HarperFiction has snapped up a “darkly funny” story of friendship and secrets from Hannah Begbie in a two-book deal.
Publishing director Lynne Drew, on behalf of Martha Ashby on maternity leave, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates.
The first novel, The Last Party, is about “friendship, the secrets we keep from those we call our closest confidantes and the struggle to truthfully connect in a world where every moment is shareable." The synopsis goes on: “When Stella, the life and soul of every party, dies suddenly, six of her oldest friends must arrange a last party—a fitting memorial to their friend. But as they gather for a weekend to celebrate her life in the wilds of Scotland, each has a different version of the true Stella—and a different version of the truth. Secrets emerge that will change all of their lives.”
Begbie is a former talent agent who represented writers and comedians for over a decade. Her debut novel, Mother, (HarperCollins) was published in 2018 and is being developed by Clerkenwell Films for the BBC as a putative three-part drama. Her second, Blurred Lines (HarperCollins), is published this August, billed as a “timely and compelling portrayal of what it costs to speak out”.
She said: “Developing my first novel Mother with my brilliant editor, Martha Ashby, was the best of experiences. Following up with Blurred Lines has only confirmed the enormous value of this partnership to me, and I can't wait for publication this summer. Sharing stories feels more important than ever in these socially distanced times. It’s a real privilege to play a part in that and I couldn't wish for better collaborators than Martha, the wonderful Lynne Drew, and the rest of the team at Harper Fiction.”
Drew added: “With this new book Hannah is reaching deep into contemporary life with dark friendships, secrets and unreliable memories. We are so excited to have this to follow Blurred Lines.”