Orion has acquired The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell.
Ben Willis, senior commissioning editor and associate publicist at Orion Publishing Group, bought UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights from Scottish publisher Freight Books in a deal brokered by Nicola Barr at Greene & Heaton. It will publish in trade paperback in Autumn 2017.
The Wrong Child tells the story of a community's unravelling in the aftermath of a village disaster, when all but one of its children are killed in the collapse of its school.
The book explores survivor's guilt and what happens when a 13-year-old boy becomes the emblem for an unbearable loss. Seven years later, his parents have abandoned him and the villagers' grief has burned to rage, overcome by an insatiable desire for catharsis and sacrifice.
Willis said: "The Wrong Child is lyrical and dark, atmospheric and uncompromising, heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful. It is beautifully written, and has all of the moral ambiguity of We Need to Talk About Kevin and the gothic atmosphere of The Loney. Barry is a brilliant new talent in British literary fiction."
Gornell was born in Liverpool and now lives on the West Coast of Scotland. He is a novelist and screenwriter, former fire-fighter, truck driver and bookshop manager. He said: "I’m delighted to be coming to Orion. I look forward to working with the team in order to get The Wrong Child out to a wider readership."
The book was originally published by Freight Books in May this year. Adrian Searle, publisher at Freight Books, said: "Barry is an outstanding talent whose work deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible. We’re delighted to be working with the team at Orion."