Hachette Australia and Weidenfeld & Nicolson jointly acquire THE PERFORMANCE by Claire Thomas

Claire Thomas
Credit: Meredith O’Shea

Hachette Australia and Weidenfeld & Nicolson are delighted to announce the acquisition of ANZ and UK rights to THE PERFORMANCE by Claire Thomas, from Clare Forster at Curtis Brown Australia in a 5-way publishing auction.

Spanning one night, THE PERFORMANCE follows three women in the dark of the theatre and has much to say about womanhood in the contemporary moment, the complexities of mothering and being mothered, the horror of our dying planet, the value of art and the acts we all undertake to get through each day.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson Editorial Director, Federico Andornino: ‘Reading THE PERFORMANCE was the equivalent of a brilliant night at the theatre, that moment when you become so enthralled with a show that you forget your surroundings and you lose yourself completely in the story being told. In this age of endless entertainment opportunities we all know how rare it is to feel that kind of connection, and I am in awe of Claire’s skill and empathy: she might be a young writer but she’s got the touch of a true master. I am also particularly excited to be sharing this project with Robert and the team at Hachette Australia, and I can’t wait to help them introduce Claire’s brilliant novel to the world.’

Hachette Australia Head of Literary, Robert Watkins: ‘THE PERFORMANCE is an extraordinary achievement, a novel that spans just one night at the theatre and at the same time allows us to wholly inhabit three very different characters. I can’t wait to share this fabulous insight into the human condition with readers everywhere and I am so very pleased to have Federico and my colleagues at Weidenfeld & Nicolson on board with us as we do so. THE PERFORMANCE is sure to be one of the most talked about literary novels of 2021.’

About THE PERFORMANCE: On a hot summer night in Melbourne, as bushfires rage in the nearby hills, three women find themselves in the dark of a theatre. Watching a play, they each grapple with their anxieties and loves, their truths and pretensions.

Margot is a successful literature professor on the cusp of retirement. Her deliberate and careful remembering is fractured as she gradually confronts the difficult realities and violence of her personal relationships.

Ivy is a philanthropist approaching middle age, attending the play with an old friend. The evening, with its unexpected encounters, forces her to consider the strangeness of life and its surprising privilege, as well as her accumulated assumptions and shame.

Summer is a young drama student working as a theatre usher. Her girlfriend’s family is caught up in the bushfires, and on this night her anxieties – about her own identity and about the state of the earth – come to a head.

After this intense night, each woman will go back out into the world with a different understanding.

About Claire Thomas: Claire Thomas is a Melbourne writer. Her writing has been published in The Age, Australian Book Review, Meanjin, Island and Overland. Her acclaimed first novel was FUGITIVE BLUE (2008), which won the Dobbie Literary Award  and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. She has received other distinctions,  including an Australia Council for the Arts New Work grant  and the Felix Meyer Scholarship.

Claire holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne where she teaches literary studies and creative writing. She has three young children and works from a tiny shared studio at the Abbotsford Convent.

THE PERFORMANCE by Claire Thomas will be published in the UK in hardback, ebook and audio in early 2021.