W&N is publishing Lucie Britsch’s "blackly hilarious" debut Sad Janet.
Emad Akhtar, publisher for Orion Fiction and Olivia Barber, assistant editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for in a two-book deal from Peggy Boulos Smith at Writers House, on behalf of Stacy Testa. North American rights were sold at auction to Cal Morgan, executive editor at Riverhead.
Sad Janet will be published on the W&N list in trade paperback, e-book and audio in June 2020 and in hardback in September 2020, with the mass market paperback to follow in 2021.
Described by the publisher as "a provocative and bitingly funny antidote to our obsession with 'happiness'", the book's synopsis reads: "Britsch’s heroine, Janet, works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods, where she can wear a giant coat, avoid human contact, and embrace her sadness. When her doctor offers her a new pill that promises one day off from being sad, even Janet is curious – but dabbling in happiness turns out to have unexpected side-effects for everyone involved."
Barber said: "Sad Janet is razor-sharp, darkly funny and profound – with her offbeat humour and irresistibly deadpan wisdom, Lucie Britsch has created a heroine for our times. At some point in our lives we have all felt like Janet, and Lucie’s brilliant debut is an unexpectedly moving defence of staying true to your feelings in a difficult world that wants us to seem 'happy'. I’m hugely excited to be bringing such a talented new voice to the W&N family."
Britsch worked in a dog shelter after graduating and her writing has appeared in Catapult Story, Vol 1 Brooklyn, Split Lip magazine and the Sun magazine.
She said of the deal for her first novel: "I wanted to write a big bold book about being who you are. I wanted to write about how hard it is to be human but that you have to laugh about it because everything's fucked most of the time but we will get through it together. I'm over the moon that Janet and me have found a home at W&N and can't wait to get her out in the world."