Canongate has acquired paperback rights to Will Eaves’ prize-winning novel Murmur (CB Editions) about the last years of Alan Turing.
Francis Bickmore, Canongate’s publishing director, acquired world volume rights excluding USA from Carrie Plitt at Felicity Bryan Associates. Canongate published in e-book and it will be published in paperback Turing’s birthday on June 23rd. It is published in the USA by Bellevue Literary Press (publisher of Tinkers) on 9 April 2019.
The deal comes hot-on-the-heels of the novel’s joint win of the Republic of Consciousness Prize last month as well as numerous other plaudits.
The first chapter of the book was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award Shortlist in September 2017. Nine months later the novel was published by CB Editions, around the time the indie press wound down operations as founder and sole staff member Charles Boyle went into semi-retirement.
The book went on to be shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018, Wellcome Book Prize 2019 and James Tait Black Prize 2019 as well as earning a longlisting for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019 and various newspaper ‘Book of the Year’ accolades.
Inspired by the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Turing, Murmur “is the account of a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with grace, honour and an unsentimental curiosity about the ways in which we perceive ourselves and the world”, Canongate said. “Formally audacious, daring in its intellectual inquiry and unwaveringly humane, [it] is a rare achievement.”
Bickmore said of the deal: “Turing was one of the great outsider minds of the twentieth century and our world looks radically different thanks to his interventions. This novel tackles the state sanctioned brutality that savaged his later year.
“Will Eaves’s novel is an exquisite piece of writing, wonderfully precise on the texture of thought and a book that dares to ask big questions about the fate of consciousness in a machine age. It is justifiably setting every prize list alight in its wake.
“CB Editions have done a brilliant job so far and we’re happy to be putting our shoulder behind this from now on and helping to build for this book the paperback life is deserves both here and abroad”
Eaves said that he was “delighted” with the deal while praising Boyle for having “nurtured with such diligence and enthusiasm”. Eaves said: “It has simply moved to another, equally supportive and enthusiastic home, where I know it will be very well looked after.”
Plitt said: “I am thrilled that it has found another life with Canongate, who have an excellent history of bringing novels published by small presses to new readers.”