'Incredible' scramble to sign Headline editor’s 'uplit' debut ends in six-figure deal

'Incredible' scramble to sign Headline editor’s 'uplit' debut ends in six-figure deal

Orion has pre-empted an "uplit" debut from Headline non-fiction editor Richard Roper in a "major" six-figure deal within 48 hours of submission.

Orion Fiction publishing director Clare Hey bought UK & Commonwealth rights in Something to Live For, and one further novel by Roper, from Laura Williams at PFD. Rights in the book - the story of one man and his struggle to fit in, and the lengths he goes to in order to pretend that he has something to live for - have also been pre-empted in the US, selling in a substantial deal to Tara Singh-Carlson at Putnam, with auctions or pre-empts in 11 countries so far.

Williams said the book had attracted "some of the highest and fastest international pre-empts" that PFD had ever seen, branding reaction to the "brilliant" and "heartwarming" debut "just incredible".

Described as perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman, David Nicholls and Graeme Simsion, at the story's heart is Andrew, a man who works with death for a living and is terrified by the prospect of having noone at the end - so he invents a more palateable truth. 

The blurb reads: "Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, Andrew's desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people. The truth is his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told in the past is about to catch up with him. Because in all Andrew’s efforts to not die alone, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start."

Hey said she "completely fell" for the book. "Richard writes with a mix of humour and emotion and his novel speaks to anyone who has ever felt like they don’t quite fit in. It’s a novel full of truth and hope," she said.

Roper is a non-fiction editor at Headline, where he works with authors such as James Acaster, Joel Dommett, Andrew O’Neill and Frank Turner. Something to Live For was inspired by an article he read about people whose job it is to follow up after people die alone.

Roper commented: "I am completely overwhelmed by the response to my book, and I am absolutely delighted that it has found a home in the UK with Clare and her amazing team at Orion Fiction, whose passion and enthusiasm absolutely blew me away."

Orion Fiction will publish Something to Live For in hardback in June 2019.