W&N acquires DEAD SOULS, the debut novel from award-winning poet Sam Riviere

Sam RiviereLettice Franklin, Editorial Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in DEAD SOULS by Sam Riviere, at auction, from Anna Webber at United Agents.

DEAD SOULS follows the course of a single big night – most of which is spent in the bar at the Travelodge just off Waterloo Bridge. There the unnamed narrator meets Solomon Wiese, a poet who has been ostracized by the community after failing to pass a technology-based authenticity test. Solomon Wiese’s account of his rise and fall is a story that takes him the entire night and the remainder of the novel to tell. It is a story that touches on – amongst many other things – childhood encounters with ‘nothingness’, a retreat to the east of England, a love affair with a woman carrying a signpost, and Wiese’s plans for a triumphant return to the capital, through the theft of poems, illegal war profits and faked social media accounts – plans in which the narrator discovers he is obscurely implicated…

Lettice Franklin, editor said: ‘Already a highly acclaimed poet, Sam Riviere is a writer of the rarest talent. With DEAD SOULS he has written a novel of profound intelligence and great wit, in virtuoso prose. I very rarely read the first page of a novel and know immediately that it is a book I want to publish – but I was bowled over the from very first sentence of DEAD SOULS and feel certain it is destined to be a modern classic.’

Sam Riviere, author said: ‘Writing this thing has already changed my life in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I’m elated DEAD SOULS will be published by W&N. I thought it would be too weird…it’s a novel about poets, plagiarism, love, technology, feuds and affairs, cancellation and revenge, and how writing really does alter reality. It’s for poets everywhere. I feel dizzy.’

Sam Rivere is the author of the poetry books 81 AUSTERITIES (Faber & Faber, 2012), for which he won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and KIM KARDASHIAN’S MARRIAGE (Faber & Faber, 2015), as well as numerous limited-edition titles. Born in Norwich, he currently lives in Edinburgh, where he runs the micropublisher If a Leaf Falls Press.

W&N will publish DEAD SOULS as a hardback, trade paperback, ebook and audio in Spring 2021.