Barrington Stoke will publish The Humiliations of Welton Blake, a new teen novella from Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize winner Alex Wheatle.
Ailsa Bathgate, editorial director, acquired English world rights from Laura Susijn of The Susijn Agency.
Aimed at younger teens, the synopsis reads: "Welton Blake has done it — he’s asked out Carmella McKenzie, the best looking girl in school, and she’s only gone and said yes! But just as he thinks his luck, and life, is starting to change, Welton’s phone breaks, kickstarting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. Life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong..."
Bathgate commented: "There is a real shortage of genuinely funny books aimed at teenage boys, and it feels particularly joyful that this hilarious story is written by a black author with a main black male character whose problems arise not due to issues of discrimination but simply because he is a typical teenager facing the agonies of first love, family break-up and being picked on by a short moustachioed bully. Alex Wheatle is a supreme chronicler of the adolescent experience and this novella showcases his incredible talent for dynamic dialogue and also his capacity for making his readers cringe in recognition while roaring with laughter."
Wheatle added: "I guess with Welton Blake I wanted to write something that was witty and funny for a younger audience. It’s based a lot on hilarious moments that I know young people have navigated in their school lives and although at the time they were incredibly embarrassed, they now look back with laughter. Quite often as adults, we forget how painful and awkward it can be if the girl you fancy at school rejects you or if you struggle to ask her out on a date. Welton Blake reminds the reader in a fun way how terrifying that experience can be."
Wheatle is the author of the Crongton series (Atom). The second book in the series, Crongton Knights, won the 50th Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2016.
The Humiliations of Welton Blake will be published in January 2021.