Bonnier pre-empts Nealon debut in six-figure deal

Bonnier pre-empts Nealon debut in six-figure deal

Bonnier Books UK imprint Manilla Press has pre-empted an “exquisite” coming-of-age tale from debut Irish author Louise Nealon in a six-figure, two-book deal.

Snowflake will be the lead literary debut from imprint Manilla Press in 2021. Publisher Margaret Stead acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Marianne Gunn O’Connor from MGOC Creative. Film and TV rights have already been snapped up by Element Pictures, the team responsible for the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People (Faber).

Its synopsis explains: “Eighteen-year-old Debbie lives on a dairy farm in Kildare with her mother and her uncle Billy—who lives in a caravan in the garden. Debbie’s mum Maeve’s grip on reality is increasingly tenuous, and she spends her days recording her dreams, which are more real than her daylight hours. This world is Debbie’s normal, but she is about to step into life as a student at university in Dublin.

"Debbie finds life increasingly difficult to navigate between the world of home, and her new life, coming to see that sometimes even the maddest of families are our real places of safety. Snowflake is a startling, honest, laugh and cry novel about growing up and leaving home.”

Nealon, 27, said: “In early March, I got a phone call from my agent, Marianne Gunn O'Connor, who read out an email from Margaret Stead of Bonnier Books UK. That phone call changed my life. It is a dream come true to be represented by an agent and a publisher who believe wholeheartedly in the story that I am trying to tell." She added: "I am looking forward to post-lockdown celebrations, but for now, I am dancing around my childhood bedroom in a Harry Potter dressing gown.”

Stead commented: “Snowflake is a brilliant novel, with huge heart and a raw, honest, hilariously funny and real look at coming of age, mental health, at the meaning of home. Louise Nealon is a huge talent and we are so pleased and proud—and excited—to be publishing her at Manilla Press next year.”

O’Connor said Stead and Bonnier Books m.d. of Adult Trade Kate Parkin "acted like lightning" to secure the book "with a robust offer and a killer proposal.”