Portico Prize-winning author Jessica Andrews Sceptre has written a second novel, Milk Teeth, for Sceptre.
Commissioning editor Francine Toon acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. Milk Teeth will be published on 21 July 2022 in hardback, e-book and audiobook.
Andrews’s 2019 debut novel, Saltwater (Sceptre), explored the experience of young women today and went on to win the 2020 Portico Prize, with the judges calling it a “powerful, provocative and poignant tale”.
Milk Teeth is “a love story about the joy and terror of taking risks and finding a way to feel deserving of love,” Sceptre said. “Through Jessica Andrews’ vivid and lyrical prose, we embark on a tender, painful exploration of what it means to understand ourselves and the things we truly want in life. Growing up in the north of England amid scarcity, precarity and the toxic culture of heroin chic, the heroine of Milk Teeth believes she needs to make herself smaller to claim presence in the world.
“Years later she meets someone who calls everything into question and she is forced to confront episodes from her past. Their relationship takes her from London to Barcelona and the precipice of a new life. In the sticky Mediterranean heat, among tropical plants and secluded beaches, she must decide what form her adult life should take and learn how to feel deserving of love and care.”
Andrews said: “Sceptre treated Saltwater with such care and I am proud to be publishing Milk Teeth together. Saltwater was set in cold, industrial places and I wanted Milk Teeth to be humid and sunlit. I am excited to see where it takes us.”
Toon commented: “Jessica Andrews is one of the most exciting new authors writing in the UK today and I am thrilled to be publishing Milk Teeth in the wake of her sparkling debut, Saltwater. Milk Teeth is an unforgettable love story, set across some beautiful European cities, that will cause you to question what is important in relationships, how the past can influence our future decisions and how young, working-class women see themselves in contemporary Britain.”
Andrews grew up in Sunderland. She writes for the Guardian, the Independent, BBC Radio 4, Stylist and ELLE magazine, among others. She co-runs the Grapevine, a magazine which aims to give a platform to under-represented writers and co-presents literary podcast "Tender Buttons". She lives in Bristol and teaches creative writing at Roehampton University.