Canongate is to publish an "intense and eerie" debut novel by Rebecca O'Connor.
Canongate editor Jo Dingley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada and Audio from Tessa David and Caroline Michel at PFD. He is Mine and I Have No Other will be published in hardback in Spring 2018.
Set in Ireland in the early 1990s, He Is Mine and I Have No Other follows 15-year-old Lani Devine as she falls in love with Leon Brady, whose mother is buried in the cemetery next to Lani’s house. Lani is haunted by the ghosts of 35 young girls buried in a nameless grave near Leon’s mother – the victims of a devastating orphanage fire. As the love story unfolds, and then unravels, we learn that Leon too is haunted – by a brutal family tragedy that everyone in the town seems to know about, except Lani.
Dingley said: “He Is Mine and I Have No Other is a dark and captivating novel about the obsessive power of first love, about the claustrophobia a tight-knit family and community can cause, about buried secrets and about the havoc they wreak. I read it in one big gulp, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.”
O’Connor is co-founder and publisher of The Moth Magazine and has had work published in the Guardian, the Spectator and the Poetry Review, among other places, and is a recipient of a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. She has previously been a writer in residence at the Wordsworth Trust and her first collection of poetry We’ll Sing Blackbird was shortlisted for the Strong Shine Award. She lives in County Cavan, Ireland.
O’Connor said: “I’m incredibly excited to be published by Canongate. It’s an amazing feeling to find an editor you connect with, and to know that your novelis going to be in such fine company. It’s a book I adored writing – the rawness of that adolescent experience, intensified by love and grief.”
David said: “He is Mine and I Have No Other is a subtle, lyrical and hauntingly powerful novella. I am thrilled to be working with Rebecca O'Connor and have no doubt that Jo Dingley – who finished the book within five hours of receipt – will make a brilliant editor for it.”