Simon & Schuster has acquired the debut novel of Australian author Aoife Clifford.
Carla Josephson, assistant fiction editor at Simon & Schuster UK, bought UK, Commonwealth and Australia and New Zealand rights to Clifford’s All These Perfect Strangers from Rebecca Ritchie of Curtis Brown in London and Clare Forster at Curtis Brown in Australia.
The novel tells the story of Penelope ‘Pen’ Sheppard, whose young life is weighed down with scandal and tragedy until university offers her the chance to run away from the past and reinvent herself among perfect strangers. Little by little, through Pen's flawed narration and diary entries, her secrets and lies come to light and a dangerous dilemma unfolds, "twisting and turning until the very last page."
Josephson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers. I received it on a Friday and read it in one satisfying gulp, barely coming up for air. Pen is a brilliantly unreliable narrator who pulls the reader into her world where the truth is constantly being revised and no one is who they seem. This is a unique and beautifully written debut and I’m delighted to welcome Aoife to S&S.”
Larissa Edwards, head of publishing at S&S Australia, added: “I am so proud to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers on our list. Aoife is a wonderful and talented writer whose novel haunted me for days after the first reading. It is hard to believe this is a debut when you are drawn into the mystery and intrigue of this self-assured novel. This is certain to gain a wide readership amongst Australian readers.”
All These Perfect Strangers is Clifford's first novel, but she has already won the two Australian short story crime writing prizes: the Ned Kelly - SD Harvey Short Story Award and the Scarlet Stiletto. She was also shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger. In 2013, she was awarded an Australian Society of Author's mentorship for All These Perfect Strangers. She said it was “a dream come true” to be published by S&S.
S&S UK will publish All These Perfect Strangers in paperback original in June 2016, while S&S Australia will publish it in trade paperback in March 2016. Catherine Drayton at Inkwell is handling North American rights.