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Blink stitches together ‘seamless’ debut memoir from The Great British Sewing Bee’s Esme Young

Blink Publishing, a non-fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired Behind the Seams: My Life in Creativity, Friendship and Adventure, the quirky, charming memoir from The Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young.

Susannah Otter, publishing director at Blink, acquired UK, EU and Commonwealth excluding Canada rights from Ariella Feiner at United Agents on behalf of Matt Nicholls at United Agents.

To any self-respecting sewing fan, Esme Young needs no introduction. The diminutive judge of The Great British Sewing Bee has a sharp eye for a wonky seam, and an even keener eye for a good necklace.

Her life, in many ways, is the story of post-war Britain. Born in 1949, she spent her childhood mostly outside and very much unsupervised. She discovered sewing aged 7, and a passion was born. As a teenager, she made her way to London and Central St Martins, when her life truly began. Living in a squat with other young creatives, Esme made the most of the collective creative zeal of the ’70s and ’80s: watching Notting Hill Carnival with David Bowie, starting a clothing line called Swanky Modes with three friends and 50 quid each. The ’90s saw another career move, this one into costumes for films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Beach, before she moved onto the small screen herself.

A celebration of a creative life lived differently, Behind the Seams is a reminder that it’s never too late or too soon to pick up a needle and start stitching in a new direction…

Esme Young said: “Telling the story of my life has been an exciting but terrifying experience – making the bunny outfit for Renée Zellweger and later becoming a judge on ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ (GBSB) in my late 60s were both much easier. Who knows what’s round the corner? Many thanks to United Agents, Bonnier Books and the GBSB for their support, without them this wouldn’t have happened.”

Ariella Feiner said: ‘Esme’s memoir is a fascinating look at a life filled with countless wonderful stories and adventures. Sewing Bee fans are going to absolutely adore it.’

Susannah Otter said: ‘As a long-term Sewing Bee devotee, the chance to publish the wonderful Esme was totally irresistible. Her appetite for creativity and adventure is an inspiration to us all.’

Behind the Seams will be published in the UK and Ireland 14th April 2022 in hardback, audio, and eBook, with a special edition available at Waterstones.