Orion Fiction will publish Underbelly, the debut fiction title from Mother and Papa Pukka, a.k.a. Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson, the husband and wife duo behind website Mother Pukka.
Editorial director Charlotte Mursell acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Abigail Bergstrom at Gleam Titles. The title will be published under Whitehouse's name in August 2021.
Underbelly is the story of two women, Lo and Dylan. Lo is "the epitome of middle-class privilege" with her perfectly polished Instagram posts and armchair activism, whilst Dylan works as a telemarketer from her flat on a zero-hour contract, in order to put food on the table. The two meet at the school gates and form a friendship which has devastating consequences.
Mursell said: "Underbelly is a story that sucks you in from the very first page, it’s razor-sharp and skin-crawlingly brilliant. Anna and Matt’s writing crackles with tension, slicing through the veneer of our flawless, filtered lives to expose the dark truth beneath – I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’m beyond thrilled that Anna and Matt have chosen Orion Fiction to publish their phenomenal, electrifying fiction debut."
Whitehouse commented: "At a time when the world – online and offline – feels so fragmented, Underbelly looks at the complexity of womanhood against the glare of a smartphone. We wanted to question a digital world that brands opinions as trolling, a place of toothless advertising authorities, anonymous forums and casual doxxing. A place where cancelling another human online can delete them offline, too. But, really, we wanted to strip that all that back and see two humans, Lo and Dylan, navigating motherhood."
The co-authors have previously written two non-fiction titles: Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life (Hodder & Stoughton, 2017) and Where’s My Happy Ending? (Bluebird, 2020).