Weidenfeld & Nicolson has landed the “raw and powerful” new novel by prize-winning Australian writer Charlotte Wood.
Commissioning editor Federico Andornino bought UK and Commonwealth rights for The Weekend from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates on behalf of Jenny Darling & Associates. Hardback, ebook and audio versions will be published as a lead title in summer 2020, with a mass market paperback the following spring. North American rights were pre-empted by Sarah McGrath, vice president and editor-in-chief at Riverhead.
The novel, set over three hot days in a house overlooking the ocean, examines friendship and betrayal. The synopsis states: “Jude, Wendy and Adele have been friends for decades. Now in their seventies, they gather to say goodbye to their friend Sylvie who has recently passed away. Sylvie was the thread keeping the four women together and with her gone Jude, Wendy and Adele struggle to remember why they have remained friends all these years. But when disaster strikes and secrets are revealed, their friendship will turn out to be the only thing keeping them alive.”
Wood is one of Australia’s leading authors, with five novels and two books of non-fiction to her name. Her novel The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin) won the 2016 Stella Prize, the 2016 Australia Indie Book of the Year and Novel of the Year and was joint winner of the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction.
She said: “The Weekend explores ideas of friendship and growing old. How can we continue to find life interesting? How do we retain any dignity in a culture that so despises ageing women? And if we become more and more solidly ourselves as we age, what does this mean for friendship? I’m so delighted that Federico and W&N find these questions as urgent as I do, and that they’ll be guiding The Weekend into the world.”
Andornino added: "The Weekend is literary fiction with huge appeal, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies as written by Alice Munro, and Charlotte Wood is a complete genius. She explores the lives of older women in a way that’s rarely seen in contemporary fiction: these are people who have been discarded by society, by their colleagues, even by their loved ones, betrayed by their failing bodies, treated with contempt, constantly patronized. And yet they are fierce and full of life, and readers will find it impossible to look away.”