Scribe acquires ‘poetic’ debut novel from former aerialist Matilda Leyser

Scribe has acquired a dazzling new debut novel, retelling the Persephone myth for a world in crisis. No Season but the Summer by Matilda Leyser imagines a world where the climate crisis has weakened the grip that Hades holds on Persephone, enabling her to claim an agency she has been denied for centuries; meanwhile, her mother Demeter struggles to regain and prove her power.

Praised by David Almond, author of Skellig as ‘precise, poetic, hard-edged, rhythmical. It seethes with life, and feels both ancient and brand new.’ Theodora author Stella Duffy has said: ‘In No Season but the Summer, our world is still dying, but it is putting up a hell of a fight as it does so, reminding us that we can fight too, and that fighting for our lives might start with listening to the earth.’

Publisher Molly Slight acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Laura Williams at Greene and Heaton. Of the book, Slight said: ‘I loved this novel from the very first pages, where Persephone pushes her way through a crack in the ground up to earth, only to find herself face-to-face with a group of activists, one of whom will soon show her that she has the power to make choices about her own life. Despite the characters’ mythical statuses, the dynamics between them are incredibly relatable and relevant to contemporary readers: the overbearing but well-intentioned mother; the obsessive and controlling husband; the rebellious young woman, yearning for more. Witnessing Persephone claim her agency gives this myth a new and satisfying ending that brings it squarely into the twenty-first century.’

Author Matilda Leyser said: ‘I am thrilled that my revisioning of the Persephone myth, in an era of climate crisis, is finally going to see the light of day, after ten years of my working on it, underground as it were. Scribe feel like an excellent fit for my novel, with their long-standing commitment to championing works on climate change, as well as their integrity, their passion for ‘books that matter’ and willingness to take a risk and print something out of the ordinary. My revisioning is out of the ordinary in that it is not only a passionate feminist retelling that celebrates female autonomy and power  - it also takes the bold leap of imagining the characters alive today. I dearly hope that readers will take that leap with me into a mythical reality. We are in unprecedented times which require epic and yet intimate stories of change for us to live by - I am delighted that No Season but the Summer can be one of them.’

Before writing her novel, Matilda Leyser trained as an aerialist, working up a rope, collaborating with dance and theatre companies, making her own work, and performing in diverse venues, including the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Royal Opera House. She has two children, and is the founder and director of an international movement for creative mothers and carers called M/Others Who Make. She is based in Sussex.

The book will be supported by a major publicity and marketing campaign, and proofs are available now.

For rights information, please contact Molly Slight at molly[at] For a publicity copy or information, please contact Aoife Datta at aoife[at]

No Season but the Summer

Spring and summer are my mother’s time, autumn and winter are my husband’s. What is left for me?

Persephone spends six months of the year under the ground with her husband, king of the dead, and six months on earth with her mother, goddess of the harvest. It has been this way for nine thousand years, since the deal was struck. But when she resurfaces this spring, something is different. Rains lash the land, crops grow out of season or not at all, there are people trying to build a road through the woods, and her mother does not seem able to stop them. The natural world is changing rapidly and even the…

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Matilda Leyser

Matilda Leyser read English Literature at King’s College, London and…

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No Season but the Summer

Matilda Leyser

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