One of my favourite things to do at the beginning of each year is research forthcoming books. This might involve browsing the websites of authors I love, or going through publishers’ catalogues — which are available online for anyone to peruse. Sometimes there are only the whisperings of a new book. We can expect a new Ali Smith title in the summer, but the only information available so far is its title: Gliff. Other books already have covers, blurbs and endorsements. I find that it’s an uplifting way to get excited for the year ahead. Here are just a handful of books being published in 2024 that I’m looking forward to, along with suggestions of titles to reach for in the meantime, if you simply can’t wait.
The colder months are the perfect time for thrillers, so the first one I’ll mention is a book I’ve read an advanced copy of. Has Anyone Seen Charlotte Salter? is the latest book by husband and wife writing duo Nicci French. Set across two timelines, we follow the Salter family in the 1990s as their mother fails to turn up to their father’s birthday party, while, in the present day, two locals are starting a true crime podcast to try and solve the mystery of her disappearance. It’s published at the end of February, and if you’d like to read a backlist title of theirs before then, I’d recommend their book Losing You, a gripping tale set over just one day.
Two books on nature, set for publication in the first few months of 2024, are Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature and Rural Hours. Gathering, edited by Durre Shahwar and Nasia Sarwar-Skuse, is an anthology bringing together personal essays on climate justice, inherited histories, colonialism and outdoor pursuits by a host of female writers of colour, including poets Alycia Pirmohamed and Khairani Barokka. Rural Hours by Harriet Baker is a deep-dive into the lives of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Rosamond Lehmann, exploring how the writings of these interwar women were transformed by periods of countryside living.
A Sign of Her Own by Sarah Marsh is a debut novel I’m especially excited about. It’s a historical novel set around the invention of the telephone — more specifically, how its inventor Alexander Graham Bell betrayed Ellen Lark, a deaf woman, and her classmates, using them for his own personal gain. This is an Own Voices novel about being deaf in a world that prioritises the hearing experience. It’s out in February, and if you’d like a book on a similar topic in the meantime, I’d recommend The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus.
Neighbors and Other Stories by Diane Oliver is a classic collection, reissued by Faber & Faber this year. Her stories explore toxic racism and the human toll of activism in the American South. Oliver was killed aged just twenty-two in 1966, and this new edition has an introduction by the brilliant Tayari Jones.
Charco Press is publishing a new title by International Booker-shortlisted author Claudia Piñeiro. Time of the Flies, translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle, is a follow-up to Piñeiro’s novel All Yours, a Muriel-Spark-esque thriller about a woman called Ines who, upon witnessing her husband murdering his mistress, decides to clean up his mess and ensure he doesn’t get caught. You don’t have to read All Yours before reading this new title, but it’s a lot of fun, so I’d recommend you do.
Mongrel by Hanako Footman shifts between three intertwining narratives: Mei in Surrey; Yuki in London; and Haruka in Tokyo, delving into themes of isolation, motherhood and desire. We can expect a new title from Tracy Chevalier in September: The Glassmaker is a generational story spanning hundreds of years, set in Venice, which begins with a defiant daughter who creates glass in secret to save her family. Mysterious Setting by Kazushige Abe, translated from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich, follows Shiori, a girl who believes she’s destined to sing, even though she can’t hit the right notes. Travelling to Tokyo at the age of eighteen, she’s taken advantage of by her friends, before being given an absurd opportunity to take revenge on the whole world.
Summer 2024 sees new titles from two of my favourite authors. My Good Bright Wolf by Sarah Moss is her latest nonfiction, and the book’s press release tells us it’s “a memoir about thinking and reading, eating and not eating, about privilege and scarcity, about the relationships that form us and the long tentacles of childhood.” If it’s anything like her previous memoir Names for the Sea, which detailed her time living in Iceland, then we’re in for a treat. Finally, The Echoes by Evie Wyld is a novel about a ghost, set partly in Australia and partly in England. The premise is one that perhaps wouldn’t have immediately grabbed me but, in my eyes, Evie Wyld can do no wrong. If you haven’t read The Bass Rock I’m jealous that you can still experience it for the first time.
Are there any new books you’re looking forward to reading in 2024? Let us know in a comment below.
Jen Campbell is a bestselling author and disability advocate. She has written twelve books for children and adults, the latest of which is Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit. She also writes for TOAST Book Club.