Imogen West-Knights, journalist and co-creator of parody Twitter account Bougie London Literary Woman, has seen her "compulsive" debut novel snapped up as a lead title by Fleet.
Editorial director Rhiannon Smith acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Kat Aitken at United Agents at auction. Deep Down will be published in April 2023 in print, e-book and audio.
“Deep Down tells the story of siblings Billie and Tom in the aftermath of their father’s death, dislocated from each other and unable to talk about the trauma in their family’s past,” Fleet said. “Deftly moving between present bereavement and flashbacks to growing up, we see the siblings search for common ground and attempting to repair old wounds. Following the tracks of their grief, Billie and Tom find themselves – unexpectedly – in the catacombs of Paris, confronting both each other and their own demons.”
West-Knights is a writer and journalist based in London, and co-creator of the parody Twitter account Bougie London Literary Woman which has amassed around 17,000 followers. Her writing has been published widely in the Guardian, the FT, the TLS, the Times and New Statesman among many others. She was runner up in the Daily Telegraph’s Cassandra Jardine Prize 2015, shortlisted for the Portobello Prize 2017 and shortlisted for the FT/Bodley Head Essay prize 2018.
She said: “Having an editor as sharp as Rhiannon to work on my book with is more than I could ever have hoped for when I began writing it. I’m so excited, and so grateful to my wonderful agent and friend Kat Aitken for believing that I could get here.”
Smith said: “Deep Down is the absolute definition of compulsive reading: rich with brilliantly-drawn characters, unexpected humour and glorious prose that perfectly illustrates the dynamic between a sister and brother in all of its love and fury. Imogen’s debut is one of the most exciting I’ve read in a long time and we’ll be making this a lead publication for Fleet in 2023. We’re all so looking forward to working with Imogen and bringing her writing to readers."
Aitken said: "The moment I read Imogen’s work I was struck by its dynamism, wit and wisdom. Her debut novel has been anticipated by many and I’m so thrilled that it has found a home with Rhiannon at Fleet.”