Fourth Estate swoops for 'exhilarating' Elizabeth Day novel Magpie

Fourth Estate swoops for 'exhilarating' Elizabeth Day novel Magpie

Fourth Estate has swooped for Magpie, the “exhilarating” new novel by Elizabeth Day, written mostly during the first lockdown.

The novel is billed as a “thrilling, stylish and psychologically astute story of jealousy, motherhood and power”.

Its synopsis explains: “Marisa may have only known Jake a few months, but she has never felt this certain about anyone. When he asks her to move in with him and they start trying for a baby, she knows she has finally found the steadfast love and support she has been looking for all her life. But their relationship is tested when they take in a lodger, Kate, who has little regard for personal boundaries and seems to take an uncomfortable interest in Jake – as well as the baby they are hoping to have. Why is Kate so obsessed with the couple? And, more worryingly, why doesn’t Jake share Marisa's concern? In her determination to find the answers, Marisa risks losing everything she holds dear…”

Day, whose previous books include the bestseller How to Fail (also Fourth Estate), said: “I wrote most of Magpie during our first national lockdown in a sort of fever-dream. It came straight from my heart and my guts and being able to return to fiction to give voice to some deeply personal experiences was both freeing and thrilling. I hope readers fall in love with it and I’m so happy to be working again with the magnificent team at Fourth Estate.”

Former associate publisher Helen Garnons-Williams acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Nelle Andrew at the Rachel Mills Literary Agency. Michelle Kane, Fourth Estate PR and publishing director, will take over following Garnons-Williams' departure for Fig Tree. Publication is scheduled for 2nd September 2021.

North American rights were sold at auction to Carina Guiterman at S&S and translation deals were done in Poland, Italy and the Netherlands, with further interest internationally.

Kane said: “Like so many, I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth and I have watched with awe how she blazes a trail through all aspects of her career, so it’s a huge thrill for me to be working with her now! Magpie is Elizabeth’s finest novel yet, a brilliantly twisting literary thriller about motherhood, envy and how dangerous it can be to trust others with your dreams and I’m beyond excited to get it out to the reader!”

Day is due to mark the launch of Magpie in a live event with Fane this autumn.