Hamish Hamilton has scooped the debut novel by academic and critic Emilie Pine, author of international bestseller Notes to Self (Tramp Press and Hamish Hamilton).
Simon Prosser, publishing director bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Ruth & Pen from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown. Translation rights have been sold by Curtis Brown to Btb in Germany, Italy's Rizzoli and Holland's Nieuw Amsterdam. It will publish on 5th May 2022.
The novel follows two women, Ruth and Pen, over the course of one day in Ireland. The synopsis says: "Neither known to the other, but both asking themselves the same questions: how to be with others and how, when the world doesn’t seem willing to make space for them, to be with themselves? Ruth’s marriage to Aidan is in crisis. Today she needs to make a choice – to stay or not to stay, to take the risk of reaching out, or to pull up the drawbridge. For teenage Pen, today is the day the words will flow, and she will speak her truth to Alice, to ask for what she so desperately wants. Deeply involving, poignant and radiantly intelligent, it is a portrait of the limits of grief and love, of how we navigate our inner and outer landscapes, and the tender courage demanded by the simple, daily quest of living."
Pine said: "What would you do if you were not afraid? That's the question I asked myself after writing Notes to Self. And the answer is: Ruth & Pen. It's not a coincidence that this is a novel all about what happens when you stop asking the world for permission to be yourself! I have loved discovering these two wonderful characters and along the way discovering my own voice in fiction. It has been an absolute joy to work with Simon Prosser as an editor. And I am so excited to see my first novel being published by Hamish Hamilton."
Prosser added: "Since working with Emilie on the UK edition of her extraordinary non-fiction book Notes to Self, I have been convinced that she would also be a superb writer of fiction. And so indeed she has proved in this exceptional first novel. All of the emotional intelligence and honesty of that earlier book is alive on the page here, alongside an innate ability to summon character, drama and place through language of precise power and poignancy."