Picador has acquired a "wild, sexy and vibrant" first novel from US cult writer Andrea Lawlor.
Paul Baggaley, publisher at Picador, bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Lawlor (who identifies as ‘they’) from Cullen Stanley on behalf of PJ Mark at Janklow and Nesbitt.
Picador will publish Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl in April 2019.
Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Described by the publisher as a "riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman", it is set in 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco – a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.
Lawlor has won fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs, with writing published in Ploughshares, Mutha, the Millions, jubilat, Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, which was published by US independent Rescue Press in 2017. They live in Western Massachusetts with their family.
Baggaley said: “This is an exhilarating, hilarious, joyful, sexy and often heart-breaking novel. Andrea’s has created a unique character in the gender-fluid Paul and his adventures through American counter-culture in the 90s are both a brilliant evocation of a place and time and a timeless description of sexual longing. I am so delighted to bring Andrea and Paul to the Picador list.”