Jonathan Cape has acquired a book of short stories by Daisy Johnson at auction.
Editorial director Alex Bowler signed UK and Commonwealth rights to two books by Johnson from Jack Ramm at Eve White Literary Agency.
Johnson is a 24-year-old prizewinning graduate of Oxford University’s Fiction MsT.
The first book – FEN, a collection of linked short stories set in the fens of East Anglia – will be published early 2016 with the second, an as yet untitled novel, due in 2017.
Bowler said: “In FEN, Daisy takes us to a familiar landscape, a British landscape, and transforms it, uncovering the darkness, mystery and fundamental forces of the place: sex, violence, animal longing. Each story features a different female protagonist, whose experiences in this crucible of a landscape are rendered with combustible force and imagination; each story, each life, is made vivid and unsettling and memorable. I rate Daisy as a major new English talent, a writer in possession of a precocious, penetrating and immediately arresting voice, whose work promises to remain rooted in something vital and distinct for years to come.”
Johnson has had short fiction published in, amongst others, the Boston Review and the Warwick Review. She was the recipient of the 2014 AM Heath prize.