, The Deepest Breath moved me with its nuanced and genuine explorations of identity, anxiety, and mother-daughter dynamics. I’m honored and excited to help introduce this book and Meg’s writing to American readers.”
The sale was made with the assistance of the BookStop Literary Agency, originating from a meeting with Kendra Marcus of BookStop at Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2019. Little Island expressed their gratitude to Culture Ireland whose financial support allows them to attend this fair each year.
The Deepest Breath will be published in the USA in 2020. In 2020 it will also be published in French as En apnée by Talents Hauts.
Praise for The Deepest Breath:
“Powerful in its simplicity.” – Claire Hennessy, The Irish Times
“Grehan has created one of those rare gems, a book that feels so utterly real and involving that the reader lives every page with the main character. … Amazing to think it’s only Grehan’s second book.” – Sarah Webb, The Irish Independent
“Grehan’s verse flows like water, and her scenes … patiently follow the rises and falls of a young girl’s emotional life.” – Cassia Gaden Gilmartin, Gay Community News