Bloomsbury acquires Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls

Editor | Literary Fiction

Alexandra , editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury publishing has acquired City of Girls, the new novel by the number one and international bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. UK and Commonwealth rights (ex. Canada) were acquired from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency.

Bloomsbury will publish City of Girls, an epic stitched across the glittering fabric of a lost New York, on  June 4, 2019. A major marketing and publicity campaign to accompany publication will include a UK visit by Elizabeth Gilbert.  City of Girls is to be published in the US by Riverhead.

Alexandra Pringle says: ‘After over a decade as Liz’s UK editor, you would think I had grown used to how brilliant she is. But nothing could quite prepare me for the glory of City of Girls.  It’s just a sublime novel, colourful, glittering, moving, witty and wise. On every page there is delight and surprise.  It deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time-great coming-of-age novels, and Vivian as one of the all-time-great twentieth-century heroines. I cannot wait for the world to fall in love with this book as we have.’

Elizabeth Gilbert responded: ‘For years, I have wanted to write a novel about women who have lots of sex, and who like it, and whose lives aren’t destroyed by it. (You might be surprised at how difficult it is to find that storyline in the annals of literature.) I also wanted to write a novel about New York in the 1940s, which I think of as the most glamorous moment in this city’s history. Out of those two desires, City of Girls was born. I had the most wonderful time researching the story and being able to—for instance—interview 95-year-old former showgirls about their wild youth and reckless ways. I disappeared completely into this book, and I hope that readers will, too. I like to think of this novel as a tray of gin fizzes, which people can knock back and enjoy with abandon.’

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses. Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian sees that to live the life that she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

Elizabeth Gilbert is the number one bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and several other international bestselling books of fiction and non-fiction including The Signature of All Things which was longlisted for the Baileys Prize and shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize. Her work has also been nominated for the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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