Penguin signs McSwiggan's 'swoonworthy' YA debut in two-book deal

Penguin signs McSwiggan's 'swoonworthy' YA debut in two-book deal

Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's, has acquired two standalone titles from presenter and LGBTQ+ advocate Calum McSwiggan, including his fiction debut Ordinary Boy

Ben Horslen, fiction publisher, bought world rights for two titles from Ella Kahn at Diamond Kahn & Woods. Ordinary Boy, a YA novel, will be published in May 2023. 

The synopsis reads: "Seventeen-year-old Max has always been out, proud and just a little spoiled. Frustrated by the lack of romantic options in his small-town high school, during an argument with his lifelong best friend Dean, Max lashes out and says he wishes he had never been born gay. Max gets more than he bargained for when he wakes up to find his wish has come true—not only have his feelings for boys vanished, but so has Dean. With his school life turned upside-down and his relationship with his family in tatters, Max sets out on a journey of rediscovery to find a way back to the life he took for granted, and the romance he thought he would never have." 

Horslen said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be publishing Ordinary Boy. Calum has brilliantly captured the roller-coaster experience of life as a gay teen, from the heartstopping thrill of that first crush to the challenges of prejudice, to the joy of finding your own place in the LGBTQ+ family. Max is a hero that every YA reader, queer or straight, can relate to, and the story of his search for love is simply as swoonworthy as they come."

McSwiggan has worked for Attitude magazine, written for the Metro, Gay Times and PinkNews, and was recently featured in the Guardian’s list of the 50 most influential LGBTQ+ figures. 

He said: "This book is very much the story of all the things so many of us never got to have. I longed for queer romance growing up and never got to experience it, but I’ve been able to well and truly live vicariously through these characters and their stories, and I can’t wait for them to be out in the world in the hope that others can do that too."