The Bookseller – Rights – Scribner carried away by Smith’s “literary tornado”

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Scribner has landed Kida “disturbing” ghost story and coming-of-age tale from early novelist Gabriel Smith.

Editorial director of the Simon & Schuster literary imprint, Chris White, has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights from Wylie agency’s Tracy Bohan, in a ‘significant’ two-book deal on exclusive submission. Kid will appear in hardcover in the spring of 2024.

Kid is a work of electrifying originality and bravura virtuosity; both a dark and disturbing ghost story, a unique and brilliant meditation on grief, and a deeply funny Bildungsroman in which the protagonist’s upbringing is anything but sentimental,” the publisher said.

The novel tells the story of an aspiring writer struggling with the death of his father and the terminal illness of his mother. Suffering from an unidentified skin condition, which causes his skin to peel off like a reptile, he can’t seem to help but offend his loved ones and friends, often at great physical cost to himself.

The synopsis explains: “Escaping the specter of the girlfriend who left him and the literary agent who pursues him for the novel he hasn’t even started, he returns to his family home to prepare him to be Alone at home, his skin excreting more and more frequently and in quantity, with nothing but benzos, booze and souvenirs for company, things take a strange turn: the manuscript of a novel written by his mother keeps changing, an old home video is just as unstable and liable to reveal disturbing secrets, the house becomes locked in Russian vines and a man dressed as a deer keeps appearing in the back garden .

“While dealing with age-old themes of mortality, family love and the impermanence of art, Kid is not quite like anything you’ve read before.

White said: “I contacted Gabe after reading one of his short stories online. It was a surprisingly well done piece of writing and I couldn’t wait to enjoy more. The novel he sent me was Kid and it upset me. How could a new writer create something so tense, intelligent, confident and funny? Gabe is a writer who’s been influenced by the greats, but he’s distilled them into something entirely his own, and that’s hugely exciting.

“It is almost impossible to express in a few sentences what a remarkable achievement this is. I can only say that you’ll have to read it to appreciate its brilliance and I’m afraid most people will have to wait until 2024. Batten the hatches and get ready, though; a literary tornado is about to hit the city!

Smith is 27 and comes from London. His fiction appeared in Derivative, New York Tyrant’s Magazine and the Butterfly. He was mentored by the late Giancarlo DiTrapano of Tyrant Books, who edited and was to publish Smith’s first novel on his own imprint.

“This novel is particularly close to my heart: it belongs to my friend, publisher and teen idol, Giancarlo DiTrapano, as much as it does to me,” he said. “It’s extremely important to me that his memoir – his work on it – reaches readers in the right way. I’m also aware that this is a very strange novel, as you would expect for something that was meant for Gian’s imprint. I think Chris and Scribner are the perfect home for that. Chris is a very talented editor, and he and Scribner were the perfect combination of courage and sensitivity throughout. I am very happy to work with him. »

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