Picador signs 'urgent and unsettling' Bervoets novel

Picador signs 'urgent and unsettling' Bervoets novel

Picador has signed “urgent and unsettling” Dutch novel We Had To Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets.

Commissioning editor Ansa Khan Khattak acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Lisette Verhagen at Peters Fraser and Dunlop. It has been translated into English by Emma Rault.

The book is the featured novel for this year’s Dutch Book Week, which sees copies given away to shoppers spending €15 on Dutch language books, and will have a first print run by publisher Uitgeverij Pluim in the Netherlands of 650,000 copies. Picador will publish in May 2022.

The synopsis states: “When Kayleigh finds herself struggling financially, she applies for a job as a content moderator for an online platform whose name she isn’t allowed to mention. Her responsibility: reviewing which offensive videos, pictures and rants need to be removed. It’s gruelling work. Kayleigh and her colleagues see the most horrifying things on their screens every day, and the platform’s guidelines are a minefield. And yet Kayleigh feels like she’s in the right place. She finds kinship with the team of moderators and, when she falls in love with her colleague Sigrid, the future seems bright. Or does it?”

Khan Khattak said: “I sat down to read Hanna’s novel—brilliantly translated from the Dutch by Emma Rault—and was so gripped, I couldn’t put it down. I have always loved stories set in workplaces, particularly ones that explore the kind of strange co-dependent relationships that can emerge under pressure, but the story Hanna tells—about a group of content moderators who slowly realise that their humanity is being eroded by what they see on their screens—felt utterly new. We Had To Remove This Post shines a light on a fascinating, murky world I knew nothing about.”

Bervoets is the author of seven novels, screenplays, plays, short stories and essays. In 2017 she was granted the prestigious Frans Kellendonk Prize for her entire body of work.

Verhagen said: “I’m beyond thrilled to see We Had To Remove This Post travel. It’s such an urgent, unsettling and universal story written by one of the most interesting Dutch writers of her generation. I can’t wait for Picador to introduce Hanna to British readers for the very first time.”