The Agency Archive highlights of some of BookBlast’s agented titles which broke new ground on first publication, notably Empire Windrush edited by writer and journalist, Onyekachi Wambu; a second volume was agented and published in 2023 by W&N/Hachette. While XCiTés – The Flamingo Book of New French writing showcased a new generation of writers from France unpublished in English at the time, including Frédéric Beigbeder, Tonino Benacquista, Virginie Despentes, Michel Houellebecq, Mounsi, Abdourahman Waberi.

Georgia de Chamberet established BookBlast® Ltd writing agency in 1997 to showcase new or overlooked writers of exceptional quality. As the landscape of publishing changed, and with Amazon arriving on the scene, fewer debut authors had their works accepted. Larger publishers started reducing the number of books acquired to the extent that unless an author was a celebrity, had won some award, or was a TV/film personality, a book by a debut author would be rejected on the grounds that it was unlikely to sell in great quantities. We decided to turn our agency focus on Literary Estates, and to devote our energies instead to promoting authors and their works from around the world who we felt had not been given a proper chance by mainstream publishing.

In 2015 the agency’s website  (first online in 2000) was selected by the curators of Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts, Oxford, as being of lasting research value and worthy of permanent preservation in the Web Archive of the Bodleian Libraries.

empire windrush volume 2 onyekachi wambu bookblastEMPIRE WINDRUSH — Reflections on 75 Years & More of the Black British Experience
Onyekachi Wambu (ed.)

In June 1948, the SS Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury, carrying with it the hopes and dreams of hundreds of young men and women from the Caribbean.

Their arrival was to have far-reaching effects on Britain, signalling not only the beginning of mass migration to the UK, but also the unravelling of the Empire which they and their ancestors had lived under for almost 400 turbulent years. It was a landmark moment which influenced generations of writers, artists and thinkers.

In this ground-breaking anthology, journalist and writer Onyekachi Wambu collates some of the best and most significant writing to mark 75 years since the arrival of Empire Windrush. Through poetry, fiction, journalism, essays and memoir, writers from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia – including Bernardine Evaristo, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy, V.S. Naipaul, C.L.R. James, Salman Rushdie, John Agard, Stuart Hall, Ben Okri, Phyllis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince, amongst others – explore the Black British experience.

Empire Windrush conjures a unique and powerful journey through the British past, present and future, via the prism of the Black imagination.

UK: original edition W&N | 22 Jun. 2023 | HB 400 pages GBP 5.99 | 978-1399601917 | Society, Politics & Philosophy, Social Sciences, Multicultural Studies, Black Studies

empire windrush volume 1 onyekachi wambuEMPIRE WINDRUSH — Fifty Years of Writing About Black Britain
Onyekachi Wambu (ed.)

US edition: Hurricane Hits England – An Anthology of Writing About Black Britain
Preface by E. R. Braithwaite

Selected as a key title in the ‘Well Worth Reading’ national scheme promoting literature in libraries in 1998-99.
Contributors: Diran Adebayo, Jean Binta Breeze, Merle Collins, Bernardine Evaristo, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Victor Headley, CLR James, Hanif Kureishi, George Lamming, S.I. Martin, Dervla Murphy, Grace Nichols, Ben Okri, Caryll Phillips, Salman Rushdie, Sam Selvon, Wole Soyinka & others

SUNDAY TIMES – Wambu’s wide-ranging anthology celebrates the insemination, proliferation and cross-pollination of the black voice in British culture … passionate, funny and moving.
LITERARY REVIEW – This book should be installed in every school library in Britain.
FINANCIAL TIMES – Some of the best writing about the Black British experience.

UK: original edition Phoenix | July 1999 | PB 448 pages GBP | 978-0753808399 | Society, Politics & Philosophy, Social Sciences, Multicultural Studies, Black Studies
US: original edition Continuum | May 2000 | PB 448 pages USD 4.99 | 978-0826412614 | Biographies & Memoirs, Ethnic & National

eltonmayo psychology of pierre janet routledge bookblastTHE PSYCHOLOGY OF PIERRE JANET
George Elton Mayo

Pierre Janet (1859 – 1947) is considered to be one of the founders of psychology, and pioneered research in the disciplines of psychology, philosophy and psychotherapy. Janet’s most crucial research, particularly in the subjects of ‘dissociation’ and ‘subconscious’ – terms coined by him – is explored in this book, first published in 1952. As Janet did not publish much in English, these notes provide guidance on such areas of study as hysteria and hypnosis, obsessive thinking and the psychology of adaption. Elton Mayo’s comprehensive collection is an important guide for any student with an interest in the history of psychology, psychopathology and social study, and Janet’s revolutionary work in the field.
George Elton Mayo, the psychologist, industrial researcher and founder of the Human Relations movement, is known in particular for The Hawthorne studies which examined the effects of social relations, motivation and employee satisfaction on factory productivity. His archive is housed at Harvard Library

UK: original edition Routledge Revivals | 19 Aug. 2013 | HB 144pages GBP | ‎978-0415730228 | Society, Psychology, Social Sciences, Human Resources & Personnel Management

Amazon US: Books by Elton Mayo

xcites new french fiction edited georgia de chamberet bookblastXCiTés – The Flamingo Book of New French writing
Georgia de Chamberet (ed.)

