MSt alumna Daisy Johnson “On getting an offer for my writing …”

On getting an offer for my writing …

Daisy Johnson

I found out I was going to be a Jonathan Cape author on a Thursday morning at eleven. My agent, Jack Ramm at Eve White, had told me the night before he’d asked for the final offers from the publishing houses who were in the auction. He would ring me to discuss my decision the next day.

I didn’t sleep very much that night. I was certain not only that the deal was going to fall through but that, really, all along it hadn’t been me they’d wanted. There was another Daisy with a similar surname and a short story collection. The idea of someone wanting my writing, not only wanting but PAYING money for my writing was, and is, mindboggling to me.

The short story collection I’d finished, Fen, is set in the Fens of England. I decided I would not spend Thursday morning hyperventilating, instead I would cook a Fen Feast for some friends to celebrate whatever-the-outcome-would-be.

When Jack rang I was trying to whip egg whites into chocolate mousse like peaks with a fork.

My housemates in the next room went very quiet.

It was a two book deal, for Fen and for my second book, a novel. I lay on the floor for a while and then rang my Dad who swore eloquently down the phone.

Getting a degree was exciting; getting into Oxford more so; beginning working with Jack on the collection was phenomenal and a huge privilege. But getting a book deal with Jonathan Cape is the pinnacle, the apex of everything we all work for.

(image. from Eve White Agency)