Weidenfeld and Nicolson Win Auction for Two Novels by Laura Barnett
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group, is delighted to announce the acquisition of THE VERSIONS OF US, and a second novel, by writer, journalist and theatre critic, Laura Barnett. Kirsty Dunseath, Publishing Director of W&N Fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth Rights excluding Canada from Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton in a hotly contested auction with six publishers bidding. THE VERSIONS OF US will be a major lead title for the imprint and will be published in hardback in June 2015.
In the USA, rights have been sold to Andrea Schulz at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in a pre-empt by Sally Wofford-Girand of Union Literary on behalf of Judith Murray. German rights have sold to Kindler/Rowohlt at auction, Aschehoug in Norway, Novo Conceito in Brazil, and there is an ongoing auction in Italy, with offers pending in France, Spain, and Denmark.
THE VERSIONS OF US is a highly accomplished debut novel about the choices we make and the different courses that our lives might follow. At its heart is a story about enduring love. Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge in 1958 when their paths first cross. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together, and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.
When THE VERSIONS OF US was first submitted to W&N the whole team read it immediately and were completely blown away by the quality and elegance of the writing and the accomplished, compelling storytelling.
The second novel to be published will be GREATEST HITS, the story of Cass Williams – the reigning queen of British singer-songwriting since the late Seventies – whose sudden disappearance from the music world two decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans.
Laura Barnett says: ‘I am so thrilled to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. In its fascinating sixty-year history, the imprint has published some of the writers I most admire - from Nabokov to John Irving and Alice Walker. Kirsty has an amazing track record as an editor, and I’m hugely excited about working with her and with the whole team.’
Kirsty Dunseath, Publisher of W&N Fiction says: ‘The moment I started reading this book I just knew it was something very special indeed. It feels so accomplished, so perfectly pitched and paced, the talent shines out on every page. The whole team here completely fell in love with Laura’s writing and we are absolutely thrilled to be publishing her.’
About the author:
Laura Barnett is a writer, journalist and theatre critic. She has been on staff at the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and is now a freelance arts journalist and features writer, working for the Guardian, the Observer and Time Out London, as well as several other national newspapers and magazines.
Laura was born in 1982 in south London, where she now lives with her husband, and studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University, and newspaper journalism at City University, London. Her first non-fiction book, ADVICE FROM THE PLAYERS - a compendium of advice for actors - is published in September 2014 by Nick Hern Books. She has previously published short stories, for which she has won several awards. THE VERSIONS OF US is her first novel.
Twitter: @laura_jbarnett • Website: www.laura-barnett.co.uk