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Headline acquires Levy
01.01.70 | Katie Coyne
Headline Review’s Jane Morpeth has acquired a "long-awaited" novel by award-winning author Andrea Levy for a six-figure sum through agent David Grossman.
The Long Song is Levy’s follow-up to her fourth book, Small Island, which has sold nearly 690,000 copies since its 2004 publication, according to Nielsen BookScan, and has won the Orange Prize, the Orange Best of the Best, the Whitbread Novel Prize and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. The Long Song will be published as a hardback, priced at £18.99, next February.
Morpeth, deputy m.d. and publisher, said the new title "delivers the same extraordinary impact" as Small Island. She added: "The story of July, born a slave on a Jamaican sugar cane plantation in the 19th century, The Long Song is a magnificent and poetic novel that we will be enormously proud to publish."
Kerr Macrae, deputy m.d. and chief operations officer, added: "Small Island has been one of our biggest books to date, so this is one of those long-awaited novels, seven years in the writing, and it will be a very big event for us—and hopefully nicely award-winning too."
He said that last year the Small Island paperback sold "well over" 35,000 copies. Headline is expecting the new book to sell between 75,000–100,000 copies in hardback alone, and will be submitting the novel to "all the major awards".
Macrae said Levy would be "doing lots of very focused activity in the right places" to promote the new title, which will include appearances at the major literary festivals. He added: "On the back of the adaptation of Small Island this autumn, as a lead drama on BBC1, we would expect wider media interest at the end of this year. But we shall make sure we are powder dry in terms of using her for February next year."
Headline is anticipating a strong response from retailers within the territories which the publisher has rights to—Europe and the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada)—and will be using the London Book Fair to promote the book.