Johnson signs new two-book deal with Jonathan Cape

Johnson signs new two-book deal with Jonathan Cape

Ana Fletcher, senior editor at Jonathan Cape, has bought two books from Man Booker-shortlisted author Daisy Johnson.

Fletcher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Johnson’s novel Sisters for publication in June 2020, and a second novel, as yet untitled, from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander.

North American rights in both books were pre-empted by Sarah McGrath at Riverhead. Rights to Sisters have also sold in France, Germany, Holland and Poland.

“After a serious case of school bullying becomes too much to bear, sisters July and September move across the country with their mother to a long-abandoned family home,” the synopsis for Sisters reads. “In their new and unsettling surroundings, July finds that the deep bond she has always had with September – a closeness that not even their mother is allowed to penetrate – is starting to change in ways she cannot entirely understand. Inside the house the tension among the three women builds, while outside the sisters meet a boy who tests the limits of their shared experiences. With its roots in psychological horror, Sisters is a taut, powerful and deeply moving account of sibling love.”

Johnson, a former Blackwell’s bookseller, became the youngest ever author, at age 27, to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 for her novel Everything Under (Cape). The retelling of the Oedipus myth was chosen as Blackwell’s Book of the Year in 2018. It was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Awards.

Fletcher said: “It’s a joy and a privilege to carry on working with Daisy and we’re so excited to bring Sisters out into the world. Alive, original and surprising, this is a seriously smart and compulsively readable novel about a young woman attempting to find her own agency within an all-consuming relationship.”

Paying tribute to Fletcher who also edited Everything Under, Johnson said. “Ana Fletcher is an extraordinary editor and I hope this book, and the one after, can be a testament to that and to the brilliant work everyone at Jonathan Cape does."

Johnson added: “Living with a book is a little like living with a sister. Often there are battles, choppy water; the love is complicated. As they change so do you and hopefully, by the end, you are ready to let them go. I am overjoyed that it has found homes, and editors, in so many places around the world and I hope it finds homes with the readers too.”

Born in 1990, Johnson's debut short-story collection, Fen, was published by Cape in 2016. She is also the winner of the Harper's Bazaar Short Story Prize, the A. M. Heath Prize and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Altogether she has sold a total of 28,843 books for £301k, with Everything Under her bestseller, at 13,508 copies in hardback and 9,272 in paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan.