Stephanie Scott's Bridport Runner-Up Novel Sold for 6 Figures

June 29, 2018 | Other News

“TLC and The Bridport Prize have always been such a wonderful source of support for writers that it was a great honour to be placed in The Peggy Chapman First Novel Prize. The deadlines and judging process gave me the impetus to finish the novel and the courage to send it out into the world. After years of work, I finally felt ready. Just before the prize ceremony I sent the novel out to agents. I received offers of representation within 24 hours.”

We are delighted to share news that the Bridport First Novel Prize 2017 runner-up Stephanie Scott’s debut novel The Sentence has sold for six figures in the USA & Canada, U.K. & Commonwealth, and France & Europe. The Prize was set up in honour of Peggy Chapman-Andrews, and is run annually in partnership with The Literary Consultancy and AM Heath Literary Agency. This year’s prize is being judged by the Women’s Prize-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie, and has attracted a record number of entries. Longlist and shortlist announcements are forthcoming later in the Summer. Stephanie joins her Bridport stablemate Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, whose debut Swan Song was published this year by Hutchinson following a period of TLC mentoring as part of her prize. Kelleigh was the winner of the First Novel Prize in 2015. The 2017 winner, Deepa Anappara, has additionally recently won the Deborah Rogers Prize and the Lucy Cavendish Prize.

The Sentence is Stephanie Scott’s debut novel. A literary love story set in modern Japan, it is inspired by the Japanese marriage break-up industry. The novel will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in June 2019 (U.K. & Commonwealth) and by Doubleday in Spring 2020 (USA & Canada). We very much look forward to seeing another Bridport-supported debut on bookshelves.

About the Book

Within the Tokyo underworld there is an industry which exists to break up marriages. It is known today as wakaresaseya. This business is composed of agents who, for a fee, can be hired by one spouse to seduce the other and provide grounds for divorce on favourable terms. The Sentence tells the story of Takashi Nakamura, a wakaresaseya agent, who is hired by a man to seduce his wife, Rina. But then Rina and Takashi fall in love. So why, at the beginning of the story, is Takashi in prison, accused of Rina’s murder? Now, twenty years later, Rina’s daughter Sumiko decides to find out what really happened…

About Stephanie

Stephanie Scott is a graduate of the Faber Academy and was awarded a Distinction for her M.St in Creative Writing at Oxford, as well as a BAJS Toshiba Studentship for her anthropological work on Japan. She has won the AM Heath Prize, the Arvon Jerwood Prize for Literature, the National Centre for Writing Inspires Award and was runner-up for 2017’s Bridport First Novel Award for an early draft of The Sentence.

W&N Publisher, Kirsty Dunseath, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Antony Harwood, with publication set for early summer 2019.  A six-figure deal for US rights has been signed with Doubleday, French rights have been acquired by J.C. Lattes and other translation rights deals are currently being negotiated.

What They Say

Kirsty Dunseath said: ‘This is a beautiful, touching love story as well as an exploration of human frailty and the tensions between family duty and personal freedom. Stephanie’s writing is exquisite and this story unfurls in unexpected ways as Sumiko tries to make sense of her mother’s past. We are absolutely delighted to welcome Stephanie to W&N!’

Antony Harwood, Stephanie’s agent, said: “It’s a joy to see a brilliant author find a brilliant publisher.”