W&N has acquired Faber Academy graduate Stephanie Scott's Tokyo-set debut, The Sentence. It follows a six-figure deal in the US signed wth Doubleday.
Set in a Tokyo underworld, the debut focuses on an industry which exists to break up marriages, known as wakaresaseya. This business is composed of agents who, for a fee, can be hired by one spouse to seduce the other and provide grounds for divorce on favourable terms.
The Sentence tells the story of Takashi Nakamura, a wakaresaseya agent, who is hired by a man to seduce his wife, Rina. But then Rina and Takashi fall in love. So why, at the beginning of the story, is Takashi in prison, accused of Rina’s murder? Now, 20 years later, Rina’s daughter Sumiko decides to find out what really happened.
Scott, a graduate of the Faber Academy, was awarded a distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing at Oxford, as well as a BAJS Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on Japan. She has won the AM Heath Prize, the Arvon Jerwood Prize for Literature, the National Centre for Writing Inspires Award and was runner-up for 2017’s Bridport First Novel Award for an early draft of The Sentence.
W&N's publisher Kirsty Dunseath bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Antony Harwood, with publication set for early summer 2019. A six-figure deal for US rights has been signed with Doubleday, French rights have been acquired by J C Lattes and other translation rights deals are currently being negotiated.
Dunseath said: "This is a beautiful, touching love story as well as an exploration of human frailty and the tensions between family duty and personal freedom. Stephanie’s writing is exquisite and this story unfurls in unexpected ways as Sumiko tries to make sense of her mother’s past. We are absolutely delighted to welcome Stephanie to W&N."
Scott said: "I am very excited to be working with Kirsty and her team at W&N, their passion and enthusiasm for The Sentence is wonderful and I am so pleased that my novel has found such a perfect home."