Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired Australian author Jamie Marina Lau's UK debut, Gunk Baby.
Publisher Lee Brackstone bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Barbara Zitwer at the Barbara J Zitwer Agency. UK publication is slated for 8th July 2021, with a mass market paperback to follow in 2022. Hachette Australia will publish the title on 28th April 2021.
The synopsis reads: "Set in the suburbs of the fictional Par Mars, Gunk Baby follows 24-year-old Leen as she opens an ear-cleaning and massage studio in the Topic Heights Shopping Centre, taking her mother’s Chinese ritual to the West to ‘bring people back to their bodies’. But something is not quite right in Par Mars. Managers are being attacked, and when Leen befriends Jean Paul, a pharmacist who is obsessed with a cryptic online forum, she finds herself involved in a community that is intent on disrupting the routines of capitalism in increasingly troubling ways."
Brackstone commented: "Gunk Baby has the feel of a novel truly in harmony with the discord of the present age; a novel that could be set anywhere about a very particular place and profession by a young writer with an unbelievably sophisticated ear and sensibility. Jamie Marina Lau’s arrival at W&N is yet another indication of how energised and exciting the fiction list at the imprint has become in recent years."
Lau said: "It was strange, the timing that I got to work on Gunk Baby again. I’d written it the year before and then it felt as though the sort of cult of privacy and gate-kept comfort I was exploring in the book was amplified in the state we were in in 2020. Navigating this world with the four incredible editors I got to work with, allowed me to spend time and revise these concepts and understand in myself, why I wanted to write about this."
Lau's debut Pink Mountains On Locust was published in 2018 by Brow Books in Australia and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize.