Picador has landed a “thrilling” work of dystopian fiction from debut novelist Sarah Jackson.
Commissioning editor Gillian Fitzgerald-Kelly acquired world all language rights, excluding the US, for Not Alone from Harry Illingworth at DHH Literary Agency. US rights were pre-empted by Carolyn Williams at Doubleday from the Helen Edwards Rights Agency. It will be published in the UK and US simultaneously in spring 2023.
The publisher explained: “Set in contemporary Britain, Not Alone tells the story of Katie and Harry, a mother and son who are fighting for survival in a world devastated by a toxic storm. Spending her days foraging outside for what is still safe to eat, Katie must protect her son at all costs from a world in which stepping outside could cost you your life. However, after years of exposure, Katie thinks she might be getting sick. And she must find someone to look after Harry. When their peaceful world is punctured by the arrival of another survivor, Katie learns that the man she was meant to marry might still be out there. Setting off together, Katie and Harry emerge into a changed—yet beautiful—world for the first time, beginning a desperate journey into the unknown.”
Fitzgerald-Kelly said: “I am thrilled to welcome Sarah Jackson and her breathtaking debut novel to the Picador list. I was gripped from its opening pages and felt desperate to publish this heart-stopping and deeply moving story of family, grief and the things we will do to save the people we love the most. This excitement was immediately shared across the publishing teams who cannot wait to press this fantastic book into people’s hands.”
Jackson is an author and ecologist with a keen interest in human-wildlife coexistence, conservation, climate change and microplastics pollution. She studied psychology and criminology at Cardiff University before deciding to do a Masters in conservation ecology at Oxford Brookes University.
She commented: “I’m excited to be working with Gill at Picador and Carolyn at Doubleday and can’t wait for the book to be out in the world. It has always been my dream to write fiction; this book is an emotional story inspired by pollution and climate change, my work as an ecologist and botanist, and by grief and the intense beautiful love of a mother for her child. I hope future readers will feel its resilience and hope.”
Illingworth added: “I’d been looking for an upmarket speculative novel for a long time, and when Not Alone landed in my inbox I knew very quickly I’d found what I’d been waiting so long for. It’s such a visual, emotive and topical read that I think readers of all genres will identify with and be swept away in. I couldn’t be happier that Sarah has found the perfect home at Picador and Doubleday. Their enthusiasm for this stunning novel has blown us away.”