Katie Brown has made her first acqusition for Trapeze, a debut "up lit" novel by Lia Louis, acquired at auction.
Brown (pictured), commissioning editor at the imprint, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to Somewhere Close to Happy and one other book in a deal struck by Juliet Mushens at CaskieMushens.
Italian rights have been pre-empted by Rizzoli and Spanish rights sold at auction to Planeta. According to Trapeze, other deals are expected during London Book Fair.
The novel follows Lizzie James, who receives a letter from her best friend dated the day he disappeared, 12 years before. This triggers a series of events that forces Lizzie to confront her past, and discover what really happened the year her life fell apart. In equal measure laugh-out-loud funny and heart-achingly sad, it is a book about self-discovery, friendship and realising it’s never too late to move forward, the publisher said.
Brown said it was the kind of novel she had "dreamed of acquiring" when she joined Trapeze in a commissioning editor role from her position as senior publicity manager at Headline at the start of the year.
"It’s incredibly smart, witty and moving, with a hook that drew me in right away, and a conclusion that left me completely satisfied and uplifted," she said. "Lia Louis is a talent to watch in the future, and whose writing places her alongside the likes of Cecilia Ahern and Jojo Moyes. I envisage a very long and successful career for Lia, and I am thrilled she is coming to Trapeze."
Mushens added: "Somewhere Close to Happy is that rare thing – a novel which managed to make me belly-laugh, and also moved me to tears. Lia is a fresh new talent and I’m delighted that she’s been acquired by such an energetic editor and team."
Somewhere Close to Happy will be published by Trapeze in hardback and e-book in May 2019.
Louis, a writer from Hertfordshire, has been a regular blogger for Bloomsbury’s Writers & Artists since 2014. In 2015, she won ELLE magazine’s annual talent competition with her "contemporary love letter".
Other debuts based in and around letter-writing that are this year hoping to make an impact include Michael Joseph's lead debut for 2018, Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen, and Transworld's Meet Me at the Museum from Anne Youngson.