Fleet has acquired a debut novel The First Day, introducing its author, filmmaker Phil Harrison, as a "major new voice".
Ursula Doyle, publisher of Fleet, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Nicola Barr at Greene and Heaton. Fleet will publish in hardback in summer 2017.
The First Day, set in 2012 between Belfast and New York, is described as "a short, intense, questioning novel about marriage, love, family and religion". It features Samuel Orr, a married pastor who meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar, and falls in love. They embark on a "passionate and intense" affair, with "violent and shocking consequences" that reverberate through the generations. His sons – from his marriage and his new relationship – briefly grow up together, until another "unthinkable act" changes the course of their lives again. It isn't until decades later, in New York, that the brothers must finally face each other.
Doyle said: "The First Day is a short, intense, questioning novel about marriage, love, family and religion. I am delighted to be publishing this brilliant novel on the Fleet list. Phil Harrison is a really exciting, major new voice."
Harrison is a filmmaker and lives in Belfast. His first feature, "The Good Man", starring Aidan Gillen, was released in 2014. His earlier short, "Even Gods", won the short film award at the Belfast, Galway and Cork Film Festivals in 2011, and was shortlisted for the best short script at the 2012 Irish Screenwriting Awards. His short story ‘They Must be Sought Abroad’ was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award in 2010.
He commented: "It's a real delight to be working with Ursula Doyle, and Fleet – The First Day is a novel that's been a few years in the making – written (and set) in Belfast and New York – I'm looking forward to see it make its way into the world."