Sphere has won British journalist Celia Walden's "fiercely intelligent" thriller Payday at auction, in a "competitive" six-figure deal.
Rosanna Forte, editor at Sphere, acquired world rights to Payday and a further thriller by Walden from Eugenie Furniss at 42.
The book's plot follows three women as they attempt to bring the misogynistic partner of their firm to justice. "Things quickly get out of hand," the synopsis reads. "When they find themselves at the centre of a police investigation, their stories and motives are drawn into serious question."
Forte said: "Like the very best dilemma dramas, Payday wrongfoots you just when you think you’ve made up your mind about whose side you’re on. By turn enraging, witty and poignant in its truth, it is fiercely feminist in its message. But it also asks some serious questions about ends, means and what happens when an individual becomes totemic of the crimes of many. Celia is an enormous talent and I’m utterly delighted to be bringing her to Sphere."
Sphere will publish Payday in hardback in autumn 2021.
Walden is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and has written for a host of publications including Glamour, GQ, Elle, Porter Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Net-a-Porter’s the Edit, Grazia, Stylist, Standpoint, the Spectator and Russian Vogue. Prior to Payday, which is her thriller debut, she published the novel Harm's Way in 2008 and an account of George Best, Babysitting George, in 2011, both with Bloomsbury.
She said: "I’m so excited to be working with Sphere on crime thrillers, which have always been my favourite genre to read. The support and guidance of my brilliant editor Rosanna Forte and her team has been invaluable with Payday, and I can’t wait to get started on the next."
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