UK & Commonwealth rights to Damaris Young’s debut middle-grade book, The Switching Hour was bought at auction by Lauren Fortune at Scholastic in a two-book deal.

Due for publication in August 2019 the book is inspired by the landscapes and legends from Damaris’ childhood growing up in Southern Africa, telling the story of a girl called Amaya…

Never stay out after the Switching Hour… never let the outside in….

Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tau in a land suffering a terrible drought.  Every night, the doors must be locked at twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badoko, a creature that snatches children away to eat their dreams.  

Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness – a grief which consumes a person without them knowing why.   When Kaleb is taken by Badoko, Amaya must journey into the terrifying forest to find her brother before she forgets him.

A thrilled Lauren said of the deal: “The Switching Hour is a bewitchingly beautiful, spine-chilling story of courage, friendship and fears that come alive after dark… Damaris is an exceptionally talented storyteller and I knew this was a must-have book for our fiction list as soon as I opened the manuscript to find heroine Amaya hurrying home as the sun sets, the sky darkens and the Switching Hour falls like a stone. I was immediately running with her, rooting for Amaya to reach her home and lock the door tight. Page-turning, atmospheric, pacy adventure at its finest.”

Damaris was equally thrilled at the deal: “I’ve always had an overactive imagination. When I was younger, I would entertain my four siblings with tales of shape-shifting creatures that roamed the world at night. These stories became the inspiration for The Switching Hour, a novel about a dream-eating creature that awakens after dark. I knew from the moment I met the Scholastic team that they had the same vision for the book that I did and I’m thrilled to be working with them on my debut.”

Damaris is a middle-grade author who wrote The Switching Hour whilst on the Bath Spa MA.

She spent her childhood in Zambia where she was told local myths and stories which now influence her writing. She has since moved to Bristol where she works on building worlds and adventures for MG readers with strong friendships at the heart of them. She lives with her dogs and partner.