James Gould-Bourn and Joanna Swainson talk Keeping Mum!

Today is the publication day of James Gould-Bourn’s brilliant debut Keeping Mum (Trapeze). It’s a heart-warming and uplifting story about a father and his mute son, coming to terms with loss and finding their way back to each other amidst hilarity and panda costumes. To celebrate it’s release, we gathered together questions from the people involved in the publication run-up including James’ editors in the UK and US, and the H&S team. Keeping Mum will be published in the US by Scribner under the title Bear Necessity on 4th August 2020.

Danny Malooley’s life is falling apart…

He’s a single parent with an eleven-year-old son, Will, who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash fourteen months ago. He’s being pursued by a dodgy landlord for unpaid rent and he’s just lost his job. Struggling to find work, and desperate for money, Danny decides to do what anyone in his position would do.

He becomes a dancing panda.

After seeing street performers in his local park raking it in, he spends his last fiver on a costume… but the humiliation is worth it when Will finally speaks to him for the first time since his mother’s death. The problem is Will doesn’t know that the panda is in fact his father, and Danny doesn’t want to reveal his true identity in case Will stops talking again.

But Danny can’t keep up the ruse forever…

James Gould-Bourn is a novelist and screenwriter from Manchester, England. After several years working for landmine removal organisations in Africa and the Middle East, he decided to enrol on the Faber Academy’s six-month Write a Novel course in London. Since then he’s been busy working on his debut novel, which will be published in spring 2020.