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Hi ,

We are living through the most extraordinary times, and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones, or whose livelihoods are threatened. All we can do is stay home, wash our hands, and do our best to keep healthy. This, too, will pass. 

Times in publishing (as in many industries) are pretty tough. You might assume that this is the perfect time for books, and indeed many people are reading more than ever before, but it's not quite that simple. Some distribution warehouses are unable to operate safely, many foreign borders are closed, and bookshops are closed. Even the large online retailers are struggling to meet demand. I've had a number of emotional conversations with some of my foreign publishers this week, particularly in countries where the e-book market is very small. 

Many publishers have postponed books that were due out this month or next, and I can absolutely understand their reasoning. It's heartbreaking to work on a book for a year or more - whether as the author or as part of the wider team - only for it to sink without a trace. 

The paperback of After the End is due out very soon, prompting a series of conversations with my own publisher. With bookshops closed and my tour cancelled, is there any point in bringing it out now?  

We think so. Readers need books, and it would be unfair on those of you who have already waited a long time for the paperback of After the End, to expect you to wait even longer. Many independent bookstores have reacted swiftly to store closures and put their stock online, and they need your business more than ever before. Here in my book club, I'll be highlighting a different UK independent book retailer each month, working with them on our book club pick so that we can all do our bit to support the high street. More on this, below. 

Life chez Mackintosh has been busy over the last month. I've been supporting my own community by running a volunteer scheme for self-isolators, and by distributing food parcels. Together with Rob, I've been home-schooling our three children (and will never criticise teachers again...) and spent time whipping the garden into shape. Down in the field, Pete the goat is having to cope with some rather amorous rams, all three remaining hens are laying daily (thank goodness, because I'm baking every day), and I've fenced off a section to grow fruit. Place your bets on how long before Pete breaks in... 

Stay safe,

Clare x

The release you've been waiting for!

I am extremely excited to announce that After the End will be out in paperback in the UK on 28th May. (USA readers: I'll have news for you next month!)

"Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree.

With the consequences of an impossible choice threatening to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again."

After the End came out in hardback last summer and stayed in The Sunday Times top ten for seven whole weeks. It's had some great reviews from newspaper critics, book bloggers and other authors, but the people who really matter are YOU - I'd love to know what you think. If you've read it, please leave a review (Amazon is most useful) to help anyone who might be browsing. If you haven't, the link below is for Waterstones, but you can of course buy from an independent bookshop, from Amazon, or from supermarkets. 

Pre-order yours now
Join me on tour

Last year one of my favourite events was with Griffin Books in Penarth, South Wales (here I am with owner Mel Griffin and the beautiful colour coordinated flowers she gave me at the hardback launch). I'm delighted to be invited back for an online event on Wednesday 27th May, 8.00pm. I'm well practiced at online events (as you'll know if you've caught one of my Facebook Lives, or had me drop into your book club discussion via Skype!) and I promise you an entertaining, informative and uplifting evening, with lots of opportunity to ask questions. Tickets are £5.00, redeemable against book purchases.

Book your place here
Literary snippets
Word of the month


To build a nest

This is something my children are enjoying at the moment, with blankets and cushions making a reading den in the living room. I think I might join them... 

Dates for your diary

Real life events may be cancelled, but online events are flourishing! Here are a few to keep you busy.

30th April, 5th May & 13th May Writing workshops hosted by Scottish Book Trust

Harrogate International Festival have moved their archives online and helping me get my crime writing fix.

In case you missed it

I couldn't help but wonder how some of my favourite fictional characters would cope with lockdown.

I asked seven authors, including Ian Rankin, Milly Johnson and Peter James how their heroes are behaving. I hope you enjoy the distraction. READ HERE

Book club business
What we're discussing...

Discussions are about to begin in the Facebook group for The Doll Factory, by Elizabeth Macneal. Looking at the reactions in the group, I am so pleased I picked this to share with you all.  

