Auction for Moses McKenzie’s literary debut novel

Moses McKenzie

​Many congratulations to 22-year-old Moses McKenzie, whose debut novel has just been sold to Wildfire in a strongly contested auction. For further details see extract from press release below:

“Wildfire has won a three-publisher auction for a “staggering” coming-of-age story from 22-year-old debut novelist Moses McKenzie in a two-book deal.

Senior commissioning editor Ella Gordon acquired world rights to An Olive Grove in Ends from Anne-Marie Doulton at the Ampersand Agency. It will be a lead hardback launch for Wildfire in spring 2022.

An Olive Grove in Ends is the coming-of-age story of Sayon Hughes, a young black man trying to navigate life in contemporary Bristol. He longs to build a better future for himself and his girlfriend, Shona, but is continually pulled back into a cycle of crime by his loving but lawless family. One night, Shona’s charismatic pastor father witnesses an altercation involving Sayon and his cousin, in which a young man is killed. Soon the pastor begins to exert his own hold over Sayon, and Sayon finds his loyalties torn. Is it possible to break free of his family and his past?

McKenzie lives in Bristol and is of Jamaican heritage. Having graduated last summer with an English degree, he has been working as a tutor to secondary-school pupils while he writes his second novel, which is set in Bristol during the 1980 St Paul’s riots.

He said: “An Olive Grove in Ends is the deconstruction of the environment in which I was raised, from the love and community to the ill-fated prayers and dreams deferred. I wrote this novel for those of us who have never seen ourselves in literature.”

Ella Gordon said: “It’s staggering to me that a voice like this belongs to someone so young. Moses’ mastery of language is stunning, and his writing has this mythical, lyrical quality that is completely transportive. I believe so deeply in Moses and his exceptional talent, and I know he’s going to do great things. Watch this space.”

Doulton added: “Editors were united in praise for his distinctive, confident style and in recognising an astonishing new talent. I’m proud to be playing a part in launching the career of this remarkable young writer.”