From rat-infested basement to Washington Heat to the gorillas of Rwanda


All six of Sally Emerson's award-winning novels were recently reissued as Rediscovered Classics by Quartet Books.

The two dark love stories bestsellers Fire Child and Heat came first, then Second Sight and the bestselling Separation about the power of children, published in the USA as Hush Little Baby. 

Helen Dunmore commented, 'Welcome back to these dark, gripping and timeless novels.' Kate Saunders wrote that 'It is such a pleasure to see Sally Emerson's extraordinary and original novels introduced to a new generation.'

Broken Bodies, a 'clever mixture of thriller and passionate love story' with the story of Elgin's extraordinary wife and the Elgin marbles as the backdrop, and the chilling Listeners complete the set of six.

Travel Writer

Since 2003 she has been travelling all over the world for The Sunday Times, writing about the adventures of travel - to the Galapagos, to the gorillas of Rwanda, to the dead craters of Tanzania, and has won various awards for her work.


Emerson’s three recent anthologies of great poetry and some prose are about the three great subjects, birth, love and death: New Life, Be Mine and In Loving Memory. She has also compiled the hugely successful collection of poetry and rhymes for young children, The Nursery Treasury, and it is the dark wit and danger of so many of these rhymes which draws her attention. Jack and Jill may go happily up the hill but as in Emerson novels --note the theme of nursery rhymes in Separation - something bad can be about to happen at any moment. There is nothing bland about nursery rhymes.

Editor and journalist

Emerson was editor of the literary magazine Books and Bookmen. She began her career there as an editorial assistant in a rat-infested basement in London’s Victoria Street. At Oxford she edited Isis and continued her reviewing work and wrote for The Times. She won prizes including a Catherine Pakenham Award, the Vogue Talent Contest and the Radio Times Young Journalist of the Year. After university she was assistant editor of Plays and Players then editor of Books and Bookmen publishing early journalism by such future greats as Ian Hislop and Sebastian Faulks, while writing her first novel Second Sight

After the success of Second Sight she mostly concentrated on novels and screenplays. She has also written poetry which have appeared in various anthologies, including Richard Adams’s Occasional Poets and Daisy Goodwin’s Poems to keep you Sane.

Private Life

Daughter of a doctor and English teacher (who had worked in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park) who met at Cambridge, Sally Emerson is married and has two children, a journalist and a novelist. She spent three years in Washington DC 1989-1992, the inspiration for Heat and now lives mostly in London.