Quercus has acquired a debut novel, the winner of the Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition 2015.
Polly Clark's Mslexia-winning When Auden Met Dora, has since been renamed Larchfield and will be published by Quercus in March 2017. World rights were secured through Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates.
The prize was judged by Di Spiers of the BBC, Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and agent Juliet Mushens at The Agency Group who called it "a deft and moving portrayal of isolation".
Jon Riley, publisher at Quercus, said: "Polly Clark’s Larchfield is unusually brilliant and gripping. It has echoes of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child and AS Byatt’s Possession but is the work of a true novelist with her own voice."
Brown meanwhile likened it to "a modern-day Rebecca" and a novel "which wrestles with ideas and emotions in a way that readers of Kate Atkinson will recognise".
Clark, who has already published three poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books, called it "a dream come true" and "deeply satisfying" to be starting "a whole new creative journey".
Clark's poetry has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, won an Eric Gregory Award and twice been chosen by the Poetry Book Society as one of their books of the year. She produces the Literature Programme for Cove Park, Scotland's International Artist Residency Centre, programming a range of writers.
Quercus will publish the title as a hardback in March 2017.