Orion has acquired a comic tale of "East meets West", The Arrangement, by 27-year-old debut author Sonya Lalli - pitched as "Bend it Like Beckham meets Bridget Jones's Diary".
It chronicles one girl’s attempts to break free from cultural expectations and her interfering matchmaker grandmother, aiming to bring westernised Indian culture to the fore in a "funny, relatable way". It is anticipated to appeal to "younger women with an appetite for a fresh new perspective in commercial fiction".
Katie Seaman, editorial assistant at Orion, acquired UK Commonwealth rights including translation, from Federica Leonardis at Martin Leonardis Literary Management. Orion will publish in mass market paperback and e-book in summer 2017.
Seaman said: “I’m thrilled to be publishing Sonya whose genius novel reads like Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Bend it Like Beckham. Everyone has been subject to friends and family interfering in their relationships so I’m sure that readers will empathise with Raina. I was captivated by this story from the beginning – Raina is likeable and relatable, and The Arrangement is funny, warm women’s fiction at its best.”
Lalli grew up in Canada and now works as a journalist in London. She said: “The novel’s main character Raina struggles with issues familiar to many women – whether that’s dealing with difficult relationships and friendships, managing career and family obligations, or resisting societal pressure to get married by a certain age. She also happens to be Indian, and has to try and balance her life as a modern woman with the traditions of her culture and community. Her story is not uncommon, yet it’s one we don’t tend to hear. I’m so excited to introduce Raina to the world: a character who speaks for so many of us yet is not often heard in mainstream fiction.”
Leonardis added: “I’m delighted that the first deal for Martin Leonardis Literary Management is for Sonya’s book with Katie and Orion. Sonya is a dream author and I know she and Katie will make a great team. The Arrangement had me hooked immediately when I first read it a year ago. It’s warm, soulful and funny, exactly like Sonya.”