Sophie Jonathan has signed The Human Subject (provisional title) by Nell Stevens, author of the forthcoming Bleaker House. Picador has UK and Commonwealth rights through Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit.
The Human Subject is the story of two love affairs told in parallel but separated by 150 years. In 1857, after two years of writing The Life of Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell fled England for Rome on the eve of the book's publication. In Rome she found excitement, inspiration, and love: a group of artists and writers who would become lifelong friends, and a man - Charles Norton - who would become the love of her life, though they would never be together. The parallel story is of Nell, embarking on her PhD - about the community of artists and writers living in Rome in the mid 19th Century - and falling drastically in love with a man who lives in another city.
Picador publishes Stevens' Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World in June. Doubleday will publish in the US, and Knopf in Canada.