New Safran Foer to Penguin

Penguin has acquired the new novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, called Escape From Children's Hospital, with the story born out of a real event which happened to the author when he was nine.

Hamish Hamilton publishing director Simon Prosser bought British and Commonwealth rights from Arabella Stein on behalf of Nicole Argi in the title, the third novel by the Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close author. Penguin plans to publish in early 2014.

The book is a fictionalised account of when an explosion in a summer camp science class left Safran Foer's best friend without skin on his face or hands, leaving the author unscathed by inches.

The publisher described it as "a story about the shared trauma of childhood, the potential destructiveness of storytelling, and the redemptive power of friendship. Weaving precariously between non-fiction and fiction, and existing at the intersection of different styles, the book moves out from that moment in 1985 to the repercussions on the ever-expanding circle of those affected by it."

Prosser said: "I couldn't be more excited about a novel or about a writer—and I am thrilled that we are the first of Jonathan's publishers to acquire this book."

Safran Foer commented: "What actually happened that day? What is a novel capable of? These are the two questions I have been living inside of, and I hope they will answer one another: my novel is what happened that day; and a truthful, experiential telling of that day is what the novel is capable of."