Featured Debut Author: Sara Baume

This giveaway is sponsored by Penguin Random House

Sara Baume's debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a novel which has already received praise from Joseph O'Connor who calls it, 'a stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness.' The book was selected as the readers’ nominee for the Guardian First Book Award longlist and is on the Costa shortlist for the best debut novel, together with the shortlist for the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year award for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a wholly unconventional love story. It's both a portrait of loneliness and an examination of the restorative power of friendship. Ray is a misfit man aged fifty-seven, 'too old for starting over, too young for giving up'. When Ray, grieving for the death of his father, spots a re-homing advert for a dog named One-Eye, he jumps at the chance of companionship.

Both are accustomed to being alone, unloved, outcast – but they quickly find in each other a strange companionship of sorts. As spring turns to summer, their relationship grows and intensifies, until a savage act forces them to abandon the precarious life they’d established, and take to the road.

Read an extract

'Every so often a book comes along that is so perfect it takes your breath away, and leaves your heart hammering with the beauty of the writing and the sadness of the story. Baume's prose is full of wonder – inventive, poetic and dazzling, concerned with the smallest details of the natural landscape and the terrains of human emotion. Absolutely astounding' - Psychologies

'A fascinating portrait of the friendship a man develops with his dog and the companionship he also finds in books… The lyrical language is most alive when evoking landscape…Baume [has] a gift for inventive use of language…Baume succeeds in reawakening her reader's capacity for wonder…so much so that the book and its one-eyed dog became companions I was loathe to leave' - Observer

About the author

Sara Baume was born in Lancashire and grew up in Co. Cork. She studied fine art and creative writing and her short fiction has been published in journals such as The Stinging Fly magazine and the Dublin Review. She won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award and the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. She now lives in Cork with her two dogs.

Sara Baume's ten top tips for debut authors:

1. Position your desk within arm's reach of a single-pole light switch. Flick it nine times before every sentence, eleven times after.

2. Steer well clear of the f5 key. (It is cursed.)

3. Eat only foods which begin with the same letter as your working title. (Try not to change working title according to appetite.)

4. Never pass a stationary shop without going inside. (There amongst the empty pages and sharpened pencils you will find solace.

5. Get a goldfish. (It will remind you of how productive you are.)

6. Formulate a mantra a la Jack Torrance in The Shining. (In order that you will always have a sentence to type.)

7. Seek out and select a talisman. (Preferably with the face of a monotreme and lightweight enough to be taped to the lid of your laptop.)

8. Grow your hair. (It forms a protective shield around your brain cells.)

9. Tell no-one you are trying to write a book. (Claim to be playing electronic solitaire instead.)

10. Plant a pluviometer in your lawn/balcony/windowsill. (This is the most accurate means by which to measure success.) 


If you want to review Spill Simmer Falter Wither, apply for one of 50 free copies!

Fill in the form below to apply for your free copy. Don't forget, if you receive a copy of this book, we do ask that you tell us what you thought of it in the reviews section or on the discussion thread.

We'll email all those who have been allocated books once the giveaway has closed (on Monday 2nd December). 


Last updated: almost 3 years ago