Hodder & Stoughton has scooped two novels from debut author and Times fashion editor Harriet Walker.
Editorial director Kimberley Atkins acquired the rights from Denise Cronin at Penguin Random House in the US, after it pre-empted world rights at the end of 2018 in a six-figure deal.
Debut novel The New Girl, written when Walker was on maternity leave, will be published in hardback and e-book in May 2020. Set in the ruthless world of British fashion journalism, “it explores classic themes of rivalry and the darker side of female friendship, when Margot goes on maternity leave and starts to feel increasingly competitive and paranoid about her replacement, Maggie”.
Penguin Random House imprint Ballantine will publish simultaneously in the US. Walker’s second novel, The Wedding Night will follow in 2021.
Atkins said: “I am so excited to be publishing Harriet Walker on Hodder’s list. The New Girl is an addictive read that hits that sweet spot of darker women’s fiction with a compelling psychological edge. It’s such a clever novel that explores the competitive nature of female friendship, our obsession with how we appear on social media and the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect – whatever the cost.”
Walker added: “I’m delighted to be signing with Hodder to bring The New Girl to UK readers. Kim and the team have been such cheerleaders for my characters and their enthusiasm for the book is really exciting. I’m so glad they saw something they liked in the manuscript, and look forward to working with them on the next title, too.”