Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan is to move to Hutchinson as publishing director Jocasta Hamilton snapped up UK and Commonwealth rights to the Singaporean-American's latest novel, Sex and Vanity.
Hamilton bought the title from Suzanne Smith at Hutchinson's fellow Penguin Random House company Knopf Doubleday; Smith had previously acquired world rights from Alexandra Machinist at ICM. Hutchinson said Sex and Vanity will explore through satire "and an abundance of food, fashion and travel porn, the universal themes of love and acceptance, greed and narcissism, wealth inequality, class differences and racial divides".
Kwan attained international stardom in 2018 after Crazy Rich Asians—the first of his Crazy Rich trilogy—was made into the hit film of the same name, five years after it was originally published. The trilogy has gone on to be sold into 30 languages and in mid-September 2018, Kwan's Crazy Rich books claimed the top three spots on the New York Times bestseller list in same week, joining E L James as the only author to have ever accomplished that feat.
The titles have been less successful in the UK, however, with all print formats of the trilogy shifting 80,000 units for £545,000 through Nielsen BookScan since the first book was initially published by Atlantic in 2014.
Sex and Vanity, to be released by Hutchinson in July this year, has "Mayflower-descended, Wall Street-wealthy Lucie Tang Churchill meeting George Zao at a lavish Capri wedding and she is put off by the self-righteous eco-warrior/Hong Kong surfer boy. When she goes back to Manhattan she falls in with suave billionaire Cecil who is more concerned with his Instagram account than the planet. But why can't she stop thinking of George and that moonlit Capri night?"
Hamilton said: "We’re tremendously excited about launching [Kwan] with huge fanfare here. Think Jane Austen in a Valentino bikini aboard a mega yacht with free-flowing champagne and you’re still not even close to the spectacular fun of Sex and Vanity."