Julia Grigg

A first job on Vogue, arts, travel and food journalism didn’t cut it for Julia. Recruited as a writer by UNICEF, international development became her real career. Deployed to countries ranging from Azerbaijan through Zimbabwe, demanding communications moments included a coup or two, Rwandan genocide, Somali hostage-taking, an erupting volcano, Kosovo refugee exodus, the tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake. Reading about Jacopo Bassano’s dogs’ portrait on Le Figaro’s front page and intrigued, Julia dared to think of crafting fiction around the known facts. She began The Fortieth Part while on the Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA, from which she graduated with Distinction.

It’s June 1566. Challenged by art historian Giorgio Vasari to provide information for his forthcoming Lives of the Artists Part II, Francesco Bassano, 17, sets out to discover the story behind the commission for an unusual portrait painted by his father, Jacopo, many years earlier. As the how? and why? of the groundbreaking artwork – brilliantly depicting two hunting dogs – are revealed, Francesco’s quest becomes a journey of self-discovery, for him and for those he encounters. With the Venetian High Renaissance as its opulent backdrop, The Fortieth Part explores how true originality will always exact its price.