John Murray Press will publish Ilona Bannister's debut novel, When I Ran Away, on its Two Roads imprint.
Publisher Jocasta Hamilton acquired British Commonwealth rights from Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown, in a two-book deal. US rights have been sold to Jenny Jackson at Doubleday US, with Curtis Brown handling foreign rights.
When I Ran Away was developed on Faber Academy's Work in Progress course. The novel is one about love, loss, class, motherhood and holding on to who you are when everything changes.
The synopsis reads: "At 7a.m. one morning, Gigi Stanislawski leaves her home wearing a dressing-gown and checks into the kind of hotel where you pay extra for a towel. She’s not sure what she’s going to do—aside from binge-watch 'Real Housewives'. There’s a lot that Gigi doesn’t know anymore—but there are some things she does. She’s looking for a way back. Not to who she was, but to the woman she wants to be."
Hamilton commented: "I loved Ilona’s tough, bruised, hilarious protagonist, Gigi, from the first page. An intimate potrait of a person unravelling, of the difficulty of telling the people you love you’re not okay and remembering who you are when your world is turned upside down, When I Ran Away is peppered with astute, pin-sharp observations of the people that often go unseen and an urgent reminder of our need for kindness and honesty, especially with ourselves."
Bannister said: "I am thrilled to be working with Jocasta Hamilton and the team at Two Roads. I am so grateful that When I Ran Away found a home here and that Jocasta understood Gigi’s voice right away and gave me space to tell her story. I couldn’t be happier that Gigi and I, both, are embarking on this path with Two Roads. Gigi’s story is one of grief and loss, dysfunction and the particular heartache of motherhood, but I hope that readers also find her humour, her ability to find light in the darkness, and her message that healing is hard, but ultimately, it is possible."