Weidenfeld & Nicolson has snapped up a “glowing-hot” debut from Niamh Campbell in a two-book deal.
Lettice Franklin, editorial director, acquired world rights to This Happy from Matthew Turner at RCW. It will be published in hardback, trade paperback, e-book and audio in summer 2020.
The synopsis states: “This Happy introduces us to Alannah. When she was twenty-three, Alanna met a man who was older than her - a married man - and fell in love. Soon after meeting, the couple spend three intense summer weeks in rural Ireland, overseen by the cottage's landlady. Six years later, when Alannah is newly married to another man, she sees the landlady from afar. Memories of those days spent in bliss, then torture, return to her. Along with the realisation that she has been waiting - all this time - to be rediscovered.”
Franklin said: “Niamh Campbell writes prose of exceptional literary quality – heady, rhythmic, witty and unique. Her debut, This Happy, is a fervid, glowing-hot novel about relationships and about how certain brief periods of our lives come to define us. It will be loved by readers of Eimear McBride, Ali Smith or Claire Louise Bennett and I cannot wait to publish it.”
Dublin-born Campbell’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Dublin Review, 3:AM, Banshee, gorse, Five Dials, and Tangerine. She was awarded a Next Generation literary bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, and annual literary bursaries in 2018 and 2019.
She explained: “This Happy started out as a series of monologue defending the entertainingly irresponsible, if not deranged, decisions love compels us to make, when we fall into it; its evolution into a novel meant examining these reflectively, and rigorously, but deciding to celebrate them anyway. I enjoyed giving voice to an especially unrepentant and colourful female narrator, writing at a time of often vertiginous changes in the way Irish women are allowed to live their lives, without constructing a role model or an example: Alannah is not a victim, but a girl who brings most of her troubles onto herself, and is happy enough with that. Working with Lettice has given this story a shape and poetic coherence that also introduced me to the weird joy of having readers, and excellent readers at that. I am excited about gaining many more.”