Quercus has bagged a “riveting” modern gothic debut set in an elite all-girls boarding school by Phoebe Wynne in a two-book deal.
Senior commissioning editor Emma Capron bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Nelle Andrew at PFD. The US rights were pre-empted by St Martin’s Press. Madam will be published in early 2021 in hardback, e-book and audio.
Capron said: “I am so excited to be publishing this extraordinary debut. Phoebe writes beautifully; I was captured by the setting from the very first page, and I was completely fired up by the end. It will stay with you for life.”
The book is set in Caldonbrae Hall “where a new young Classics teacher is about to discover the shocking secrets that lie behind the school’s venerable traditions”. The publisher said it “combines the claustrophobic and toxic school setting of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with the feminist kick of Naomi Alderman’s The Power.”
Wynne said: “I am so thrilled that both Emma Capron at Quercus and Sarah Cantin at Macmillan US have connected with the novel; to work with them and have Madam published is a blazing triumph for me and for everything the novel has to say. I am very grateful to them and of course to my agent, Nelle Andrew, who first believed in the story, and in me as a writer.”
Andrew added: "I could not be more delighted to have this book with these tremendous women. It is a novel I could not stop thinking about when I saw it on the slush pile, and I know it is in the best pair of hands I could imagine with Emma and Sarah at the helm."