W&N pre-empts for Halle Butler novel

Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 09 January 2019

American rising star's The New Me secures deals on both sides of the Atlantic


Lettice Franklin, commissioning editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has pre-empted UK & Commonwealth Rights (excluding Canada) for The New Me by Halle Butler in a one-book deal struck by Laura Bonner at WME.

Butler (pictured) was picked as one of Granta’s 2017 Best Young American Novelists, and was one of National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 in 2017. The New Me will be published by W&N in 2019 in paperback, ebook and audio whilst Lindsey Schwoeri at Penguin US will publish in America.

According to the acquisition statement: 'Millie spends her days temping in a windowless office, ignored by the permanent employees – the one with a topknot, the one with a pedometer, the Tupperware girl. And her nights in an empty apartment, fixating on all the ways she might change her life.

'When the possibility of a permanent job offer arises, Millie’s dream life – involving yoga classes, bedtime rituals, nicer clothes and expensive groceries – seems within reach. But with it also comes the terrifying suspicion of just how hollow that vison might be.'

Butler said: "I've seen and felt so much anxiety around the idea of trackable progress, maybe what you'd call 'achievement.' Why am I not happy, why do I feel lost in my job, stiff around my friends, did I make the wrong choice years ago, should I try to make a new choice now, how do I even find options to choose from? I was working as a temp when I wrote The New Me and I wanted to sink as deeply as possible into these ideas – strip away everything good from my life, and lay bare the gremlin inside.'

Franklin said: "By the time I’d finished reading the first page of The New Me, I was addicted to Halle Butler’s prose and way of looking at the world. Savagely funny, devastatingly sad, frighteningly familiar – The New Me deserves to be a cult classic. Anyone who enjoyed Otessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation or Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End will adore this."

Butler lives in New York and has also written Jillian.

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