Transworld has scooped the debut novel from performer, writer and Faber Academy alumna Helen Paris in a two-book deal.
Darcy Nicholson, commissioning editor, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, including audio and e-book, from Judith Murray at Greene and Heaton. Lost Property will be published in Spring 2021 in hardcover as a lead title on the Doubleday list
The synopsis explains: “Lost Property introduces us to Dot Watson who works in the Lost Property Office where the items she catalogues are not the only things left behind. When she sees the chance to reunite an old man with his late wife’s purse, she cannot help but go way out of her way to help soothe this grief. What she doesn’t know, is that in helping Mr Appleby, she is also about to help herself. This is the perfect slice of uplit; a poignant, funny and heart-warming novel from an exciting new voice in fiction.”
Nicholson said: “It is such a privilege for Transworld to be the ones publishing Helen Paris’ first two novels. The team and I were utterly taken with Helen’s view of the world and her talent for putting that world on the page, Dot Watson has already taken up residence in all of our hearts, I so look forward to readers meeting her too in 2021.”
Paris is co-artistic director of London-based theatre company, Curious, with a 20-year career writng and performing shows that have toured nationally and internationally. She is also a published academic and recently left her post as a theatre professor at Stanford University to return to the UK and devote herself to writing full time.
Explaining how the novel came about, she said: “I was at the TfL Lost Property Office at Baker Street for a week with permission some years ago observing as research for an art project about loss, change and regeneration called 'Lost and Found' and the place itself stuck with me way beyond the time span of that project as did the care and commitment of the Lost Property Office staff. Over the years the Lost Property Office persistently took up residence in my imagination until Dot Watson finally tapped me on the shoulder and politely enquired if I might have left something behind there, and indeed, I had.”
She added: “I am ridiculously lucky to be represented by Judith Murray at Greene and Heaton and I am thrilled to be published by Darcy Nicholson and her wonderful team at Transworld who publish some of my absolute favourite authors: Kate Atkinson, Lissa Evans, Rachel Joyce. With Transworld I think Lost Property has found the perfect home.”