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Zaffre acquire Banta’s Honey in whirlwind 24-hour pre-empt

Zaffre, the flagship commercial fiction imprint of Bonnier Books UK’s Zaffre Publishing Group, has acquired debut novel Honey by Isabel Banta.  

Melissa Cox, publishing director, acquired UK & Comm English language rights in a 24 hour pre-empt from Jenny Meyer at Meyer Literary. This followed a six-way US publisher auction which went to Celadon. 

Honey is described as an addictive Y2K coming of age novel following a young singer’s journey as she skyrockets to fame and seeks to find her own voice and place, at the height of the late 1990s and early 2000s pop star era. 

Author Isabel Banta said: “I am so grateful to have my debut novel Honey in the hands of Bonnier Books UK—who publish so many books I admire—alongside Celadon Books in the US. All my thanks to Jamie Carr at The Book Group and Foreign Rights agent Jenny Meyer for their guidance and brilliance.”

Publishing Director Melissa Cox said: “I have never read a submission faster in my life – Bel transported me back to 1998 and Honey evokes sleepovers watching the VMAs, trips to shopping malls, singing into hairbrushes while trying to learn the Baby One More Time dance moves, glitter gel pens and quizzes in teen magazines. 

“I truly believe readers are going to be as addicted to Honey as I was, and we’ll be seeing it read on planes, trains and beaches for years to come.”

Isabel Banta is a writer based in Brooklyn. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Now an independent bookseller, she previously worked in publicity at Penguin Random House. Honey is her debut novel. 

Honey will be published in hardback, ebook, and audio in Summer 2024, from Zaffre Fiction.