Quercus Fiction has acquired The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, a "deeply poignant" and "compelling" debut novel by US author Dawnie Walton about a rock and roll duo and the night that defined the peak of their stardom.
Publisher Cassie Browne acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) at auction from Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit UK on behalf of PJ Mark at Janklow US. Quercus will publish in paperback in April 2021 alongside 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster in the US.
A fictional oral history, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev tells the story of Opal Jewel, a Black American singer, who is discovered by British singer/songwriter Neville Charles. When Opal agrees to move to New York City in the early 1970s to make music with Nev, an unlikely rock and roll duo is born. Decades later, as Opal & Nev consider reuniting on a festival stage, the infamous concert that first launched them into a brief, blazing spotlight receives renewed attention—and scrutiny.
Browne said: "Dawnie Walton’s novel is one of the most transporting and immersive debut novels I’ve read in a very long time. In Opal Jewel she introduces us to one of the most fascinating and bold artists that never actually was. Opal’s story takes in the intersection of many political issues, including the racial and gender politics at play in 1970s American culture, the portrayal of a deeply flawed music industry, as well as the modern-day depiction of a music magazine that has failed to progress fast enough. I was willing Opal to be a real-life icon and I cannot wait to press this novel into the hands of many readers, who I know will be uplifted by the artist that is Opal Jewel."
Walton said: "I’m delighted and overwhelmed that my first novel, inspired in part by music I’ve loved out of London, Liverpool, Manchester, and elsewhere, has found a UK home with the fantastic team at Quercus. In the fictional duo of Opal & Nev, I hope a broad spectrum of readers around the world will discover characters who feel at once relatable and larger-than-life, and whose inevitable tensions reflect truths about power, representation, and the fickle nature of fame."