Set in Victorian London, The Doll Factory is the gripping tale of a man with a dark obsession, and an aspiring artist at the beginning of her career. Filled with love, lust, art, jealousy, and historical grit, it's a thriller both heartbreaking and evocative.

"I would never have picked this book on my own. I normally hate the tense it's written in, but oh, would I have missed a gem."

"I loved this book!"

"It was different, ready for a modern day thriller now!"

Join the discussions on Facebook
What we're reading next...

Character driven and soaked in the surrounding landscapes, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is an evocative coming of age story, shaped by undone innocence and a small town torn apart by crisis.

For years, rumours of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

I have wanted to read this since its release and I'm really excited to share the experience with you.

It’s always hard to know which retailer to link to, as my book club members come from all over the world, and there isn’t room to list every possible online store. Instead, I’m going to partner with a different independent business each month, and I’d love you to order from them if you’re able to. Of course, you can still buy from other stores, from second-hand outlets and borrow from libraries (if they're open) - no judgement here! This month I’m teaming up with Bert’s Books, an online bookstore that was just about to break into bricks and mortar when Covid-19 hit. Until 20th May they're offering a 10% one-time discount for book club members on any book, using the code MACKINTOSH, so you can stock up on reading material! 

More than 15,000 of you receive my emails, and even if a tiny number of you order from Bert's Books, it'll make a big difference. 

However you come by your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing, I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Do let me know if there's an independent bookshop (currently operating online) you'd like us to work with next month.

Order from Bert's Books
How the book club works

If this month's book club choice appeals to you, then you are cordially invited to join our structured discussion in the book club Facebook group (hit the button below). We maintain a spoiler-free discussion until the 20th of each month, to allow everyone to finish the book.

I'm always keen to hear your views, so if you're not on social media, simply hit reply to email me directly. And, of course, there's nothing to stop you just reading on your own! 

Join the discussion on Facebook
April Book Club Winner!

I usually pick my monthly book club members myself, but this is your book club as well as mine, so I'm switching things up a bit. I'd love to hear your nominations for someone in the club who has cheered you up or introduced you to a now-favourite book. 

This month's winner is Linda Jefferies, nominated by Julia Spargo in the lovely email below. I've sent a copy of Where the Crawdads Sing to each of them (ordered from Bert's Books, of course!) 

"You may have seen that Linda offered to make bookmarks for people in exchange for a donation to the charity of their choice. When I was lucky enough to receive my parcel, she had made me not one but three beautiful book marks, and one was especially poignant because I said I run the Ox5 run every year dressed as a bee for the Oxford Children’s Hospital. I love my bookmarks, and the children’s hospital has an extra donation in its pot."

Over on Twitter

Here in the UK, Thursday evening's Clap for Carers (and key workers) has become a focal point of the week (and sometimes the only way to work out what day it is).  Here's one of our neighbours treating us to an impromptu concert after a clap earlier this month. (Click the link to watch and listen - it's well worth it, I promise). 

Clare Mackintosh Clare Mackintosh
View on Twitter

Treated to an impromptu street concert from my talented neighbours, after tonight’s #ClapForCarers. This is gypsy j…

89 See claremackint0sh's other Tweets
#ReadTogether whilst staying apart

Another fantastic online event this month has been Read Together, by Book Depository. They've curated an impressive schedule of authors reading snippets of their own or other author's books, to keep us entertained at home. You can watch mine here, and click the link above for more writers.

Emirates Lit Fest

With relationships well and truly put to the test under lockdown, it feels appropriate to share a panel I loved taking part in at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, discussing 'relationships under stress' alongside Esi Edugyan (Washington Black) & Tayari Jones (An American Marriage). The discussion lasts about an hour, with some insightful - and emotional - comments from the audience. 

Watch here
This month I'm...

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. A proper 21st century ghost story which I'm devouring again in paperback.


Quiz, ITV's dramatisation of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire cheating scandal. Cough.


My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Wow. Just wow.

That's it until next month. I can't wait to hear what you think of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. See you in May, and in the meantime - stay safe.
Clare x
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Clare Mackintosh

c/o Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency, London
United Kingdom

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