Hodder & Stoughton has signed the “funny, warm and deeply human” debut novel by comedian Liam Williams, to be released first as an audiobook.
Editorial director Emma Herdman bought British Commonwealth rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates. Homes & Experiences will be published as an audiobook original, read by Williams, in March 2020, followed by a hardback edition in May 2020.
The publisher described it as “a heartfelt, satirical novel of exploration and misadventure, regret and the never-ending quest for authenticity”. The synopsis explains: “The story is told through emails from 30-year-old Mark to his cousin Paris, who was meant to be his plus one on a free work trip through Europe, before a catastrophic argument. Instead, Mark must go solo, and will experience ‘mindful croissant making’ at a wellness retreat, trial ‘silent disco kayaking’ on the Tiber and nearly miss volunteering in Greece to make ‘authentic baklava’ with a British expat.”
Two-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Williams is a writer, comedian and actor and also one third of cult sketch group Sheeps. His BBC Three series “Pls Like” was nominated for a BAFTA in 2018. He has been described as the “voice of a generation” by the Independent.
He said: “This project has been a real joy to undertake, it having been an adulthood-long ambition to complete a novel. The fact that it’ll be an audio release first makes it feel a continuation of my radio work, which has helped to outbalance the impostor syndrome inevitable in taking on such a challenging form for the first time. And the unyielding support of Emma Herdman at Hodder & Stoughton has helped outbalance my innate fecklessness and allowed me to get the thing written.”
Herdman added: “We all know the audiobook market is on the rise, and I’ve long wanted to find a project that would work as an audio original. Liam has written a novel that is funny, warm and deeply human, with a structure that works perfectly for listening to in podcast-length chunks or binging in one weekend. I am thrilled to be launching his novel-writing career.”