Harvill Secker scoops 'addictive' debut in five-way auction

Harvill Secker scoops 'addictive' debut in five-way auction

Harvill Secker has triumphed in a five-way auction for agent Rachel Yoder’s debut Nightbitch, billed as a “transgressive” novel on modern motherhood.

Kate Harvey, deputy publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, from Claire Roberts at Claire Roberts Global Literary Management, on behalf of Monika Woods at Triangle House Literary. North American rights were pre-empted by Margo Shickmanter at Doubleday, and film rights were sold at auction to Annapurna Pictures, with Yoder to adapt and Amy Adams to star.

Harvey said: "Nightbitch got her teeth into me and wouldn’t let go. This generous, raging, clever novel gives cathartic shape to an experience that for many of us is inchoate and far beyond words. To which end it’s also beautifully paced, wildly enjoyable, engaged with art in all its forms, and ultimately shows that synthesis needn’t always be about compromise. It’s brilliant. I can’t wait to publish it next summer."

The synopsis explains: “For readers of Jenny Offill and Miriam Toews, Nightbitch is a sharply funny and addictive novel that explores how traditional structures of power and gender continue to shape modern motherhood, and what it takes to subvert them. As the book opens, an artist finds herself home full time with her two-year-old son while her husband travels for his job. Struggling with solitude, exhaustion and the inability to work, she begins to experience a metamorphosis that complicates her situation in truly outrageous ways – whilst also setting her free.”

Yoder grew up in a Mennonite community in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Ohio and is now senior agent at The Tuesday Agency.

She said: “This book roared into being after two years of early motherhood, as an extended howl at forces both gargantuan and seemingly immutable: biology, patriarchy, history. Equal parts angry and absurd, Nightbitch was a book I couldn’t not write and is for every woman, mother or not, who has felt powerless to transform the systems, traditions, and expectations that have underestimated and overlooked us. I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant team at Harvill Secker to bring Nightbitch, in all her doggish glory, to readers.”

Nightbitch will be published as a lead title in July 2021 in hardback, trade-paperback and e-book.