Posted on Leave a comment

The inspiration behind Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian

I’m so honored that my novel ONLY THIS BEAUTIFUL MOMENT is being published in the UK and Commonwealth by Little Tiger for many reasons, not least of which is that when I was growing up, I never thought a book that’s both this Iranian and this queer would ever be published, let alone that I would write it. This is in many ways a book about coming out of the shadows. My family, like many immigrant families, hid the secrets of their trauma from me. And perhaps learning from their example, I spent too many years hiding my queerness from them and from the world. What I found in writing this book is a firm belief that while our trauma can be passed down from generation to generation, so can our joy, our love, our loyalty, our poetry.

ONLY THIS BEAUTIFUL MOMENT is about three generations of men in the same Iranian family. Each of the Jafarzadeh men – Moud, Saeed and Bobby – tells the story of a teenage journey between Los Angeles to Tehran or vice versa. Because the novel takes place in the 1930s, the 1970s, and present day, it allowed me to dig into the complex connective tissue of history, and how we’re always carrying our history within us. It also allowed me to depict intergenerational grace and forgiveness. Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with western friends who wanted to cast my family and my culture as the villains of my story for not embracing my sexuality. My friends often spoke the language of American self-empowerment, which tells us that if someone doesn’t accept us as we are, we should bid them goodbye. I spoke the language of immigrant families, which taught me that family loyalty comes before everything else. I felt caught between two worlds for most of my life, and often still do, which is why I try so hard to unite those two worlds in my fiction. In bringing conflicting worlds and identities together on the page, I hope to inspire myself to keep bridge-building off the page, and to keep striving for unity and forgiveness in a world full of division and shame.

I hope readers of this novel will be similarly inspired, and that they see this novel as an invitation to engage in many of life’s biggest questions about where we are now and how we got here, and to come up with their own unique answers. And I also hope that readers who are interested in the novel’s depiction of political issues, such as anti-queer legislation and western intervention in the Middle East, come away with an appreciation for how issues they may view as purely political are deeply personal for families like the Jafarzadeh family. Just like Moud develops a deeper empathy for his father and grandfather by learning their stories, I hope this novel inspires readers to really take the time to get to know people’s histories, and develop a deeper empathy for others. We’re all carrying so much intergenerational joy, trauma, love, fear, loyalty, and only by recognizing our common humanity can we create the most beautiful moments.

Posted on Leave a comment

Acquisition Announcement: Something to be Proud Of – a vibrant coming-of-age story from Anna Zoe Quirke

Little Tiger has acquired a vibrant coming-of-age story from debut author Anna Zoe Quirke – winner of the Northern Writer’s Debut Award for YA Fiction 2022 and shortlisted in the PFD Queer Fiction Prize 2022.

Publishing in June 2024, Something to Be Proud Of is a joyful celebration of queer friendship and finding community – the perfect read for Pride month and beyond!

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world all-languages rights in Something to be Proud Of and a second standalone YA novel from Lucy Irvine at Peter Fraser and Dunlop Literary Agents for publication in June 2024. The second book will follow in June 2025. The cover for Something to be Proud Of is illustrated by Lucía Gomez Alcaide. Sophie Bransby, Designer at Little Tiger, acquired cover illustration rights from Will Drayson, Advocate Art.

Imogen Quinn is a chaotic bisexual with dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian, crushing stereotypes about autistic people. When she decides to put on a pride festival that’s accessible for everyone, she enlists the help of the openly gay captain of the football team, Ollie Armstrong.

Dealing with the fallout from his parents’ divorce, Ollie is initially hesitant. But it doesn’t take long for him to be swept up by Imogen’s passion, and he’s not the only one. Joined by the (infuriatingly perfect) head girl, musicians, an artist and a star baker – a dream team soon assembles to help plan pride and tackle injustices in their school and beyond. You’d better listen out – they’re getting ready to make some noise.

Packed full of fun, forever friendships and fighting back, this YA debut is perfect for fans of I Kissed Shara Wheeler, Gwen and Art are Not in Love, Feel Good, Heartstopper and Not My Problem.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor said:

Something to be Proud Of truly is something to be proud of. Anna has written an authentic coming of age story with a strong voice, great characters and an insightful look into gender and sexual identity and neurodiversity, and how we could and should be more inclusive as a society. With friendship at the heart of the story, laugh-out-loud dialogue and a gorgeous slow-burn romance, readers are in for a treat. 

 Anna Zoe Quirke said:

 With all its hope, rage, and an entire cast of queer and disabled characters, Something to be Proud Of is the story I both really needed and wanted to write. Imogen and Ollie were excellent company and brought me so much joy while I was writing their story over the COVID lockdowns. I’m beyond grateful to Little Tiger and my agent, Lucy Irvine, for giving me the chance to hopefully pass some of that joy along to readers. I’m also so grateful to Lucía for the beautiful cover that perfectly captures the Imogen and Ollie that have existed in my brain for years!

Lucy Irvine said: 

The title says it all, really – I could not be prouder of Anna and their incredible story of friendship, community and activism. Imogen and Ollie stole my heart from their very first chapters, and I hope that all readers will see themselves within this cast. Delighted that Something to be Proud Of has found a home with Mattie and the brilliant Little Tiger team.

Little Tiger will publish Something to be Proud Of on 6th June 2024.

Anna Zoe Quirke (she/they) is a queer and neurodivergent writer and librarian from Lancashire. Her favourite thing to do is to write stories about chaotic queer people doing their darn best and finding the people who love them because of who they are and not in spite of it. Something to be Proud of is their first novel.

Author social media handles

Instagram: @annazoequirke

Twitter: @annazoequirke