John Murray is publishing Falling Short, a "funny, uplifting, deeply moving" literary debut by "true new talent" Lex Coulton.
The book is about "the ways in which we fail to live the lives we hoped, and how that might be ok after all", according to Mark Richards, publisher at John Murray, who acquired world rights from Susan Armstrong at C&W.
Falling Short follows 39-year-old school-teacher Frances Pilgrim, whose father vanished when she was five and since then is still losing things - car-keys, promotions, an endless roster of unsuitable boyfriends. She'd like to confide in her best friend, a fellow teacher called Jackson, but they haven’t spoken since a wine-fueled evening when things got complicated. Her mother is now slowly yielding to Alzheimer’s and her father's disappearance is giving rise to some disturbing questions.
Richards said: "Witty and warm, with two wonderful central characters in Frances and Jackson, Falling Short is a brilliantly observed, unsentimental but moving novel about the ways in which we fail to live the lives we hoped, and how that might be ok after all. Lex Coulton is a true new talent in British fiction, who we are hugely looking forward to introducing next year."
Coulton, who studied English and later Creative Writing at Oxford, spent 14 years teaching English in secondary schools before taking a sabbatical year in Paris, to focus on her writing. She has recently been awarded the Literature Works First Page Prize (2015) and the Thresholds International Feature Writing Prize (2016), and her short fiction is due to appear this year in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, the literary magazine Shooter and the London Journal of Fiction.
She said: "It's so exciting to be working with the superb team at John Murray, and to have found in Mark Richards an editor with such insight and vision: I'm overjoyed that he is in charge of introducing Frances and Jackson to the world."
John Murray will publish Falling Short as a Demy hardback in June 2018.