Independent publisher Orenda Books has acquired world English language rights to two books by Australian author Helen FitzGerald.
Worst Case Scenario, due for publication in May 2019, is about 52-year-old Mary Shields, a probation officer who is looks after Liam Macdowell, imprisoned for murdering his wife. Macdowell starts writing letters to his dead wife, becoming an unlikely hero and poster boy for the Men’s Rights Activists. The situation becomes complicated when Macdowell’s daughter and Mary’s son form a relationship, which Mary is determined to stop.
Publisher Karen Sullivan, who struck the deal with Phil Patterson of Marjacq Scripts, said: “I am in awe of anyone who can vigorously attack social issues while creating a work of heart-pounding, relentless suspense, and managing to couple this with deliciously dark, unapologetic humour is absolute genius. Worst Case Scenario is a fresh, important, tragic, funny and hugely relevant thriller that had me alternately biting my fist and pounding it.
“I was mesmerised by the complex plot and divine characterisation, but also the effortlessness of Helen’s beautiful and perceptive writing. This is exactly type of book I want to be publishing at Orenda, and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Helen to the team." A major studio has already bought film rights at auction, she added.
FitzGerald’s follow-up book, Australia Day, is a thriller about the impact of a bushfire on a small community, and will be published in 2020.
A TV adaptation of FitzGerald’s novel The Cry (Faber) will air on BBC One this autumn, starring Jenna Coleman.