Contributors: Frédéric Beigbeder, Tonino Benacquista, Marcel Desailly, Agnès Desarthe, Virginie Despentes, Marie Desplechin, Ilan Duran Cohen, Michel Houellebecq, Mathieu Kassovitz, Mounsi, Abdourahman Waberi & others.
Translators: Boris Belay, Steve Cox, Michael Dash, Christine Donougher, Paul Hammond, Will Hobson, Ruth McConnel,William Rodarmor, Brad Rumph, Ros Schwartz.

STRAIGHT NO CHASER – The perfect Eurostar read.
INDEPENDENTFrench society is diverse, richly multi-cultural, and the writing in this collection represents some of that diversity. If a writer is clearly wonderful — Waberi (originally from Djibouti) or Mounsi (Algerian) — then we want more. The last three inclusions — scenes from Mathieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine, a piece on the house music scene by DJ Tov and an interview with Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly — illustrate the point of this kind of new fiction which is to question traditional modes of publishing. The French are tired of their image.
THE FACE – A collection of short stories by French writers exposing their country as a hotbed of sexual adventure, racial tension and club bedlam. Frédéric Beigbeder’s Trashed sees lives saved in a chic Parisian club; Virginie Despentes screws bald men in Fuck Me and in Haiku Marie Desplechin exposes phoney liberalism on a blind date with a black man. Extracts from Michel Houellebecq’s novel Whatever and the screenplay to La Haine lend gritty gravitas.
SUNDAY GLASGOW HERALD – French writing in translation by a new generation which aims to smash the stereotypes.

HarperCollins | Trade PB July 1999 | buy now | 288 pp GBP 14.99 | 978-0002259392 | PB March 2000 | buy now | 288 pp GBP 6.99 | 978-0006551911 | Literature & Fiction, Short Stories & Anthologies

mounsi bookblast agencyTHE DEMENTED DANCE

Translated by Lulu Norman
Awards: Prix Malek Haddad – Fondation Nourredine Aba ; Prix France-Maghreb Afrique-Méditerranée ; Prix Radio-Beur ; Inaugural 3AM Good Sex Prize 2004

TIME OUT (Book of the Week) – The Demented Dance (La Noce des Fous) was first published in 1990, predating Irvine Welsh and the ‘keeping it real’ writing boom that came after … It’s easy for the comfortable reader to make a fetish of others’ deprivation, but this book demands more from its audience. What elevates The Demented Dance above similar stories is the interior life of the narrator. Even as he is written off by his teachers, Tarik remains aware of his own oblivion, thereby keeping himself alive. And the ending is a shock, an undeserved but somehow inevitable fate … For reference, think La Haine think the Cités — the concrete Parisian suburbs we only hear about when there’s rioting. Nowadays it’s hard to refer to anyone as an ‘outsider’ without instantly reducing their difference to a brand. So check out Mounsi’s writing for yourself: it’s a true lesson in walking in another’s shoes.
HARRIETT GILBERT, BBC WORLD SERVICE – Mounsi is an extraordinary French novelist … In his novel The Demented Dance, Mounsi uses almost mythic language, imagery and rhythms to tell the essentially brutal story of young Tarik struggling to survive among the ugly shantytowns, immigrant outskirts, wasteland and tower blocks that circle the Paris of tourist brochures.
PUBLISHING NEWS – A sort of Algerian Trainspotting.

original edition : Blackamber Books | January 2003 | PB 250 pages GBP 5.99 | 978-1901969160 | Fiction, Europe

tree of talkingUNDER THE TREE OF TALKING — Leadership for Change in Africa
Onyekachi Wambu (ed.)

Contributors: Chinua Achebe, Taddy Blecher, Jean Bosco Butera, Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Martha Chinouya, Chinweizu, Eva Dadrian, Wangui wa Goro, William Gumede, Parselelo Kantai, Susan and Juliet Kiguli, Ali A. Mazrui, Kimani Ngoju, Ndidi Nwuneli, Marianna Ofosu, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza. Onyekachi Wambu provides an introduction and a chapter on Africa and China.

Onyekachi Wambu and 18 distinguished thinkers and leaders reflect on the failure of leadership at all levels in large parts of the continent, and propose positive solutions to inspire a new generation of African leaders. Effective and inspiring leadership at all levels is increasingly recognised to be the key to positive social and political change. Under the Tree of Talking testifies to hope on the horizon for African societies.

