Weidenfeld & Nicolson has secured rights to Here Comes Trouble, a new novel by Simon Wroe.
Wroe is the author behind Chop Chop, his highly acclaimed first novel that was shortlisted for the 2014 Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won a Betty Trask Award.
Sophie Buchan, senior commissioning editor at W&N, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Sue Armstrong at Conville & Walsh.
Here Comes Trouble is described as "a coming-of-age novel with a significant twist", set in "a distant country where revolution is afoot". Its protagonist is a 17-year-old "dreamer" Ellis Dau, who, following expulsion from school, is sent to work with his father who is editor of The Chronicle: "the last bastion of free speech in their strange, strange land". The paper is under threat, though - from heavy-handed policemen, mysterious revolutionaries, and the resident Russian billionaire.
The plot follows narrator Ellis - pitched as "Holden Caulfield by way of Gary Shteyngart" - as he navigates his "collapsing, blacked-out" city, not to mention his feelings for the oligarch’s beautiful daughter, and comes to realises that some things are worth fighting for.
Buchan said: "Simon Wroe’s first novel Chop Chop announced him as a once-in-a-generation comic talent. His second is even better. Here Comes Trouble is that rare thing: a book that marries serious intent with quote-out-loud comedy. He’s taken the madcap imagination readers loved in Chop Chop out of Camden, and deposited it in a place the Foreign Office would advise you not to visit. The result is one of the fizziest, most distinctive books imaginable. I’m over the moon to bring him to the W&N list."
Wroe, a freelance journalist and former chef, interned at the last independent newspaper in Kyrgyzstan as part of his research for Here Comes Trouble. He said: "All the time I've worked in the newspaper industry, the narrative has been one of terminal decline. With Here Comes Trouble, I wanted to explore these concerns from a new angle, drawing the recognisable restrictions and hypocrisies of the modern age from a crumbling city and the human lives at its centre. W&N’s enthusiasm for the book has been overwhelming, and I'm hugely excited to be working with them."
Armstrong said: "Simon Wroe is one of the most distinctive, talented writers out there and I’m thrilled that Sophie Buchan and her fabulous team at W&N will be publishing Here Comes Trouble. I couldn’t wish for a more perfect home for Simon."
Hardback publication of Here Comes Trouble is slated for July 2017.