Borough Press has acquired US author Steven Rowley’s The Editor about a struggling author who sells his novel to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Carla Josephson, commissioning editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada in a one-book deal from Charlotte Seymour at Andrew Nurnberg Associates, on behalf of Rob Weisbach Creative Management.
Borough will publish The Editor in original paperback on 4th April, in tandem with the US publisher, Putnam.
Set in 1990s New York, the novel follows struggling writer James Smale. He finally gets his big break, the synopsis reads, when his novel sells to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. But when a long-held family secret is revealed, he realises his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page.
Onassis, the former first lady, worked as an editor at Viking in the US for two years in the 1970's before spending 15 years at Doubleday.
The film rights for The Editor have been acquired by Fox 2000. Greg Berlanti, director of “Love Simon”, is set to direct and produce the film. Rowley will write the screenplay and executive produce.
Rowley’s first novel, Lily and the Octopus (S&S UK), has sold in 20 languages, according to Borough, and Amazon Studios has acquired feature film rights. He has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist and screenwriter and is based in LA.
Josephson said “I was a massive fan of Steven's debut, Lily and the Octopus, and am delighted to have the chance to publish him at Borough. Written in warm, intimate prose, The Editor is a big-hearted novel about family, ambition and how a very unlikely relationship changes a young author's life. Steven is brilliant at creating characters you care about deeply and I can't wait to share this wonderful novel with readers.”
Rowley added: “I’m thrilled to share The Editor with UK readers, who so warmly embraced my first novel Lily and the Octopus. While the Kennedys are as close as we come to American royalty, the Camelot myth that makes them endure is entirely British. But at its heart, the book is a love story between a mother and a son without a famous last name; my hope is that heartfelt relationship, as well as the struggle to know and define our own family histories, resonates with readers everywhere.”