News | Tuesday, 16th July 2013

Creative Writing graduate lands international contract

First novel picked up by publishing house

Image for Creative Writing graduate lands international contract

A MANCHESTER Metropolitan University graduate has bagged an international publishing contract for his first novel.

Graeme Shimmin, who graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School last year, will see his novel A Kill in the Morning published by Transworld next year.

The manuscript was picked up following Graeme’s nomination for the Terry Pratchett Award.

The Manchester-based writer said: “I didn’t win the prize, but afterwards one of the judges who was an executive editor at Transworld said he would be in touch.”


“I wondered if it was really going to happen – a week doesn’t seem that long, but it’s different when you’re sitting by the phone!” he continued.

“The whole awards ceremony was quite surreal – when you’re a struggling author to suddenly be surrounded by a lot of high profile publishers for whom publishing books is completely normal, that feels quite weird.”

A Kill in the Morning, which Graeme completed for his degree, is set in 1955, in a world where the Second World War ended in 1941 after the combatants signed a peace treaty.

Graeme said: “It’s set in an alternate history where the Second World War doesn’t happen the way it actually did, resulting in a Cold War between Britain and Germany. This book is a bit more reminiscent of Ian Fleming, but I’m also a big fan of John le Carre, Len Deighton, all the classics.”

Added credibility

Graeme was halfway through writing the book when he enrolled at the Manchester Writing School, but said that studying at the university helped him to focus on and sell his work, although he admits that it also takes “a bit of luck” to get your book seen by the right people.

He said: “I’ve been a full time writer for 10 years, but never really got very far with it, which is partly why I did the MA.

“It gives you credibility and helps you know how to approach people – with the first book I wrote I sent out covering letters but I didn’t have any credentials.

“The MA gives you something that makes you stand out from the crowd. It also gives you space to work on your book.”

Free stories

In addition to the forthcoming novel, Graeme sends subscribers to his mailing list a free short story every month. These can be subscribed to via

He is also hoping that there will be an opportunity to write a sequel to A Kill in the Morning.

Graeme is the latest in a long line of successful graduates from the Writing School, including Liz Kessler, author of the Emily Windsnap series, and others.

More news