The Bookseller – Rights – Riverrun picks up TS Eliot Taylor Award winner’s ‘electrifying’ debut novel
Riverrun signed The alphabet of the nightthe ‘electrifying’ debut novel by award-winning poet Joelle Taylor.
UK and Commonwealth rights have been acquired by Jasmine Palmer from Laura Macdougall at United Agents, for publication in 2024.
Composed of interconnected stories, The alphabet of the night is described by the publisher as “a riveting novel, written in muscular yet lyrical prose, by one of the most gifted literary stylists writing today”.
The synopsis reads: “A woman walks into a tattoo parlor. But this is no ordinary woman, and this is Hackney in 2233. Jones’ body is covered in tattoos, but she wants to add one final inking – a thin line of ink mixed with blood that ties her body art together , creating a unique map. .
“As the two artists get to work, Jones tells the stories behind each tattoo; each a doorway to a life Jones fell into, a “memory”. Some of these lives were in the past, some in the future, some are aside, but each of them connects Jones to the two tattoo artists, despite being unaware of it.
“Located across geographies and time periods, The alphabet of the night is dazzlingly daring and original, an in-depth investigation of human nature and violence against women. From the coal mines of 19th century Lancashire to the dystopian cityscapes of the “Quiet Men”, each story brings us closer to the truth of Jones.”
Taylor’s collection of poetry C+nto and other poems (The Westbourne Press) won the 2021 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. She received a Changemaker Award from the Southbank Center and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She also founded SLAMbassadors, the national youth poetry slam championships, as well as the international spoken word project Borderlines and is co-curator and host of ‘Out-Spoken Live’, currently a resident at the Southbank Centre.
Riverrun says the book will be launched with an “extremely energetic and ambitious advertising and marketing campaign encompassing high profile national coverage and an extensive program of literary events.”
Taylor said, “I am absolutely thrilled to publish my first novel with such an innovative and expansive press and look forward to working together over the next year.”
Palmier commented:The alphabet of the night is a kaleidoscopic novel that boldly enters worlds outside our own. Joelle is a rare and brilliant writer and I am thrilled to work with her to make her debut to readers.
Macdougall said Riverrun has “impressed us with their plans and their passion for writing Joelle” and that she’s “excited to see what happens next for this very special book.”