New Writer Receives 3 Book Publishing Deal After Entering International Writing Contest

New Writer, Joanne Clague received a three book publishing deal after entering the International Writing Contest, Page Turner Writing Award in 2020.

Sheffield born and bred, Clague was inspired to write The Ragged Valley whilst researching her grandparents’ lives as file cutters in the city’s steel industry. Some 250 people, most of them working class inhabitants of the banks of the Loxley and Don rivers, perished in the disaster when the Dale Dyke dam burst its banks on a stormy night in 1864.
Joanne Clague says: ‘I stumbled on some information about the flood during a research trip to the Kelham Island museum and was amazed I had never before heard of it, especially considering what a huge blow it was to the town and the emerging steel industry.
‘It felt like an event lost in time, and I couldn’t stop thinking about those who had lost their lives in the flood, as well as the townspeople who had to live with the consequences.’
Millions of gallons of water were unleashed on the unsuspecting town near midnight on March 11, 1864. The flood thundered down the Loxley valley from Bradfield, destroying every mill, factory and dwelling on the banks of the river, reaching as far as Lady’s Bridge in the centre of town, the first bridge in its path to withstand the onslaught. Some victims were recovered from as far away as Doncaster.
‘I was surprised there seems to be no lasting monument,’ says Joanne, ‘although the history is there if you seek it out. There are markers, such as the plaque on the Malin Bridge Inn, a water line on a Kelham Island pub, and information boards in Bradfield, as well as a clob stone on the site of the old dam. In 1964 the Sheffield Star produced a centenary souvenir.
‘But by far the finest record of events is a contemporaneous account written by the editor of the Sheffield Times, Samuel Harrison, just a few months after the disaster, which I was lucky enough to obtain a reprint of.’
Joanne worked in print, radio and broadcast journalism in the north-west of England before becoming an author and is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She lives in the Isle of Man.

After reaching the 2020 Writing Award Shortlist and coming second in the 2020 Writing Award, Joanne Clague found a literary agent who sold her book to Canelo publishers with a three book deal!

Jo's first book The Ragged Valley is available to order in eBook or paperback from every bookshop and can be found online here. Book 2 in the Sheffield Sagas is out on November 3.