Bloomsbury has acquired Gwen and Art Are Not in Love, the "witty, romantic" debut YA fiction title from author and social media influencer Lex Croucher.
The novel tells the love stories of four queer medieval nobles in an unaccepting kingdom, and is set to hit the YA market in 2023.
The synopsis explains: "Gwen, the quick-witted Princess of England, and Arthur, future duke and general gadabout, have been betrothed since birth. Unfortunately, the only thing they can agree on is that they hate each other. When Gwen catches Art kissing a boy and Art discovers where Gwen hides her diary (complete with some racy entries about Bridget Leclair, the kingdom’s only female knight), they become reluctant allies. By pretending to fall for each other, their mutual protection will be assured, won’t it? But how long can they keep up the ruse, with Gwen growing closer to Bridget and Art becoming unaccountably fond of Gabriel, Gwen’s infuriatingly serious, bookish brother?"
Hannah Sandford, senior commissioning editor at Bloomsbury, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, for Gwen and Art Are Not in Love from Chloe Seager at Madeleine Literary, TV and Film Agency. US rights were sold to St Martin’s Press imprint Wednesday Books, bought by Sylvan Creekmore.
Sandford said: "Gwen and Art Are Not in Love knocked my jousting socks off. It is the witty, romantic, melodramatic, queer medieval YA romp that we all need in our lives. Lex’s writing is endlessly funny, inventive, brave, poignant, a breath of fresh air… and exactly what the UK YA market is missing."
The author added "Gwen and Art is the book that got me through lockdown, when I was simultaneously figuring out aspects of my own identity and desperate for queer, joyful escapism. I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with Bloomsbury UK and Wednesday Books to bring this messy medieval gang of knights and royals to readers."
Croucher’s first adult novel, Reputation, was published in July 2021 by Zaffre and was pre-empted in Italy, sold in the US, Sweden, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany (in a four-way auction) and Romania.
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love will publish in March 2023 in UK and Australasia in paperback. It will be published simultaneously by Wednesday Books in the US.