W&N wins Sweeney's 'beguiling' short story collection at auction

W&N wins Sweeney's 'beguiling' short story collection at auction

W&N is publishing Irish author Cathy Sweeney's debut collection of short stories, described as a "look at the world from a lopsided perspective", following a "heated" auction.

The collection, Modern Times, publishes in Ireland this month with Stinging Fly, and W&N will follow suit in July 2020. Lettice Franklin, editorial director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the short story collection plus a novel, Breakdown, from Matthew Turner at the RCW Literary Agency.

Written as "an attempt to catalogue not only [the world's] weirdness and its banality, but also how hilarious, and touching, it can be", according to Sweeney, it includes stories about a couple who administer electric shocks to each other, to be reminded of what love is, and about a world where you wake up one day and notice that one by one people are turning blue.

Franklin said: "I have been started and thrilled by Cathy’s extraordinary voice. These are stories of the very highest quality, stories that are wry, beguiling, unsettling and emotionally charged. They are reminiscent of Lydia Davis, Angela Carter and Daisy Johnson, but they are also truly unlike anything I have read before."