Sceptre will publish a new book from David Mitchell in June 2020 as part of a "global publishing event"—six years after his last full-length novel The Bone Clocks (Sceptre).
Utopia Avenue will be launched with an “unmissable” marketing campaign and released simultaneously on 2nd June by Random House in the US and Knopf in Canada.
His new book, part of a pre-existing deal, follows fictional group Utopia Avenue, “the strangest British band you've never heard of”. The synopsis explains: “Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief and blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms, to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968.
“David Mitchell's new novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue; of riots in the streets and revolutions in the head; of drugs, thugs, madness, love, sex, death, art; of the families we choose and the ones we don't; of fame's Faustian pact and stardom's wobbly ladder. Can we change the world in turbulent times, or does the world change us? Utopia means 'nowhere' but could a shinier world be within grasp, if only we had a map?”
Mitchell has sold 1.4 million books for £9.8m through Nielsen, with Cloud Atlas (Sceptre) his bestseller, moving 545,846 paperback copies. His top five paperbacks have all amassed sales of over 100,000 copies. His most recent book, Slade House, which started life as a Twitter story and was a companion piece to The Bone Clocks, sold just over 50,000 copies in paperback
He has been shortlisted for the Booker twice and contributed to Netflix series “Sense8” alongside the upcoming new “Matrix” film.
Mitchell said: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture’: one famous maxim, attributed to dozens from Miles Davis to Laurie Anderson to Frank Zappa. My new novel Utopia Avenue grew out of the aphorism, too. Songs (mostly) use language, but music plugs directly into something below or above language. Can a novel made of words (and not fitted with built-in speakers or Bluetooth) explore the word-less mysteries of music, and music's impact on people and the world? How? Is it possible to dance about architecture after all? Utopia Avenue is my rather hefty stab at an answer. Thank you in advance if you read it. I hope you enjoy the ride.”
Publishing director Carole Welch said: "There is nothing like the arrival of a new manuscript by David Mitchell to make the Sceptre team fizz with excitement. What worlds will he transport us to this time? What wizardry will be used to beguile us? And which characters from his previous novels will be making cameo appearances?
“Utopia Avenue has more than fulfilled our expectations. It has everything that has made David Mitchell such a feted and beloved novelist since his debut 20 years ago - captivating storytelling, ambitious scope, scintillating prose, and a fiendishly clever structure – while broaching new ground. David has turned his unique eye on the dark end of the 1960s to take the reader on a wild, musical, extraordinary journey.”