Lee Brackstone, who is setting up a new music imprint at Orion Books, has acquired his first fiction title for Weidenfeld & Nicolson, where he will be building a list of adventurous literary writers. Brackstone pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in The Octopus Manand a second book by Jasper Gibson from Clare Conville at C&W.
The Octopus Manis narrated by Tom, a man with a schizophrenia diagnosis who hears the voice of Malamock, also known as the Octopus God. Partly set in a psychiatric institution, the novel explores Tom’s co-dependent relationship with this voice, to whom he is accountable and in thrall, with a deft poignancy and dark humour. Gibson is the author of one previous novel, A BRIGHT MOON FOR FOOLS, which was self-published and then picked up by Simon & Schuster.
Brackstone said: ‘This book has such heart, integrity and intelligence. It marries a propulsive narrative engagement with a distinct literary style. I was completely knocked out by the credibility of the voice and I have a strong sense this is the kind of literary novel that will speak to a very broad demographic. I’m thrilled to get some runs on the board at W&N. It is such a confident and vibrant place to be right now.’
Gibson said: ‘It means a great deal to be Lee’s first acquisition for W&N. If nothing else this novel is about belief, so I am honoured and excited to be part of W&N’s leap of faith. It was a difficult book to write, on a challenging and serious subject, but if everyone in the world buys a copy that means I can get a giant mechanical giraffe.’
Jasper Gibson was born in Derbyshire in 1975. He is the co-founder of thepoke.co.uk. His first novel A Bright Moon For Fools, set in Chavez-era Venezuela, was published in 2013. He lives in East Sussex with his wife and two children.
THE OCTOPUS MAN will be published by W&N in Spring 2021 in hardback and ebook. The C&W rights team will be selling international rights at Frankfurt.