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Eriu acquires Sparks of Bright Matter by award-winning radio documentary maker Leeanne O’Donnell

Eriu, the Dublin-based imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired Sparks of Bright Matter by debut author, award-winning radio documentary maker and podcast producer Leeanne O’Donnell.

Deirdre Nolan, publishing director of Eriu, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Sian Ellis-Martin at Blake Friedmann. 

Set in 18th century London and Cork, Sparks of Bright Matter tells the story of the last alchemist, Peter Woulfe. Torn between magical thinking and rational thought, Peter Woulfe seeks enlightenment, but instead he falls in love with the fascinating Sukie, is diverted by lust and embroiled in a dangerous Jacobite plot involving a mysterious book, the Mutus Liber, and a cat-and-mouse chase across London. 

Leeanne O’Donnell said: ‘The characters in Sparks of Bright Matter jumped into my heart and mind and insisted on having their stories told. They took me back to 18th Century London and even further back in time into the mythical landscape of West Cork. I had such fun resisting straight forward romantic plotlines and resolutions, going back and forth through time and following these characters the long way around through experiments in Alchemy, obsessive lust and the echoes of ancient family curses as they try to find out what really matters. I’m excited to have Sparks going out into the world so that readers can meet these characters and share in their painfully human, messy and joyful journeys.’

Deirdre Nolan said: ‘What an honour it is to be publishing this remarkable book by an Irish debut writer. It is sure to be loved by all fans of historical fiction, with its intriguing plot and fascinating characters. I was hooked from the first line.’

Sian Ellis-Martin said: ‘I’m so pleased that Eriu and Deirdre Nolan will be publishing Leeanne O’Donnell, especially at such an exciting time for the imprint. Sparks of Bright Matter is a book that sparkles with life and possesses a rare and numinous quality. I know readers will be completely entranced by Leeanne’s storytelling and her vibrant characters, as I have been.’

Leeanne O’Donnell was born in Dublin and now lives in an old farmhouse on the foothills of a mountain in West Cork. Leeanne started her storytelling career working in radio with RTE and BBC, and has made a number of award-winning documentaries for RTE’s Doc on One series.

Sparks of Bright Matter will publish on 11th April 2024 in hardback, eBook and audio.