Faber triumphs in six-way auction for Watson debut

Faber triumphs in six-way auction for Watson debut

Faber has won a six-publisher auction for Financial Times journalist Rebecca Watson’s debut novel little scratch.

Emmie Francis, editor at Faber, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to two books from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. Rights have sold to Doubleday US and Nijgh en van Ditmar in Holland. The debut will be published in July 2020.

"little scratch tells the story of a day in the life of an unnamed woman, living in a lower-case world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics; clock-watching and WhatsApp notifications,” Faber said. "In a voice that is fiercely wry, touchingly delicate and increasingly neurotic, the protagonist relays what it takes to get through the quotidian detail of that single trajectory – from morning to night – while processing recent sexual violence.

"little scratch is about the coexistence of monotony with our waking, intelligent lives. It is a powerful evocation of how the external and internal aspects of our lives exist in a helix, and what it means to live out the course of a single day consumed by trauma.”

Francis said: "This is a work that shines with the author’s uncanny ability to play with voice. For all the discomforting nature of its “plot” it is a novel perforated with irony and buoyed by a defiant literariness. little scratch makes a mark on your nerves and senses. At 23 years old, Watson is writing in a startlingly original way, in a tradition that continues to be celebrated at Faber."

Watson said: "Faber is the real dream home for little scratch and I could not be more delighted."

Watson is an editorial assistant at the Financial Times. She has been published in the Times Literary Supplement, Granta, the Telegraph, Literary Review, the Spectator and the London Magazine, among others. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize. She was an editor at the Cherwell student newspaper while at Oxford University and was involved in leading the #NotGuilty campaign, which seeks to promote responses regarding assault, victim blaming and community.