Trapeze has signed Hayley Webster’s One Christmas Night, a book commissioned off the back of a series of tweets.
Exploring the importance of friendship, family and the value of community during the festive season, the book project came about after Webster shared in a series of tweets a memory from her childhood about an inexpensive gift that made her feel noticed. According to Trapeze, her "touching and poignant" account on Twitter, about how a single gesture can have huge significance, was shared over 50,000 times and featured on BBC News, Stylist, Metro and the Daily Mirror, prompting the publisher to get in touch.
Sam Eades, editorial director at Trapeze, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to One Christmas Night by Webster from Jo Unwin, to publish in October next year. The story follows the inhabitants of Newbury Street in Norwich as they are targeted by a burglar on Christmas Eve. As well as exploring "hope that come from acts of kindness", it also delves into the sadness and loneliness of the season, a side of Christmas that can be underrepresented in fiction and on screen.
Webster said: "It’s a dream come true to get the chance to combine my love of Christmas and all its specific and universal traditions we carry with us no matter our background, with a story that follows the difficulties many face at that time of year too. Loneliness, poverty, and the secrets people keep are at the heart of this story, but it’s a story laced throughout with the joy and hope that come from acts of kindness, and love. I’m delighted to work with Sam and Trapeze to make this happen and can’t wait to share the story of the people of Newbury Street with readers everywhere."
Eades said she hoped the book would help readers, for whom Christmas can be a lonely time, to "feel a little less alone". She commented: "Like thousands of others, Hayley’s series of tweets last year prompted a strong emotional response and I knew she was a very special talent. Her beautiful writing speaks to the kind and generous part of us all, yet importantly she isn’t afraid to tackle darker issues and themes."
Webster, who is a writer and teacher, published her first novel, Jar Baby, with Dexter Haven in 2012 and, as Hayley Scott, published three books in her Teacup House series for emerging readers with Usborne in 2018.
One Christmas Night will be published by Trapeze in paperback, e-book and audio in October 2019.