Transworld has pre-empted an “explosive” debut novel from Katie Bishop, in a major six-figure two-book deal.
Commissioning editor Tash Barsby and publishing director Frankie Gray bought world all languages for The Girls of Summer and another novel from Ariella Feiner at United Agents. Sarah Cantin at St Martin’s Press swiftly pre-empted North American rights. It will be published by Bantam Press in hardback, e-book and audio in 2023, and be the lead debut for Transworld that year.
The publisher said it has been pitched as upmarket reading-group fiction for fans of Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa (Fourth Estate) and Helen Walsh's The Lemon Grove (Headline). The Girls of Summer follows Rachel, a married woman in her mid-thirties who has never been able to let go of the all-consuming love affair she had with an older man while travelling around the Greek islands as a teenager. But when Rachel unexpectedly reconnects with another girl who was on the island that summer, dark and long-suppressed secrets begin to rise to the surface that force Rachel to re-evaluate everything she remembers about the man who stole her heart, and the lies she told in the name of love.
Barsby said: "The Girls of Summer is one of the most affecting and powerful books, let alone debuts, that I’ve read in a long time. Katie effortlessly weaves together the two strands of Rachel’s story to create a compelling and urgent read that I simply could not tear myself away from. She is an extraordinary talent, and I’m so thrilled to have welcomed her to the Transworld list."
Gray said Bishop's writing was "assured, compulsive and bold" and that Transworld felt "very lucky" to be launching her career in the UK. Cantin noted that the book "has something important to say about a post-#MeToo world – a landscape in which many women are re-examining memories and experiences that they’ve kept locked away, and are only now considering in a new light and through a sharper lens".
Bishop commented: "It’s a dream come true to have found such brilliant publishers in Transworld and St Martin’s Press. As soon as I spoke to Tash, Frankie, and Sarah about The Girls of Summer I was struck by their enthusiasm and passion for the project. I feel extremely fortunate to be working with a team that have such an ambitious and exciting vision for my book, and I’m very grateful to my fantastic agent Ariella Feiner for finding The Girls of Summer the right home."