Mantle has triumphed in a five-publisher auction for two books from a husband and wife team, writing as Ellery Lloyd.
Sam Humphreys, associate publisher of the Pan Mac imprint, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Emma Finn at C&W. The first title in the deal, People Like Her, will be published as a super-lead in January 2021.
North American rights for People Like Her were acquired by Sarah Stein at HarperCollins US in a six-figure pre-empt via Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners, and it has been sold in 10 other territories. Film and TV rights have also been optioned.
People Like Her tells the story of “ambitious Instamum” Emmy Jackson, who falls foul of one of her million followers. The synopsis explains: “Known online as mamabare, influencer Emmy is Instagram’s authentic voice of motherhood, telling it like it is: warts, leaky nipples, tantrums and all. But someone out there knows the real truth and plans to destroy her family’s carefully curated life.”
Humphreys said: “When this novel was first submitted, I read it in pretty much one sitting – neglecting both my dogs, who were clamouring for (but didn’t get) an evening walk, and my daughter, who had a very late tea that day – in order to finish it. It’s a truly brilliant and original novel that takes as its premise the idea that not everyone necessarily makes their life look more perfect on social media; some people, perhaps, make it look less. Addictive and compelling, it's a real page-turner, but also very clever and thought-provoking, and I'm thrilled to be publishing it in the UK.”
Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos. Lyons is a former content director at Elle and editorial director at Soho House. Vlitos is the programme director for English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Surrey, and author of two previous novels, Welcome to the Working Week (Orion, 2007) and Every Day is Like Sunday (Orion, 2008).
They said: “We are delighted to be working with the immensely talented team at Mantle. The themes of our novel – how social media can be so many things to so many people, often all at once: a lucrative career, a lifeline and an obsession that eats away at our precious time and self-esteem, and the pressures it can place on women in terms of how they present themselves to the world – are ones which fascinate us, and we hope we have found a way of addressing them that can entertain, provoke and occasionally startle.”
Finn added: “This is a breathlessly absorbing, chilling novel and I am thrilled that it has found such a passionate and committed home in Sam and the Mantle team. The versions of ourselves we create and indulge online are such fertile soil for fiction and this is such a smart, gripping deep dive into that strange world. I can’t wait to see it land on shelves.”