gal-dem founder Liv Little’s “remarkable” debut novel, Rosewater, has been snapped up in a six-figure pre-empt by Dialogue Books.
World English language rights were acquired by publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove whilst on parental leave from Abigail Bergstrom at Bergstrom Studio in a six-figure, two-book deal and will be published as Dialogue’s super lead debut fiction in spring 2023.
The blurb reads: “Elsie is out of options. She’s exhausted from being pushed in and out of social housing, she’s in debt and she’s disturbed by the dark reality of having bailiffs show up at her door. With nowhere left to go, there’s only one person to turn to: her best friend Juliet. As she tries to breathe through the panic attacks, sleeping with the hot and spirited Bea isn’t exactly straightforward and offers Elsie just another place to hide. Whilst trying to turn her poetry into a career, her fragile world spirals out of control and Elsie reaches for her rocky foundations to try and steady herself on her path and not fall through the cracks.”
Dialogue Books said of the debut: “Featuring incredible poetry from Kai Isaiah Jamal, Rosewater is a remarkable, modern, multi-generational love story for readers of Queenie, Normal People and Rainbow Milk who will be enraptured by Liv’s original narrative and captivatingly distinctive voice.”
Last year, Little was a contributor alongside Daisy Johnson and Eimear McBride in the collection Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold (Virago). She is also the founder of the online and print magazine gal-dem. She has also worked in commissioning at the BBC and is a writer in residence at BBC Studios. Her original pilot script, “Paradise”, a "high-concept, queer conspiracy thriller", is being represented by 42 M&P.
Lovegrove said: “This was the one submission I wanted to read whilst on parental leave and as promised, Liv’s prose grabbed me from the first page, and I couldn’t stop reading. You can feel Liv’s capable handling of big subjects on the page such as homelessness, mental health, sexuality and estrangement. The poetry is important, original and powerful and it’s great to have Kai’s work included.”
Little said: “My heart is in this book and I cannot wait for the world to meet Elsie, Juliet and Bea. Sharmaine is someone whose taste and tenacity I have long admired and I'm thrilled to be working with her and the rest of the team on this book and the next.”
Bergstrom said: “An exceptional debut novel from an exceptional new talent, Elsie’s humour and vulnerability will capture your heart from the very first page. This is a story about intergenerational trauma, class and trying to find your place in the world when the odds are stacked against you.”