Meet The Observer Debuts: Jessica Moor & Tom Lamont - Part of Summer Derby Book Festival


Date: 4.50pm - 5.40pm

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Meet The Observer Debuts: Jessica Moor & Tom Lamont - Part of Summer Derby Book Festival
Derby College
DE24 8JE

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Every year The Observer publishes their list of Ten Debut Novelists - and each year we try to include one or more in our Festivals, bringing you the very best in new writing.

This year we have two authors: one who was on the list in 2020 - not the best year to bring out your first novel and the other is from the 2024 list.

Jessica Moor:

Jessica Moor (2020) publishes her second novel - a blistering, heart-wrenching story of complicity and atonement, delving into one nurse's experience of the little-known history of conversion therapy and the heart-breaking betrayal of the AIDS crisis.

March 2020. Annie is alone in her house as the world shuts down, only the ghosts of her memories for company. But then she receives a phone call which plunges her deeper into the past.

1959. Annie and Rita are student nurses at Fairlie Hall mental hospital. Working long, gruelling hours, they soon learn that the only way to appease their terrifying matron is to follow the rules unthinkingly. But what is happening in the hospital's hidden side wards? And at what point does following the rules turn into complicity - and betrayal?

1983. Annie is reeling from the loss of her husband and struggling to face raising her daughter alone. Following a chance encounter, she offers a sick young man a bed for the night, a good deed that soon leads to another. Before long, she finds herself entering a new life of service - her home a haven for those who are cruelly shunned. But can we ever really atone?

Tom Lamont:

Boy-made-good Téo Erskine is back in the north London suburb of his youth, visiting his father - stubborn, selfish, complicated Vic. Things have changed for Téo: he's got a steady job, a brand-new car and a London flat all concrete and glass, with a sliver of a river view.

Except, underneath the surface, not much has changed at all. He's still the boy seeking his father's approval; the young man playing late-night poker with his best friend, unreliable, infuriating Ben Mossam; the one still desperately in love with the enigmatic Lia.

Lia's life, on the other hand, has been transformed: now a single mum to two-year-old Joel, she doesn't have time for anyone - not even herself.

When the unthinkable happens, Joel finds himself at the centre of a strange constellation of men - Téo, Vic, Ben - none of whom is fully equipped to look after him, but whose strange, tentative attempts at love might just be enough to offer him a new place to call home.

Jessica and Tom will be in conversation with one of our most popular interviewers, novelist and former Festival Trustee Sarah Ward.

Kindly sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

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