Scribner UK is to publish Dreamland, a novel of "originality, urgency and great importance" by Rosa Rankin-Gee.
Chris White, editorial director at Scribner UK, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to the novel at auction, from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
Dreamland is set in a near-future Margate where disenfranchisement is surging. Narrated by Chance, who comes of age at the time of extraordinary social change, it is a story of a family for whom "London is too expensive to be the future". Paid to leave the capital and relocate to the sea, they arrive as national cohesion is on the verge of collapse and London is slowly separating itself from the rest of the country.
The synopsis further explains: "Chance relates her experience of life on the edge with exhilarating intensity. There is no safety net and as societal norms fade, it is instinct, ingenuity and human connection that take over. Margate, the seaside resort town on Kent’s Isle of Thanet — the home of Tracey Emin, the site of wide-skied Turner sunsets and a place of rollercoaster-ish highs and lows — makes for a fascinating, deftly-drawn setting. Dreamland is a novel about social polarisation and inequality but, most of all, it is about love forged and tested by extremes."
Commenting on the acquisition, White said: "With this novel Rosa has done something extraordinary. You could describe Dreamland as dystopian but that doesn’t really capture how, in the reading, it feels totally (and socially) realistic and utterly contemporary. The writing is deeply humane and sometimes bitingly funny, while the characters feel completely real; the narrator, Chance, is a true literary one-off whom readers will take to their hearts and think about for a long time after turning the last page. It is a work of originality, urgency and great importance, and I am incredibly proud that Scribner gets to be its publisher."
Rankin-Gee said: "After seven years of writing, and rewriting, Dreamland, I couldn’t be happier that it’s found a home with Chris White at Scribner. Second novels are notoriously hard and this one was no exception — but Chris helped shepherd the book to completion with insight and clarity. Working with the team at Scribner has been brilliant."
About Dreamland, she said, “I live on the Kentish coast; it’s one of my favourite places on earth. As coastlines so often are, it’s a place of extremes — of beauty, hope, holidays, but also of changeability, a bellwether for what’s happening in the rest of the country. Current politics make it hard to write the future, but Dreamland is set close to home, a ‘what could happen next’ based on social policies already in play. At the same time, though the political backdrop can be bleak — brutal, in many ways — Dreamland is also an adventure story: a love story between two young women, and, strange as it may sound for a novel that could be described as a Brit-stopia, a love letter to a place.”
Rankin-Gee lives between Ramsgate and south London. She is the author of The Last Kings of Sark (Virago), which won Shakespeare & Company’s inaugural Paris Literary Prize.
Her work has appeared in Esquire, Vogue, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Paris Review Daily. She is the recipient of the Vermont Studios Center Fellowship 2015, The Hedgebrook Gertrude Stein Women Authoring Change Fellowship 2012, and has been included in Esquire Magazine 75 Brilliant Young Brits list 2010 and the British Council’s 100 Future Leaders of Creative & Cultural Industry. She received a Society of Authors K Blundell Award to finish Dreamland.
Scribner will publish in hardback in spring 2021.