Debut novel Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott has been acquired by Hutchinson in a six-figure pre-empt.
Jocasta Hamilton, publishing director at Hutchinson, struck the deal for UK and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, with Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
The book centres around the life and career of American novelist Truman Capote who, having reached the pinnacle of literary success after In Cold Blood’s wild acclaim, decides to drop a "literary grenade" in 1975 that will "transform him from society's darling to persona non grata overnight," according to the publisher. Suffering from writer’s block, and a mounting crisis in confidence, he decides to publish excerpts from his savage roman à clef, Answered Prayers, inexplicably betraying the confidences of his inner circle, mid-20th century society’s wealthy and powerful elite – the women he called his ‘Swans’.
Swan Song is told from the collective and divergent perspectives of tastemakers and socialites Babe Paley, Slim Keith, C.Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli and Lee Radziwill, and spans three decades of friendships to replicate - through language and shifting points of view - the gossip-riven world its characters inhabit.
Hamilton said: "In glittering prose, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott captures not only the fabulous glamour of Capote and his coterie but also the tragedy. Compulsively readable, Swan Song is a tale of betrayal, society, romance and rupture, moving between the cocktail-soaked Manhattan parties and Capote’s childhood in Depression-era Alabama, capturing a great writer’s meteoric rise and self-destructive fall. I was spellbound from the first chapter and knew this was a novel I had to publish."
Greenberg-Jephcott said: "I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with the most brilliant team I could have imagined for Swan Song. After a decade-long journey to fruition, the narrative has found the right home with Hutchinson/ Penguin Random House. To use a Trumanism, 'I’m beside myself— absolutely pleased as punch!'"
A draft of Swan Song won the 2015 Bridport Prize, Peggy Chapman- Andrews Award and has been shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, amongst others.
Hutchinson will publish it in hardback in July 2018 followed by a Windmill paperback in 2019.