Fourth Estate has acquired John Patrick McHugh’s "astonishing and emotionally powerful" debut story collection Pure Gold and a novel in a two-book deal.
Kishani Widyaratna, editorial director, acquired world English rights, excluding Ireland, in physical, e-book and audio to Pure Gold and world English rights in physical, e-book and audio for the untitled novel, from Lucy Luck at C&W.
The collection of stories in Pure Gold will be set on an imagined island and will explore betrayal and longing in small-town Ireland. McHugh will conjure a "vivid and arresting" cast of characters – some lost, some lonely, many dreaming and others self-deceiving, says the publisher.
The collection will be published in the UK in hardback, e-book and audio on 24th June 2021. New Island Books will publish the title in Ireland.
Widyaratna said: "It is very rare to read a debut collection as dazzling as Pure Gold, which thrilled all of us at Fourth Estate with the unruly poetry of John Patrick McHugh’s brilliant storytelling and his unflinching eye for the darker, and funnier, corners of human experience. As with the early work of Colin Barrett or Kevin Barry, each story here spools out into a whole world of its own and it is that magical quality that heralds an exceptional new literary talent. We are delighted to be working with New Island and to welcome John Patrick McHugh to the Fourth Estate list."
The collection has been praised by writers such as Lisa McInerny, Colin Barrett and Sara Baume, with Roddy Doyle describing the book as "terrific . . . dark, funny, honest and engrossing" and Sally Rooney calling McHugh "one of the most exciting writers working in Ireland today".
McHugh commented: "I’m delighted to be working with Kish and the wonderful team at Fourth Estate in bringing Pure Gold to the UK. It truly feels like a dream. I’m excited for the book to get into more hands come June, and I’m so excited to work with Fourth Estate for what comes next."