New Sally Rooney novel announced for September

Beautiful World, Where Are You follows Normal People and Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney: the author's new novel will be published by Faber & Faber on September 7th. Photograph: Kalpesh Lathigra

Sally Rooney: the author's new novel will be published by Faber & Faber on September 7th. Photograph: Kalpesh Lathigra

 

Three years after the publication of her phenomenally successful Normal People, Sally Rooney returns with a new novel this September.

Beautiful World, Where Are You, her third novel after Normal People and her 2017 debut, Conversations with Friends, will be published by Faber & Faber on September 7th.

The novel tells the story of Alice and Eileen, best friends nearing their 30s in different places and on very different trajectories. As the summer approaches, they exchange emails about art, friendship, the world around them and their complicated love affairs. They say they want to see each other again soon. But what will happen when they do?

Faber publisher Alex Bowler acquired British-and-Commonwealth and audio rights in a two-book deal from Rooney’s agent, Tracy Bohan, at the Wylie Agency. Knopf will publish in Canada and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US.

Sally’s new novel is a book of friendship and sex, art and faith, power and love. It absorbs you once again in the inner lives of characters with brilliant minds and aching hearts

Bowler says: “Sally’s new novel is a book of friendship and sex, art and faith, power and love. It absorbs you once again in the inner lives of characters with brilliant minds and aching hearts, while marking the next creative leap from a singular writer. The book scintillates with intelligence, empathy and, yes, beauty.”

Rooney, who turns 30 next month, won the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017. In 2018, Conversations with Friends was shortlisted for both the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. Normal People was the Waterstones Book of the Year, the Costa Novel Award winner, the An Post Irish Novel of the Year and the Encore Award winner and was longlisted for the Booker Prize and Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Rooney was the editor of the Stinging Fly in 2018 and a Cullman Center Fellow at New York Public Library in 2019-20. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the television adaptation of Normal People, which was broadcast by the BBC and Hulu in the US last year, becoming a huge hit during lockdown.

The series was codirected by Lenny Abrahamson and produced by Element Pictures. The same team is currently making a TV adaptation of Conversations with Friends. It was originally flagged for broadcast this year, but shooting has not yet started, and the cast has yet to be announced, so the timing looks tight.

Normal People was the seventh highest-selling book in Ireland last year, with more than 40,000 sales, and Conversations with Friends 19th, with 22,135

This was already shaping up to be a big year for Irish writing, with highy anticipated novels including Danielle McLaughlin’s The Art of Falling (John Murray, February); Lisa McInerney’s The Rules of Revelation (John Murray, May); Colm Toibín’s The Magician (September); and Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These (Faber, October).

The addition of a new Sally Rooney novel is a welcome boost for beleaguered booksellers. Normal People was the seventh highest-selling book in Ireland last year, with more than 40,000 sales, and Conversations with Friends 19th, with 22,135. Normal People was the 16th highest-selling book in Britain last year and Conversations 114th.

Normal People was the second highest selling book in Ireland in 2019, selling 41,513 copies here and 320,607 copies in Britain. Conversations with Friends sold 104,112 copies in Britain and 12,574 copies in Ireland. In 2018, Normal People sold 20,175 copies at home and 77,000 copies in Britain. Conversations with Friends sold 90,000 copies there and almost 9,000 in Ireland.

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