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Dialogue Books lands two novels & short story collection by Ashani Lewis

Dialogue Books has acquired two “sharp, seductive” novels and a short story collection from award-winning writer Ashani Lewis in a six-figure pre-empt.

Within hours of receiving Winter Animals by Lewis, Senior editor Amy Mae Baxter acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Matthew Marland at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

In February 2024, Winter Animals will be released in hardcover, e-book, and audio formats. The short story collection, which has not yet been given a title, will come out later that same year.

Winter Animals’ synopsis reads: “In one of America’s Happiest Cities, Elen is trapped under the shadow of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. Elen is alone and unmoored. Her husband has left her. Her belongings are in the boot of her car. Her days are filled mostly with silence and drinking. When she meets four English teenagers in a decaying bar, she is enamoured.

“The teenagers are wealthy squatters, drifting between ski resorts and breaking into empty AirBnBs. When they bring Elen into their fold – and their messy, entangled romantic relationships – she initially remains on the outskirts, invisibly separated by their privilege. Simmering beneath the well-oiled machine of the group’s socialist bliss, she senses a violent secret that fuels the four’s never-ending disappearing act. Vibrant and cultish, they force Elen to ruminate on the irresistible pull of bright young things.  She is forced to ask, what is it that they want from her? Why do they want her to stay? But why would Elen leave when she has nowhere else to go?”

Baxter said: “It is a privilege to be Ashani’s publisher. I’ve loved her writing for years and was blown away by the strength and allure of her debut novel.”

Lewis is a consulate editor for Joyland Magazine, and her poetry has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Joyland, and won the Tower Poetry Award and the Alpine Fellowship Writing Competition. She won the literary fiction category of the 2021 London Writers Awards. She has written for Bad Form in the past.