US rights to SHADOWPLAY by Joseph O’Connor have been acquired by Michael Reynolds at Europa Editions. The deal was concluded by O’Connor’s agent Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann. Europa will publish in April 2020.
Harvill Secker published SHADOWPLAY in the UK and Canada in June 2019: I t was described as a ‘literary highlight of 2019’ by The Sunday Times and has received rapturous reviews. W.F. Howes published audio in the UK and Dreamscape will publish the US audio edition. Rights have been sold in seven translation markets so far: China (Shanghai Elegant People), Croatia (Fraktura), France (Editions Rivages), Hungary (Helikon), Italy (Guanda), Serbia (Carobna Knjiga) and Sweden (Natur Och Kultur). A film deal is under negotiation with a major producer.
1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.
Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager’s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.
SHADOWPLAY explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.
Michael Reynolds says: ‘Joseph O’Connor is one of the canniest and most accomplished novelists working in English. He can seemingly turn his hand to any subject with extraordinary results. But it is evident that with SHADOWPLAY he has found a subject that ignites a deep affinity and a group of characters whose ambitions, preoccupations and talents somehow echo his own. The effect is impressive – his prose sings and his sure-handed storytelling is a delight. SHADOWPLAY will be a super-lead for the Spring and we at Europa look forward to bringing this thrilling novel to a broad and admiring readership in the U.S.’
Joseph O’Connor says: ‘I am grateful and excited for SHADOWPLAY to have found its American home at Europa Editions, where the publishing ethic is so strong and impressive. Europa's books, gorgeous objects in themselves, contain some of the most beautiful writing around. I am truly honored for a book of my own to encounter such company.’
Isobel Dixon says: ‘I cannot wait for Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, as so unforgettably depicted by Joseph O’Connor in SHADOWPLAY, to cross the Atlantic. and win over fresh audiences there. This is a book I’ve seen so many readers fall in love with, and then press into other hands. I’m delighted that Michael Reynolds and Europa also feel so passionately about this tour de force and look forward to their US launch in 2020.’
Praise for Joseph O’Connor and SHADOWPLAY:
‘There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and SHADOWPLAY is a triumph.’ – Peter Carey
‘As much as this is a hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly – at times, agonisingly – a story of transience, loss and true loyalty.’ – Sadie Jones, The Guardian
‘Joseph O’Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous.’ – Sebastian Barry
‘Wonderful. The writing is beautiful.’ – Derek Jacobi
‘A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint.’ – Deborah Moggach
‘Seriously fascinating’ – Colm Tóibín, The Observer
‘A virtuoso act of literary ventriloquism. SHADOWPLAY is funny, smart, tender, wise and written with inch-perfect precision.’ – Colum McCann
‘A great writer performing Olympian literary storytelling.’ — Bob Geldof
About the Author
Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. His books include nine novels: COWBOYS AND INDIANS (Whitbread Prize shortlist), DESPERADOES, THE SALESMAN, INISHOWEN, STAR OF THE SEA (American Library Association Award, Irish Post Award for Fiction, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European novel of the year), REDEMPTION FALLS, GHOST LIGHT (Dublin One City One Book Novel 2011), THE THRILL OF IT ALL and SHADOWPLAY. His work has been published in forty languages. He received the 2012 Irish PEN Award for outstanding achievement in literature and in 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.
Visit Joseph O’Connor’s website