Introducing: Cathy Hayward

Agora Books is thrilled to introduce our newest author, and winner of our 2020 Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize, Cathy Hayward, and her formidable debut novel, The Girl in the Maze, to our list of incredible writers.

Traversing four generations of women torn apart by familial trauma, The Girl in the Maze explores the complex relationship and challenges involved in both mothering and being mothered.

While sorting through her deceased mother’s effects, Emma Bowen discovers a birth certificate for a child her mother gave birth to as a teenager – a sister she never knew about. The clues her mother left behind lead Emma on a journey from sleepy Sussex to rural Lancashire, and back to 1950s London where Emma is forced to confront her family’s darkest secrets.

Hayward says: The inspiration for The Girl in the Maze came when I was clearing out my late mother’s house five years ago. I didn’t discover anything which helped to explain our difficult relationship (and the one that she’d had with her own mother) although I wish I had. But writing the story was a form of therapy in itself. I’ve always been fascinated by books about family secrets and intrigue and am thrilled to have now signed with Agora. I can’t wait for people to read the story.

Cathy Hayward trained as a journalist and edited a variety of trade publications, several of which were so niche they were featured on Have I Got News for You. She then moved into the world of PR and set up an award-winning communications agency. Devastated and inspired in equal measure by the death of her parents in quick succession, Cathy completed The Creative Writing Programme with New Writing South out of which emerged her debut novel The Girl in the Maze about the experience of mothering and being mothered. It won Agora Books’ Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize 2020 and was longlisted for the Grindstone Literary Prize 2020.

When she’s not writing (or reading) in her local library, Cathy loves pottering in second-hand bookshops, hiking and wild camping. She lives in Brighton – sandwiched between the Downs and the sea –  with her husband, three children, and two rescue cats – one of whom thinks he’s a dog. 

The Girl in the Maze will be published in 2021 in eBook and paperback.

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