Exeter alumnus Imogen West-Knights (2010, English) has recently signed a deal for her ‘compulsive’ debut novel’ with Fleet, a literary imprint at Little, Brown, UK. Deep Down, due to be published in April 2023, takes the tradition of the British family novel and transcends it, tracking the grief of two siblings in the wake of their father’s death:
‘Billie and Tom have just found out their father has died. Dislocated from each other and unable to talk about the trauma in their family’s past, Billie decides the best thing to do is get on a plane to her brother in Paris. Maybe there they can find a way to heal?
As their story veers between present bereavement and flashbacks to growing up, we see the siblings search for common ground and attempt to repair old wounds. Following the tracks of their grief, Billie and Tom find themselves – unexpectedly – lost in the catacombs of Paris, confronting both each other and their own demons.’
Described as a ‘huge new talent’, West-Knights is a London-based writer and journalist with a series of literary accolades. She was runner up in the Telegraph’s Cassandra Jardine Prize 2015, and shortlisted for the Portobello Prize 2017 and the FT/Bodley Head Essay Prize 2018. Her work has been published in the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Times, and New Statesmen, to name only a few. West-Knight also co-created the renowned Bougie London Literary Woman Twitter account.
Rhiannon Smith, West-Knight’s editor for the upcoming novel, describes it as: ‘the absolute definition of compulsive reading: rich with brilliantly-drawn characters, unexpected humour and glorious prose that perfectly illuminates the dynamic between a sister and brother in all of its love and fury.’
An exciting and witty read that deftly approaches grief and complicated relationships, Deep Down is a much-anticipated debut in both the literary sphere as well as here at Exeter College.