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Footnote Press acquires first fiction title from debut novelist Soula Emmanuel

Footnote Press has acquired Wild Geese, the ‘luminous’ debut novel from Madeleine Milburn Mentee, Soula Emmanuel.

The publisher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Olivia Maidment at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. This is the first fiction title to be published by the press which launched in June this year.

Wild Geese tells the story of Phoebe Forde, an Irish trans woman living in Scandinavia. Overeducated and underpaid, Phoebe is finally settling into her new life when she unexpectedly reconnects with her first and only girlfriend from before her transition, igniting memories she thought she’d left behind. Set over a single weekend, Wild Geese is an intimate and moving story about old flames, old lives, the comfort of home, and the desire to start again somewhere else.

Consulting Editor Candida Lacey said: “Soula writes with such intensity and insight –her pitch-perfect prose pulls you in to the story and delivers the profound emotional as well as geographical landscapes that stay with you long after you close the book. By charting the many dislocations and relocations – both internal and external, the encounters, accidents, memories and multiple layers of loss – and love – that constitute a life, Wild Geese aligns seamlessly with Footnote’s mission to explore expansive and eclectic interpretations of migration, identity and marginalised knowledge and experience. This is a work that will hopefully help many others navigate and embrace their own differences, their own private ‘pool of shared grief’, as will the reminder of the redeeming power of being known and accepted by a friend.”

Soula Emmanuel commented: “Wild Geese is a novel about so many things I was eager to write about: loss, hope, second chances, redemption, friendship, love, owning your body, and feeling like you don’t quite belong anywhere. It’s a little bit zen and a little bit daft, and I’m so very proud of it. I’m delighted Candida, Vidisha and the fabulous team at Footnote have put their faith in me to take it forward to publication, and with the hard work my agent Liv Maidment and everyone at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency has done to get me to this point.”

Soula Emmanuel was born in Dublin to an Irish mother and a Greek father. She attended university in Ireland and Sweden, graduating with a master’s in demography which she likes to think inspired her interest in society’s outliers. She has written for IMAGE magazine, Rogue Collective and the Project Arts Centre, and has had fiction published by The Liminal Review. She was longlisted for Penguin’s WriteNow programme in 2020, took part in the Stinging Flyfiction summer school in 2021 and was a participant in the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency’s mentorship programme for 2021-22. She currently lives on Ireland’s east coast.