We are thrilled with the news that Penguin Michael Joseph has acquired Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame, the “heartwarming and uplifting” début novel, and a second untitled novel, from début author Olivia Ford.

Olivia was longlisted for the inaugural Women’s Prize, Curtis Brown and Curtis Brown Creative Discoveries: writer’s development programme in 2021. Each of the longlisted authors received a bespoke, two-week online Discoveries Writing Development Course and 12 longlisted writers from 2021 and 2022 have gone on to gain literary agent representation. Olivia is the first to get a publishing deal!

Olivia’s novel, Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame, is scheduled for release in hardback and e-book in early 2024, and follows 77-year-old Jennifer Quinn, who wins a spot as a contestant on primetime TV show “Britain Bakes”. After being whisked into an unfamiliar world of cameras and timed challenges, a secret from her past begins to resurface.

Senior commissioning editor Rebecca Hilsdon at Penguin Michael Joseph said: “I instantly fell in love with Jennifer, Bernie and every page of this beautifully written novel. This book is an ode to love, friendship, family and, of course, cake. It’s a celebration of growing older and how we preserve memories through recipes. It is the perfect coming-of-old-age tale. Olivia is an incredible talent, and we are so thrilled to be welcoming her to PMJ.”

Hear what the Discoveries writer’s programme taught Olivia:

Olivia said: “I am very close to my grandparents and the novel was, at its heart, inspired by their relationship; both the joy and fragility of a lifelong love. That, and those precious family recipes that outlive even the people who wrote them! Working with my agent Lucy Morris to tell Jennifer Quinn’s story has been the greatest privilege, and I am overjoyed that it has found such a wonderful home in Penguin Michael Joseph with Rebecca.”

Lucy Morris at Curtis Brown describes the novel as “a triumph” and “a celebration of longevity with an unforgettable heroine.” “I am thrilled that Olivia has found such a passionate publishing team in Rebecca and PMJ,” she said.

Congratulations Olivia! We can’t wait to read Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame.