US rights in Phoenix's publishing debut, Fault Lines by British-Japanese author Emily Itami, have been snapped up in a six-figure deal.
The book, which is the first title published on Francesca Main’s newly launched imprint, due out in the UK in May 2021, was scooped in the US by Kate Nintzel at Custom House, an imprint of William Morrow, HarperCollins.
Nintzel, executive editor, said: "I devoured it in two sittings. Reading Fault Lines felt to me a lot like discovering Sally Rooney – Emily has a similarly keen insight into character and motivation, and an innate, instinctive sense for the moments that build and destroy a relationship ... I am thrilled to add her to the line-up of new Custom House writers."
Italian rights have also sold, to Mondadori, while other further deals are expected "imminently".
Main originally acquired world rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates in a two-book deal, describing the novel as "'Brief Encounter' set in contemporary Tokyo – a witty, sharp and moving story of modern love from a writer to watch".
Itami grew up in Tokyo before moving to London. She is published widely as a freelance journalist and travel writer.
The imprint launch and titles will be supported by a fully integrated PR and marketing strategy and regular online events, according to Orion, promising Phoenix will also produce a monthly newsletter, 'Annotations', featuring essays, interviews, book recommendations and behind-the-scenes insights as well as proof giveaways, exclusive material and event links.