Doubleday has acquired Jamie O'Connell's "stunning" debut Diving for Pearls, featuring intertwining stories "combining dark wit and devastating emotional truth".
Diving for Pearls follows the stories of several characters, each striving for a better life in Dubai, all linked by the body of a young woman floating in the city's marina. Fiona Murphy, editorial director at Doubleday Ireland, bought UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Marianne Gunn O'Connor.
Murphy said, "I was blown away by the scope of the novel and the control and skill with which Jamie weaves this story. Diving for Pearls is a stunning and page-turning novel that allows us to see Dubai through the eyes of a diverse range of characters, examining the complex eco-system and vast inequalities that characterise the city. It’s a novel for our times and one I can’t wait to publish."
O'Connell, who was highly commended for the Costa Short Story Award 2018, has been described as "an exciting new voice in Irish fiction". He also previously taught creative writing in University College Dublin and worked for Penguin Random House.
He said: "I am delighted to be published by Doubleday. So many of their authors' books already line my shelves and I feel honoured that I'll be published alongside this amazing group. The novel has been many years in its creation and it's wonderful to have someone like Fiona, a champion of Irish writing, give my work this endorsement."