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Black & White to publish “gripping” influencer thriller by Hodgkin

Black & White Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, is to publish Life of Zanna by Emily Jane Hodgkin.

Clem Flanagan, editor at Black & White, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights (excl. Canada) from Hayley Steed, previously at Madeleine Milburn.

Life of Zanna, reminiscent of the real-life Caroline Calloway scandal, explores the lies behind the friendship between a murdered social media star and her ghost writer. 

Five years after the death of celebrity influencer Hannah “Zanna” Zagalo, Paige White, Zanna’s best friend and ghost writer, is asked to take part in a documentary on her tragic murder. Paige can only accept – she had made riches crafting Zanna’s online persona and struggles to maintain her lavish lifestyle now that her friend is gone.

But quickly after the film begins production, Paige receives a strange email, a note that just reads: “I know what you did.” Everything comes crashing to the ground as the secrets behind Zanna’s supposedly perfect life threaten to be exposed. Was Zanna’s death really all that it seems, or does someone have something to hide?

Perfect for fans of Ellery Lloyd and Louise O’Neill, Emily Jane Hodgkin’s debut novel delves behind the filter and exposes the power and privilege beneath the glossy veneer of influencer culture.

Emily Jane Hodgkin said: “The story of Paige and Zanna delves into the nuances of toxic female friendships, class, materialism, fame and desire, as well as navigating our relationships with ourselves against this backdrop, wrangling with self-acceptance and accountability. The minute I saw Paige and Zanna’s complicated friendship in my mind, I was compelled to get to know these intricate characters and follow their story through to the bitter end. I’m thrilled that now other people will get to meet them too, and enjoy exploring their messy, dark lives as much as I did.”

Clem Flanagan said: “The more I read Life of Zanna, the more I was mesmerised by Emily’s writing. She has an incredible knack for writing morally grey characters that you find yourself reluctantly empathising with, even as they perform the darkest deeds. This is thriller writing at its best – and Emily’s only getting started.”

Emily Jane Hodgkin is assistant editor and head of lifestyle at Daily Express US, and formerly influencer editor at She spent seven years working in digital lifestyle and has won internal awards for her work with Reach’s gender inclusive network, Reach Equality. She is passionate about women’s issues, and is excited to portray a story centring complicated female relationships. She was raised in Derbyshire and studied Fashion Journalism at the University for the Creative Arts before completing an MA in Newspaper Journalism at City University of London. She currently lives in New York City.

Life of Zanna will be published on 23 May 2024.