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Charlotte Mursell, Editorial Director at Orion Fiction, has made her first acquisition for the company with debut novel Careless by Kirsty Capes.

Debut novel Careless by Kirsty Capes @kirstycapes is an upmarket, timely, feminist story and a hyper-realistic account of the UK care system, Careless is a raw and big-hearted celebration of female friendship and enduring hope against all the odds. The book cuts through class, race, privilege and prejudice to shine a light on the realities of the care system, as well as a woman’s rights over her own body. ‘A coming-of-age story like no other’, the novel follows Bess, who is in foster care and pregnant at fifteen, and her friend Eshal, who is trying to break free of an impending arranged marriage, during a hot, oppressive summer in 1999. 

Kirsty, 26, works in marketing at HarperCollins. She was the HW Fisher Scholar at Curtis Brown Creative, chosen for the Penguin Write Now scheme, shortlisted for the TLC Pen Factor Prize 2018 and recently completed her PhD – which investigates female-centric care narratives in contemporary fiction – under the supervision of 2019 Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo. Kirsty is a care leaver herself and an advocate for reform to the UK care system and better representation for care-experienced people. 

Charlotte Mursell: ‘Every so often you read a book that knocks you sideways and changes the way you look at the world forever – and this is it. Careless wrapped me in its sticky, gritty clutches from the very first page and never let me go. Visceral, sharp and achingly funny, it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before. Kirsty is a phenomenal talent, I’m beyond thrilled that she has chosen Orion Fiction as her publisher and that we can share her story with readers around the world.’

Kirsty Capes: ‘I am ecstatic that Careless has found its home with Orion. The novel at its core is about how difficult, brutal and unforgiving life can be for teenage girls, especially when the odds are stacked against them. From my first conversation with Charlotte I knew she was the perfect editor for this story, as she so intuitively understood the experience I was trying to capture on the page. I'm looking forward to introducing readers to Bess with her help, as well as my agent Anwen, and the rest of the incredible publishing team at Orion Fiction.' 

Anwen Hooson: ‘A coming-of-age story like no other, Careless is as fresh as they come. Tonally, I was immediately reminded of Derry Girls – and Bess shot straight into my list of ‘Top 10 protagonists’. At 26, Kirsty is an immense talent, and I’m delighted she’s going to be published by Orion Fiction, who presented a stunning vision for the book.’

Careless by Kirsty Capes will be published in hardback in May 2021.

The Orion Publishing Group

Where every story matters.

The Orion Publishing Group is one of the UK’s leading publishers.  Our mission is to bring the best publishing to the greatest variety of people. Open, agile, passionate and innovative – we believe that everyone will find something they love at Orion.  

Founded in 1991, the Orion Publishing Group today publishes under six main imprints: Gollancz, the UK’s No1 science fiction and fantasy imprint; Orion Fiction, a heartland for brilliant commercial fiction; Orion Spring, home of wellbeing and health titles written by passionate celebrities and world-renowned experts; Seven Dials, for the very best commercial non-fiction, beautifully designed and produced; Trapeze for commercial fiction and non-fiction books that start conversations; and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, one of the most prestigious and dynamic literary imprints in British and international publishing.  

The Orion Publishing Group is part of Hachette UK which is a leading UK trade publishing group.


Orion Fiction is a heartland for brilliant commercial fiction and many of our authors have been with us since our inception. Our ambition is to take brand authors to even greater heights, to build authors with a growing platform in a creative and strategic way, and to launch new authors with impact beyond that first book. We publish for a broad audience and our authors include Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Maeve Binchy, James Lee Burke, Maureen Lee, Erica James, Veronica Henry, Ben Kane, Victoria Aveyard, Julie Cohen and Libby Page.



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