Sarah Winman has been poached from Headline: her new novel, about a young British soldier who inherits the top two floors of an old palazzo, will be published by Fourth Estate. Publishing director Helen Garnons-Williams acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Robert Caskie at Caskie Mushens in a two-book deal.
Winman’s three previous novels, When God Was a Rabbit, A Year of Marvellous Ways and Tin Man were all published in the UK by Headline. Her new novel, currently untitled, is "set across four decades until the early 1980s... It is the story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood—and the ghost of E M Forster," Fourth Estate said. The HarperCollins imprint will publish the novel as its lead fiction title in hardback in spring 2021.
"Sarah is one of the finest literary novelists writing today and we could not be more delighted to welcome her to Fourth Estate," Garnons-Williams said. "She is a writer of remarkable insight, generosity, wit and empathy, and through her beautifully crafted novels we see the world with fresh eyes."
Winman said: "Everyone at Fourth Estate has been so generous in their welcome which, of course, makes this transition easier. I have long been an admirer of Helen’s work and her ability to bring out the best in a writer. To be working with her on my new book is incredibly exciting. I value the opportunity."
The author grew up in Essex and lives in London. She attended the Weber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and TV. Her début, When God Was a Rabbit, has sold more than 350,000 units in the UK across print editions. Winman’s most recent novel, Tin Man, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award in 2018. Her three books have collectively earned just over £2.7m through Nielsen BookScan UK.