A debut short story collection by Cathy Thomas has gone to Virago in a three-way auction.
Publishing director Anna Kelly acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Islanders, a collection of linked stories, from Carrie Plitt at Felicity Bryan Associates. It will be published in June 2022.
Moving from the year 2000 to 2019, Islanders depicts a group of closely intertwined characters living on the island of Guernsey over a period of 20 years. The blurb reads: “A good girl who waits in a carpark for the bad boy who will rid her of her virginity; a driving instructor who lives for his lessons with his favourite teenaged pupil; a hen do that sloshes with drink, secrets and regret: these stories of love, friendship, betrayal, loneliness and sex tear back the façade of this small community to reveal the messy, entangled lives of its inhabitants and their roiling emotions.”
Kelly said: “Both gritty and gorgeously tender, Islanders is powered by the deep yearnings of its characters. Through their stumbling attempts to be understood, to connect with each other and to be happy, Cathy Thomas masterfully explores how their experiences are shaped by place, circumstance – and each other. This is a stunningly empathetic work of fiction, rich in heart-wrenching pathos. Every page sparkles with wry intelligence.’
Thomas grew up in the south-west and Guernsey and now lives in London. Her short fiction has appeared in the Stinging Fly, Banshee and Litro.
She said: “I’m so thrilled to be working with Anna and the brilliant team at Virago on Islanders. It feels astonishing to me that this book will soon be in the hands of readers, and I have many people to thank for their support along the way.”