Weidenfeld & Nicolson acquires OUT OF TOUCH by Haleh Agar, a powerful family story of intimacy and betrayal

Jennifer Kerslake, Editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) for OUT OF TOUCH, a debut novel by Haleh Agar from Camilla Bolton at Darley Anderson.


OUT OF TOUCH is the story of estranged siblings Ava and Michael, and their father Lee, who neither has seen in twenty years. When Lee writes to say he’s dying and wants to meet, he throws their lives into turmoil. The siblings return home to London – Ava from her mother’s bungalow in rural Derbyshire, and Michael from New York, where he has made a new life for himself with his wife and son. There, they must confront the trauma of their childhood, including the scandal that led Lee – once the esteemed editor of a national newspaper – to flee the country.

Jennifer Kerslake, editor, said: ‘OUT OF TOUCH is gorgeously complex, a novel about a fractured family, their secrets, betrayals and what it takes to forgive, and an examination of our need for intimacy in a world of borders and seclusion. Haleh writes beautifully, probing the heart of modern family with sharp sensitivity and wit. I am so excited to be working with her.’

Haleh Agar, author, said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that my debut has found the perfect home with W&N and that I have the support of such a passionate and talented editor and team. OUT OF TOUCH explores our need for intimacy, our longing to feel connected to ourselves and others. Though they go about it in different ways, siblings Ava and Michael are desperate to reconnect, but they must first accept their vulnerabilities. In a society that often tells us to overcome our weaknesses, it’s easy to feel alone, but I hope my book contributes to changing conversations around vulnerability.’

Camila Bolton, agent, said: ‘From the very first moment I read OUT OF TOUCH Haleh captured my soul, and to know this reaction is so loudly and proudly echoed in Jennifer and the team at W&N is incredible. As a writer Haleh takes your hand and effortlessly leads you into the most intimate, wry and at times heartbreaking moments of two characters’ lives as they negotiate not just what it means to be estranged from family, but also lost from your sense of self and worth.’

Haleh Agar was born and raised with her two sisters in Canada. She left to teach English Literature at international schools in Bahrain, Singapore and most recently London, where she now lives. Haleh has been published in literary magazines and journals, including Mslexia, Viva Magazine, Fincham Pressand Lamplight Magazine. She won the Brighton Prize for a piece of flash fiction, and her narrative essay ‘On Writing Ethnic Stories’ won the London Magazine’s inaugural essay competition.


W&N will publish OUT OF TOUCH in hardback, ebook and audio in spring 2020.