Transworld has pre-empted The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman by debut author Julietta Henderson in a "significant" six-figure deal.
Editor Molly Crawford bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Sue Armstrong at C&W. The novel will be published as a lead title for Transworld in July 2020 with a second untitled novel to follow. The novel was sold at auction in Germany to Droemer in a two-book deal and at auction in Holland to De Fontein. An auction is currently underway in Israel.
"The Funny Thing tells the story of Norman who, after losing his best friend, thinks their dream of performing at the Edinburgh Fringe is over," reads the synopsis. "His mother, Sadie, will do anything to make her son smile again – not only promising to get him on stage at the Fringe, but also to track down the four men who might all be the father he’s never met. It is a joyful and uplifting novel full of heart and warmth."
Crawford said: "From the moment I began reading Julietta’s novel I knew it was something special. Few writers are able to handle a subject like grief with such a reassuring humour and honesty. Julietta’s use of pathos is flawless and I was truly uplifted by this wonderfully whimsical tale about a boy and his mother making their way through grief together. It’s a gentle but powerful novel, a combination that is difficult to find and impossible to resist. I can’t wait to publish Julietta’s spectacular debut and get it into the hands of readers up and down the country."
Henderson added: "With Molly Crawford and Transworld, I know without a doubt that my book has found its perfect home. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the wonderful Transworld family and I’m so touched by their genuine love for Norman and his story. I’m excited to see what the future brings."
The debut book-club novel from full-time writer Henderson, "combines the poignancy found in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the whimsical structure of Mamma Mia! and the painfully realistic parental tenderness found in A Boy Made of Blocks", said Transworld.
Armstrong said: "Norman Foreman is one of those characters I instantly fell in love with and will never forget. A small boy with big hopes; the underdog reaching for the stars and you so want him to reach those stars! I’m thrilled Julietta’s gorgeous debut has found its home with Molly and the fantastic team at Transworld. This is the book with a big heart and I can’t wait to share it with the world."
Henderson is a full-time writer who has worked across everything from corporate and marketing copy to travel and feature articles as well as having ghost written photography books. In 2018 Julietta completed the Curtis Brown Creative six-month online novel writing course. She lives between the UK and Australia.