Bloomsbury scoops debut novel from psychiatrist Arlene Heyman

Bloomsbury scoops debut novel from psychiatrist Arlene Heyman

Bloomsbury has bagged the “glorious” debut novel from New York psychiatrist Arlene Heyman.

Editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle and assistant editor Callie Garnett of Bloomsbury acquired world English rights to Artifact from Victoria Hobbs at A M Heath. It will be published in summer 2020.

Heyman’s first short story collection, Scary Old Sex, was published in 2016 by Bloomsbury in the UK and US where it met with critical acclaim. Her tales have appeared in the New American Review, she won Epoch magazine’s novella contest and she has twice been listed in the honour rolls of Best American Short Stories.

Her novel is described as the story of Lottie, “a brilliant and iconoclastic woman scientist, spanning over half a century, and her experiments in love, sex, motherhood, marriage, independence and biology”.

Pringle said: “All too occasionally someone comes into your world and you think ‘I didn’t know I was waiting for you but now you’re here I realise I have been’. Arlene Heyman is one of those writers, and Lottie is one of those heroines. As seethingly intelligent, independent-minded and spirited as her creator, Lottie is going to captivate readers for many years to come. Not since Mary Wesley’s Jumping the Queue have I read a debut by an author in her seventies that crackles with such wit and sensuality but Heyman’s writing has a graceful intelligence and a frank crispness that is entirely its own. I am so excited about what lies ahead for this book.”

Garnett added: "I read Artifact in one breathless sweep, losing track of time and emerging infused with a sense of possibility. Why is it still so rare to encounter a novel that fully comprehends a woman’s desire and curiosity? Lottie Kristin is one of the great humanist characters – flawed, tender, hungry, tough, changeable. It’s transformative to watch her make her mark on a world that can’t quite compute the multitudes she contains. I’m so thrilled for readers to meet her, and thrilled to be working with Arlene, one of my new heroes.”