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Nov 1, 2020

short story collection ‘How To Gut A Fish’ and novel to Paul Baggaley at Bloomsbury. 

Sheila Armstrong’s

Both subtle and explosive, Sheila’s extraordinary debut collection of short stories takes us on a journey from normal to surreal in a single moment, from the universal to the deeply personal in the blink of an eye.

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Written with a rare confidence and an exceptional eye, Sheila examines the sudden bombs that go off in ordinary lives, the undercurrents of rage that lie deep in the soul. These stories move backwards and forwards in time, narrated by one lone voice and many, a collection that shapeshifts before the readers’ eyes, so that surprises are constantly revealed, layers gently peeled back to reveal something dark and hidden. Paul Baggaley, Editor-in-Chief at Bloomsbury, who secured the collection and novel for a high five-figure sum, was immediately captivated by Sheila: ‘We loved the extraordinary imaginative world she created in the stories. I found it difficult to think of writers to compare Sheila to, as her voice feels so fresh and unique. It is both compelling and unsettling, dark and humane. The greatest compliment I can give to the collection is that it does not feel at all like a debut and that it reminded me in different ways of the impact I felt reading the first collections of Angela Carter and Ian McEwan.’ Sheila’s short story collection will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021.

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