NEW YORK (AP) — Award-winning novelist Deesha Philyaw, who struggled to find a publisher for her acclaimed debut “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies,” has inked a seven-figure deal for her next two books.
Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, announced Thursday that it has signed Philyaw and will publish her novel “True Confessions” in 2025. Mariner calls the book a “biting satire” of the black church and “a deeply provocative” story about family, friendship and “sexual agency.” Philyaw, who attended several different churches as a child, centers the novel on a megachurch leader named Schar.
“When I wrote True Confessions, I really wanted to explore the narratives that 40- and 50-year-old black women sometimes tell themselves — as well as the narratives that are told about us — about our desires and aspirations,” Philyaw said in an explanation.
Her second book for Mariner, “Girl, Look,” is described by the publisher as a “poignant new collection” that provides a vivid overview of the inner lives of black women across generations and inspires readers to think about the vulnerability and invisibility of black women and Girl, Look, and beautiful contradictions, in a post-COVID, post-Breonna Taylor world.” Mariner has not set a release date for “Girl, Look.”
“The Secret Lives of Church Ladies,” a collection of nine stories, was published by West Virginia University Press after several major New York publishers rejected it. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Story Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and is being adapted for television by HBO Max.
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