Granta Books has won a five-way auction for Anna Metcalfe’s debut novel, Chrysalis.
The publisher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including audio from Nicola Chang at David Higham Associates, for publication in spring 2023.
Metcalfe's novel tells the story of a woman who undergoes a strange and powerful metamorphosis. The synopsis explains: "Told from the perspective of three people who know the woman at different stages in her journey, the reader witnesses her as a tremulous, taciturn child and as an adult trapped in the wrong relationship and job, before following the meticulous process of reinvention before she emerges as an online phenomenon – a woman on a singular and solitary path, with the power to inspire and to influence her followers, for good and ill."
Deputy publishing director Laura Barber commented: "With its clever structure, its perfect sentences, and its tantalisingly inscrutable anti-heroine, this is one of the most unsettling and addictive debuts I’ve read for a long time. I’ve also not read anything that captures quite so well this particular facet of the contemporary moment – that interrogates the technologies of today, without feeling ephemeral and disposable as they often do. But there’s something timeless about the story, too, about the yearning at the centre of it – the search for answers and meaning and identity. We could not be more excited to be publishing Chrysalis, and to be welcoming Anna Metcalfe to the Granta list."
In 2014, Metcalfe was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for "Number Three", and in 2016 her debut collection of short stories, Blind Water Pass, was published by John Murray. She lectures in creative writing at the University of Birmingham.
She commented: "It's been quite incredible to have such wonderful editors respond to my strange little novel. I'm thrilled that it has found a home at Granta, where it will keep company with the work of many writers I love and admire. Chrysalis first began as a tentative, playful response to Han Kang's The Vegetarian, so it feels entirely serendipitous that these books will now share a UK publisher."
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