Chris Hamilton-Emery has acquired British & Commonwealth Rights (including translations) from Annette Green Authors’ Agency for Bill Broady’s historical political novel, The Night-Soil Men. Salt will publish The Night-Soil Men as a Paperback Original at £12.99 on 15 June 2024.
Broady’s major work of fiction, nearly a decade in the writing, explores the origins and development of the Independent Labour Party – the working-class political movement founded in Bradford in 1893. Detailing the exploits, fortunes, and relationships of three central characters: passionate Fred Jowett, ruthless Philip Snowden (later, the Labour Party’s first chancellor), and the licentious and unforgettable Victor Grayson.
Spanning four decades, the novel covers the socialist foment and activism of fin-de-siècle Britain, the impact of the First World War and the changing landscape of the interwar years, as social change points forward to a new politics and the reinvention of Britain, despite fierce resistance from the establishment and its allies. And all punctuated with sex, comrades, hustings, art, dialect and copious points of order.
With cameos of every leading socialist of the age, this sweeping generational tale is thrilling, revolutionary, ribald and laugh-out-loud funny.
Bill Broady said: ‘I am delighted that the excellent Salt – surely the flagship of independent presses – are showing such faith in what is necessarily a long and densely-plotted novel. The early period of socialism might not strike you as a “sexy” subject, but it teems with character and incident, triumph and betrayal, humour and tragedy. It also provides a warning – and a promise – to our own troublous times. I hope that I might have done justice to this fascinating story.’
Chris Hamilton-Emery said: ‘This is an extraordinary, sui generis work, utterly unputdownable, utterly brilliant. A novel of this kind comes along perhaps once-in-a-lifetime for a publisher – I can say without any doubt that it is a masterpiece.’
Bill Broady lives and works in Yorkshire. His first novel, Swimmer (2000), tells the story of a girl coached to become a successful international athlete. His second novel, Eternity is Temporary (2006) is set during the 1976 heatwave. In This Block There Lives A Slag (2001) is a collection of short stories set around a residential block in Yorkshire. It won a Macmillan Silver Pen Award in 2002.