American novelist John Irving has moved to Simon & Schuster UK’s Scribner from Transworld in a three-book deal.
Scribner will be the new UK publisher of John Irving’s upcoming work, launching in 2020 with the publication of Darkness as a Bride, Irving’s 15th novel. Ian Chapman, c.e.o. and publisher of S&S UK, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Dean Cooke of CookeMcDermid in a three-book deal.
Irving is already published by S&S US and was previously published by Transworld in the UK, with his first novel, The World According to Garp (Transworld), published in 1978. His books have been translated into more than 35 languages. Several have been adapted for film, including The Cider House Rules, for which Irving won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
"He has sold 834,963 books for £6.4m in the Nielsen BookScan era, with his bestseller the 1999-published A Widow for One Year (Transworld), at 159,191 copies sold in paperback.
Chapman said: “I was first ‘introduced’ to John in 1981 when I read The Hotel New Hampshire and was immediately entranced. I followed that with his 1978 masterpiece The World According to Garp. And in 1985, on publication of The Cider House Rules, my thirst was once more quenched. Every publication reminds and reinforces to me that John Irving’s novels will be read and cherished for many generations to come. What a pleasure and privilege it is for Scribner to become John’s UK publisher, and we look forward to launching Darkness as a Bride proudly in all our markets.”
Irving said: “Darkness as a Bride is a ghost story. The title comes from Shakespeare’s 'Measure for Measure': ‘If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride, And hug it in mine arms.’”
He added: “It is a mother-and-son story – by my count, my seventh novel on this subject, which started with The World According to Garp but includes A Prayer for Owen Meany and Until I Find You. It is also a novel about sexual politics – my eighth novel on this theme, including The Cider House Rules and In One Person.
"The character who makes everything happen is a competitive Alpine skier – she’s a slalom [business and tech firm] racer, then an unwed mother, always a mystery. Her son will be a writer – my ninth novel about a writer, which would include A Widow for One Year and Last Night in Twisted River. The novel is partly set in Aspen, Colorado – not only in Aspen as a ski town, because some of the ghosts are from the days when Aspen was a mining town.”
Translation rights for Darkness as a Bride are being handled by ILA and the film and TV rights are being handled by the Gersh agency.