Fourth Estate will publish the “truly original” debut novel from British writer Simon Stephenson, set in 2054 and featuring an android.
Helen Garnons-Williams, publishing director at Fourth Estate, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada in Set My Heart to Five from Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh. It will be published in hardback in summer 2020.
“Set in an all-too human 2054, Set My Heart to Five introduces Jared, an android who undergoes an emotional awakening and embarks on a quest to convince humans that he and his kind should be permitted to feel,” the publisher said. “It’s a quest, sparked in part by Jared’s introduction to ‘80's and ‘90's movies that leads to an unforgettable adventure across the West Coast of America, after he determines to write a film script that will change the world.”
Garnons-Williams said: “We fell head over heels in love with Simon’s novel at Fourth Estate. It is not only incredibly funny and sharp in what it has to say about humanity, but it’s also a deceptively nuanced and profound novel about loneliness and hope, and what it means to be alive. It’s a story that shares some of the DNA of The Rosie Project and of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, whilst also feeling truly original and like a breath of literary fresh air.”
Stephenson commented: “I am beyond thrilled that Set My Heart to Five has found its home with the brilliant Helen Garnons-Williams and the fantastic team at Fourth Estate. I am a huge fan of the books they publish, and it is a dream come true to be collaborating with them on this.”
Stephenson previously wrote the award-winning Let Not the Waves of the Sea (2011, John Murray), a memoir about the loss of his brother in the Indian Ocean tsunami. He has also worked as a screenwriter, most recently at Pixar Animation Studios and is based both in the LA and the UK.