Lettice Franklin, Publishing Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in Green Dot by Madeleine Gray from John Ash at PEW, on behalf of Grace Heifetz at Left Bank Literary. Ash submitted the novel on a Friday evening, and Franklin had taken the novel off the table by the Monday morning that followed. US rights have been acquired by Caroline Zancan at Henry Holt in a pre-empt. Australian rights have been acquired by Kelly Fagan at Allen & Unwin also in a pre-empt.
For readers of Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss, Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This and Raven Leilani’s Luster – Green Dot is told by Hera. Hera is in her mid-twenties, which to most people seems young but not to people in their mid-twenties. She has spent the years since school trying to kick and scream into existence a life she cares about – but with little success so far. And then she meets Arthur, an older, married colleague. Intoxicated by the promise of ordinary happiness he seems to represent, Hera falls headlong into a workplace romance and a love story that will take the rest of the novel to tell.
Lettice Franklin, editor, said: ‘I don’t think I have ever acquired a book as quickly as this one. From the moment I read its first page, I was simultaneously smitten and very, very anxious about the prospect of not publishing it. There is a moment in Green Dot when its heroine describes the thrill of making a new friend in the office: ‘Oh my God. Oh my God Mei Ling is funny. Mei Ling is funny and depressed. My two favourite things in a potential friend. I am beaming. I am floating. Mei Ling you saucy devil, you sly dog, you also hate this!!’ Reading this novel felt like a similar experience to me – it has the boisterous humour, the life-affirming intimacy, the vulnerable confessions of a conversation had on a Friday afternoon when the boss is away and here, finally, in this large, cold room you spend your life in (to quote Madeleine), is someone that sees the world as you do. It made me laugh out loud over and over again. It moved me deeply in its portrait of the particular heady obsession of a workplace crush and in its exploration of why a woman becomes – and chooses to stay – the other woman. As I read I thought about many of my favourite writers – Katherine Heiny, David Sedaris, Raven Leilani, Meg Mason, Halle Butler, Patricia Lockwood, Naoise Dolan – and Madeleine’s name now sits on that list. All of us at W&N and Orion are completely obsessed with this novel and cannot believe our luck to be publishing it. We are beaming.’
Madeleine Gray, author, said: ‘I wrote Green Dot as I was doing my UK PhD remotely from Sydney due to the pandemic, and as I was working in a bookstore where my colleagues and I were unionising. Writing this book became like a salve. I wrote to make myself laugh, and to make sense of the world that young people, and young women especially, now find ourselves in. The green dot of the title refers to the green dot on social media, showing which users are online. A lot of the romance in the novel plays out over IM and texts, and at times across countries. The green dot is also a Gatsby reference, sue me – about the allure of waiting for something that promises nothing.’
John Ash, agent, said: ‘A few paragraphs into Green Dot, I knew I was reading something incredibly special, fresh and exciting. By the time I was twenty pages in my colleagues very politely asked if I could go home to finish it, as my endless cackling and quoting was driving everyone else insane. I couldn’t be more delighted that Madeleine’s hilarious, sharp, profound and painfully relatable novel has found the very best of homes with Lettice Franklin at W&N.’
Madeleine Gray is a writer and critic from Sydney. She was a 2021 Finalist for the Walkley Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism, and has written for such publications as Overland, Meanjin, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. She also has a British connection, in that she has an MSt in English Literature from the University of Oxford and is a current doctoral candidate at the University of Manchester.