W&N to publish 'savage' novel from Halle Butler

W&N to publish 'savage' novel from Halle Butler

W&N has acquired Jillian, the "savage, hilarious" first novel about two employees at a gastroenterologist's office by Halle Butler.

Lettice Franklin, editorial director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights (excluding Canada) in a one-book deal struck by Fiona Baird at WME, on behalf of Claudia Ballard at WME. Laura Bonner at WME is handling foreign rights.

Jillian was originally published by Chicago-based indie Curbside Splendor in 2015. W&N published Butler’s second novel, The New Me, in March 2019.

Jillian introduces readers to two colleagues. The publisher's synopsis reads: "Megan is only 24 but her life feels like a dead end. Working as a gastroenterologist’s receptionist and resenting the success and happiness of her friends, the only thing that makes her feel better is obsessively critiquing the behaviour of her colleague, Jillian. A grotesquely optimistic 35-year-old single mother, Jillian’s chirpy positivity obscures her mounting struggles – until her downfall is precipitated by the purchase of a dog..."

The book will publish with W&N in paperback, e-book and audio on 9th July. Lindsey Schwoeri at Penguin US will publish Jillian on 7th July.

Franklin said: "Halle Butler is fast establishing herself as one of the finest chroniclers of modern life and its discontents – as well as one of the funniest, sharpest writers of her generation. Jillian is a novel for anyone who has faked enthusiasm or awwws at a photo of their colleague’s puppy, brandished by the photocopier. It is totally brilliant, and I cannot wait to share it with readers."

New York City-based Butler said: "I think this book is funny, but also sad. The characters don't know what to do, but they know something isn't right. Go easy on them. Have fun with them. They like you! They need you."