Century has pre-empted a high-concept love story "for the Fleabag generation" by debut author Emma Hughes in a two-book deal.
Arrow publishing director Emily Griffin pre-empted UK & Commonwealth rights to Perfect Complex plus a second book from Emma Finn at C&W Agency. Century will publish Perfect Complex in hardback in July 2021 and in Arrow paperback in March 2022.
Griffin said: "I have long been looking for an author who writes about the complexities of adulthood, family and love in a way that feels this relatable and sharp. Perfect Complex truly is the real deal! In addition to the clever premise at the heart of the book, Emma Hughes has created a cast of characters who instantly hook you in and whose lives feel multi-faceted, messy and real. We cannot wait to launch Perfect Complex on the Century list next year and we will build an ambitious campaign around the book to ensure Emma’s writing reaches the wide readership it deserves."
"Perfect Complex is a smart and entertaining debut about a woman who signs up to a dating service that uses her entire online history to find her perfect match," reads the synopsis. "After years of being let down by her own intuition, Laura can’t believe her luck when she is paired with Adam. On paper he is everything she dreamed of: handsome, kind, cares about climate change and even manages to win over her perpetually judgemental sister. But when Laura starts to develop feelings for the charismatic data lead who designed the algorithm that led her to Adam in the first place, familiar feelings of doubt rear their head… When it comes to love, should we trust our instincts over reason? And is there such a thing as a perfect?"
Finn said: "This witty and emotionally acute debut won me over from just a few pages when Emma was first shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Award last year. She is a real talent, with a perfect instinct for dialogue and humour, and this novel is razor sharp on the ways we look for love, and how difficult it can be to balance your head and your heart."
Hughes is a London-based freelance writer and editor who has worked for a number of publications including Time Out, Wired, ES, the Telegraph and Eater. She studied English at Cambridge before being awarded a bursary to study for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. An early excerpt from Perfect Complex was shortlisted for the 2019 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
Hughes added: "I'm still pinching myself! Working with Emma and the team at C&W on Perfect Complex has been a dream come true, and to find a home for it at Century is beyond anything I could have hoped for: I was bowled over by Emily’s enthusiasm, energy and insights, and I can’t wait to start working with her and all the team."