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Juno Dawson and Alex T. Smith Team Up For Grave Matter


The promise of Gothic delights emerge just in time for Halloween as Juno Dawson and Alex T. Smith team up for YA thriller, Grave Matter.

Making their debut on the Barrington Stoke list, reigning Queen of Teen Juno Dawson and prize-winning illustrator Alex T. Smith collaborate on a chilling tale of love, death, black magic and what follows when they all come together. A contemporary take on the Gothic genre, Grave Matter’s deliciously stylistic tone – in both prose and illustration – promises an atmospheric read that can be devoured regardless of the season.


A dark YA tale of the supernatural; Grave Matter by award-winning UKYA author Juno Dawson, illustrated by acclaimed artist Alex T. Smith to Barrington Stoke

Grave Matter by Juno Dawson, illustrated by Alex T. Smith

Sample illustration © Alex T. Smith, 2016 – jacket image to be released

World rights to Juno Dawson’s Grave Matter, illustrated by Alex T. Smith, were acquired by Barrington Stoke Editor, Emma Hargrave, directly with the author, and from Caroline Thomson at Arena Illustration on behalf of the artist.

Just in time for Halloween, Barrington Stoke announces a chilling tale of love that reaches beyond the grave. Contemporary and compelling, Grave Matter sees Juno Dawson weave a chilling Gothic tale of love, obsession and dark magic. The book represents a first YA outing for beloved Claude creator Alex T. Smith, who debuts a stunning black and white illustration style in the finest Gothic tradition.

Since the crash, since Eliza died, Samuel can’t find a way to go on. His need to see his love again is overwhelming, and so he ventures into the strange, terrifying world of Hoodoo. Samuel is about to make a pact with powers he cannot comprehend, let alone control…

Grave Matter by Juno Dawson, illustrated Alex T. Smith, will be published in October 2017, joining Barrington Stoke’s new bespoke collection of YA titles in beautiful, collectible and super-readable editions (£7.99 paperback).

Mairi Kidd, MD of Barrington Stoke, says of the new acquisition:

“We’ve long been fans of Juno and Alex at Barrington Stoke and to work with both of them on one stand-out YA title is incredibly exciting. We absolutely love illustrated books for older readers; there is a really special alchemy to brilliant storytelling matched with stunning illustration. Grave Matter is a seriously gorgeous book.”

Juno Dawson adds:

“I first asked Alex if he’d like to collaborate on a ghost story about two years ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and I’m so thrilled it’s all come together for Barrington Stoke. I think together we’ve created a gorgeously gothic, evocative book that will be treasured, hopefully, for years to come.”

And Alex T. Smith says:

“I’m so delighted to be working on this book as it fulfils two of my long-held ambitions – to work with the wonderful Barrington Stoke and the fantastic Juno Dawson. Juno’s stylish and haunting text got me hooked immediately, and I devoured the entire thing in one sitting. I’m so excited to be bringing her work to life with my artwork and thrilled to be working with Barrington Stoke on this very special project.”

juno-dawson-c-joel-ryderAbout Juno Dawson: Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: Spot the Difference.

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, This Book is Gay. In 2016 a follow-up, Mind Your Head, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude magazine, Glamour magazine and the Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education. Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton.

alextsmith-website-portraitAbout Alex T. Smith: Alex graduated with a 1st Class Honours degree in Illustration in 2006 and began working on his first commission as he put his degree show up! Since then he has gone on to write and illustrate nine picture books to date, as well as illustrating other people’s texts, including celebrated authors such as Eva Ibbotson. Alex was the official World Book Day illustrator in 2014 and recent accolades include winning the UKLA Picture Book Awards 2016 for Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, and Children’s Book Winner of the World Illustration Awards 2016 for illustrating Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Alex is also the creator of the much-loved and bestselling Claude fiction series for early readers which have been published in over fourteen languages around the world. His eighth in the series, Claude: Going for Gold won the 5-9 year old fiction category of the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award 2016 and Claude is soon to be a TV star on Disney Junior with 52 episodes airing in 2017. When not working Alex enjoys doodling in his sketchbook, reading, people watching and eavesdropping.

He lives under the watchful eye of his little canine companions who are a constant source of inspiration to him.


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