Bloomsbury is to publish Iron Annie by debut author Luke Cassidy, secured in a two-book deal.
Paul Baggaley, editor-in-chief, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for the novel, and a second as yet untitled work from Brian Langan at Storyline Literary Agency. US rights were acquired by Edward Kastenmeier for Vintage at PRH, from Ryan Harbage at The Fischer-Harbage Agency.
Set primarily in the Irish border town of Dundalk, Iron Annie tells the story of Aoife, a bisexual woman whose obsession with Annie, "a strong, magnetic and somewhat capricious character", threatens to undermine her stability.
The synopsis explains: "A central figure in a small-town underworld, Aoife’s strength lies in her instinct, intelligence, and the people she keeps around her. When Aoife’s friend and collaborator the Rat King asks her to help him dispose of ten kilos of cocaine, swiped from a rival, she decides to bring Annie on board for a road trip through Brexit Britain. But when Annie decides she doesn’t want to return to Ireland, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything."
Commenting on the acquisition, Baggaley said: "I was completely blown away to discover the world of Luke Cassidy and Iron Annie. Luke has created a perfectly realised universe with gritty energy and vibrant language to rival Kevin Barry and Lisa McInerney. The greatest compliment I can give it is that I was reminded of how I felt when first discovering Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown. Cassidy’s Dundalk is both unique and universal and I can’t wait to bring Iron Annie to readers everywhere."
Cassidy added: "Words fail me at the edge of this, knowing that Iron Annie will be in the best of hands on its final stretch from my mind to the world. It's a tremendous honour and it's terrifying. It's a vindication and it feels class."
Iron Annie will be published in September 2021.