The Rt Hon. NEIL KINNOCK – I firmly recommend this strong volume of essays by a wide range of African writers – some are very established authors like Ali Mazrui and Chinua Achebe and others are new young voices. Two features of this book make it truly different and important: first, the theme of leadership which it addresses is a vital consideration for African development that is led by Africans. Second, it is a book about Africa which – unlike most books about the continent – is written by Africans … If you take this book, if you absorb what it says, you will join me, I’m sure, in being enlightened and encouraged by the candour, constructiveness and courage of the authors. ‘Under the tree of talking’ there is knowledge and wisdom to be found.
DIRAN ADEBAYO – A must-read for all those, global Africans and others, who care about the continent’s future. Wambu has assembled a great heavyweight cast to shed light on a matter that probably more than any other has affected Africa’s fortunes these last 50 years: leadership.
LORD LUCE – A very remarkable book [which] gives African views rather than European views on how they can and want to best solve their problems.

original edition: The British Council | September 2007 | PB 291 pages GBP 3.99 | 978-0863555862 | Society, Politics & Philosophy, Social Sciences, Human Geography, Developmental Studies

britains slave trade si martinBRITAIN’S SLAVE TRADE
S. I. Martin

Introduction by Trevor Phillips

THE TIMES – Three centuries before the abolition of the slave trade, an estimated 10 million Africans found themselves on ships bound for the New World. The records of such mass displacement, however, have remained un-researched until now. This account shows the forerunner of the Industrial Revolution as a source of great power and suffering; an influence on diet, language and the attitudes that prevail today.
THE GLEANER – Britain’s Slave Trade stands out as an outstanding presentation of Britain’s ugliest hours … highly recommended.
AMAZON.CO.UK – Europe has reaped the rewards whilst Africa has suffered the costs of the slave trade … S. I. Martin reveals how the slaving legacy extends to Britain’s politics, to the industrial and architectural heritage, to high street banks and to the genetics of the current population. He does not shy away from slavery’s shocking cruelty or from sensitive issues … Highly readable.

original edition: Channel 4 Books | 1999 | PB 192 pages GBP 3.99 | 978-0752272511 | History, Other Historical Subjects, Slavery

le foot bookblast agencyLE FOOT — The Legends of French Football
DJ Tov (ed.)

With an introduction by Irvine Welsh

Contributors: David Baddiel, Patrick Barclay, Will Buckley, Tam Dean Burn, Marcel Desailly, Charlie Hall, Amy Lawrence, Jean-Philippe Leclaire, Michel Platini, Ben Richards, Ian Ridley, Salman Rushdie, Irvine Welsh & others.
Translators: Philippa Bowe & Giles Smith, Georgia de Chamberet, Bernard Cohen, Jean Guiloineau, Olivier Michel, Fanny Pagniez & Lucio Mad.

IRVINE WELSH – Le Foot is as diverse as French sporting tastes and is of Platini or Zidane quality, brilliant interviews with both of those masters featuring in its pages. Yes it’s that excellent; it has the capacity to affirm, surprise and irritate. It’s also not afraid to stray from well-worn Media Central routes, as in Tam Dean Burn’s piece on Franck Sauzée … There’s something for everyone and the standard of writing is very high.
WATERSTONES ONLINE – With great dexterity and passion, the story of French football is vividly brought to life with this ambitious and impressive collection of disparate writers … the time is right for a book as relevant to the English Premiership as it is to passionate Latin land across the channel.
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT – A lively collection … there is much to enjoy in this Anglo-French venture.
OBSERVER – One of the more intriguing books amid the deluge of soccer literature.

original edition : Abacus | May 2000 | PB 298 pages GBP 5.99 | 978-0349112701 | Sports, Hobbies & Games, Football, European Leagues

daybreak into darkness rupert bogarde bookblast agencyDAYBREAK INTO DARKNESS — A True Story of Happiness and Heartbreak
Rupert Bogarde

Rupert Bogarde turned his back on the film industry and headed to France to renovate a 12th century chapel in the Pyrenees which he ran with his first wife as a holiday centre for young diabetics, until her disappearance in 1993, the basis of his memoir, <i>Daybreak into Darkness</i>. Today, he lives in Hampshire with his second wife, the pianist Sophie Roper-Curzon, and their five children. Rupert’s daughter, Jasmine a.k.a. Birdy, won a national music competition, UK IDOL, (Open-Mic), age 12. She is signed to Atlantic records and has sold over a million albums to date.

MAIL ON SUNDAY – Unsparing in its raw honesty.
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY – A story that lingers in the reader’s consciousness, haunting through its wider possibilities.
AMAZON.CO.UK – A powerful memoir about mental illness and the destruction of love … This is an extraordinary story, told with the immediacy of first-hand experience.

original edition: All Rights reverted to BookBlast Ltd by Macmillan in May 2016.

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