Mary Watson is from Cape Town and now lives on the West Coast of Ireland with her husband and three young children. Highlights of her adult writing career include being awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in Oxford in 2006, and being included on the Hay Festival's 2014 Africa39 list of influential writers from sub-Saharan Africa.
Taking in the trauma of enslavement and apartheid, Mary Watson’s Blood to Poison is a uniquely bold and gripping Cape Town-set thriller that melds contemporary life and history with a parallel magical city — a world of furious witches and practitioners of magic who hide in plain sight. A world in which a 17-year-old young woman harnesses her rage to transcend a family curse. Savannah’s curse has been passed through her family’s female bloodline for generations, originating with Hella, “who had been enslaved, forced to work for a cruel family. Her anger grew until one day, it exploded out of her”. Hella cursed the family to “die before you have fully lived.” And now one woman in every generation of Savannah’s family is destined to die young, with anger exploding from them in the months before they’re due to die. Some of Savannah’s aunts have noticed the rage rising in her, the tell-tale marks on her skin. And then she encounters the witches from the curse story that lives in her bones… Savannah’s furious fight to transcend the curse is visceral and ablaze with elemental power, and Blood to Poison strikes a perfect balance between showing rage as a form of resistance and telling a gripping story of self-discovery.
NOMINATED FOR THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019 SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS TEEN/YOUNG ADULT BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018 'Beautiful, eerie, dark and dreamy' MELINDA SALISBURY 'Watson's writing has the sort of poise rarely found in a debut' KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE 'Thrilling and otherworldly' SUNDAY TIMES Every winter, Wren Silke is chased through the forest in a warped version of a childhood game. The boys who haunt her are judges, powerful and frightening pursuers, who know nothing of her true identity. If they knew she was an augur, their sworn enemy, the game would turn deadly. But Wren is on the hunt, too. Sent undercover as an intern to the Harkness Foundation - enemy headquarters - her family's survival rests on finding a secret meant to stay hidden. As the enmity between two ancient magics reaches breaking point, Wren is torn between old loyalties and new lies. And trapped in the most dangerous game of her life. Part thriller, part love story, this captivating debut novel will leave readers spellbound.
An eerie, magical thriller from the author of The Wren Hunt, perfect for fans of Frances Hardinge and Emily Bain Murphy's The Disappearances Zara's family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green. Two months later, Laila's death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house? As Zara delves deeper into her sister's secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green ...
February 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Electrifying folkloric thriller Blending folkloric fantasy with contemporary romance, this immersive multi-layered novel heralds the arrival of a unique new voice in young adult fiction. Each Christmas, Wren is hunted in a twisted, tormenting re-enactment of an old game. But the village bullies don’t realise that Wren is part of the Augur family, formerly powerful kinfolk whose magical influence was all but obliterated by the Judges. When Wren is captured in the hunt and a boy claims a lock of her hair, she must become a spy in the house of the most powerful Judge of all. Straddling ancient Celtic mythology and the 21st century, the exhilarating storyline teems with tension as Wren lies, steals and searches her heart and soul while summoning up magic to save her family. The language is lyrical, the concept unique and, while comparisons are tricky to make, I’d recommend this highly to fans of Frances Hardinge’s thought-provoking fantasy. ~ Joanne Owen