Headline's sister imprint Headline Review has snapped up the “heady and compulsive” debut novel from Hazel Barkworth in a pre-empt deal.
Commissioning editor Frankie Edwards acquired world rights from Lucy Morris at Curtis Brown. Heatstroke will be published as a lead hardback in early summer 2020.
The novel is about the impact on three women of a teacher-pupil relationship. The synopsis says: “It would be fair to assume this book is about 15-year-old Lily, who disappears at the beginning of a long, hot summer. But this isn’t the story you think you’re reading…”
Barkworth is a graduate of both the Oxford University MSt in ceative writing and the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course.
Edwards said: “I knew immediately that Heatstroke was a beautiful, bold conversation-starter of a book that I desperately wanted to publish. Hazel’s writing is intoxicating, she pulls the reader right into the epicentre of a love affair that was never supposed to happen – and plays with our expectations at every turn. What follows is a highly charged exploration of crossed boundaries, power and betrayal, and the dark lengths people will go to in the name of love.”
Barkworth added: “I am thrilled to be joining Headline’s diverse and energetic list of authors, and it is a dream to benefit from Frankie’s enthusiasm and incisive brilliance. She has always seized my vision for the book; to unpick the layers of suburbia and uncover its shadowy heart.”