William Heinemann is publishing the first novel in almost 20 years from actor, writer and director Ethan Hawke: A Bright Ray of Darkness.
Publisher Jason Arthur acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) in the novel from Fiona Baird at WME Agency, to publish in February.
Billed as "a book about art and love, fame and heartbreak", Hawke tells the story of a young man making his Broadway debut just as his marriage implodes.
The synopsis describes Hawke’s narrator as "a young man in torment, disgusted with himself after the collapse of his marriage, still half-hoping for a reconciliation" who, while trying to manage the wreckage of his personal life with whisky and sex, is saved by the theatre—in particular, the challenge of performing Shakespeare on his Broadway debut.
The publisher describes it as "a bracing meditation on fame and celebrity, and the redemptive, healing power of art; a portrait of the ravages of disappointment and divorce [and] a poignant consideration of the rites of fatherhood and manhood".
Arthur said: "Reading A Bright Ray of Darkness was a revelation: deft, compelling and intellectually curious, the writing is rich, lyrical and very rewarding. Ethan has written a novel of genuine complexity, one that is blisteringly honest about the pain endured when a marriage unravels under the intense gaze of the media. I’m delighted to welcome Ethan to William Heinemann, and very much look forward to publishing A Bright Ray of Darkness in February."
Hawke is a four-time Academy Award nominee, who has starred in such films as "Dead Poets Society", "Training Day" and "Boyhood". He is the author of Rules for a Knight, a short fable with illustrations (2015, Cornerstone), Ash Wednesday (2002, Bloomsbury) and The Hottest State (1996, Little, Brown).
His new novel will be published by William Heinemann in hardback, e-book and audio on 2nd February 2021, and will be published simultaneously in the US by Knopf, and in paperback in 2022.