Fiction & Drama

Michael Joseph snaps up Phoebe Luckhurst’s debut novel The Lock In for six figures


Following a closely-fought five-way auction, Penguin Michael Joseph are to publish Phoebe Luckhurst’s debut novel, The Lock In.

Editor Rebecca Hilsdon acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada in two books from Northbank’s fiction agent Hannah Weatherill, for a six figure sum.  A hilarious ‘locked room rom-com’, the story is told from the perspectives of three housemates – straight laced Alexa, chaotic Ellen and awkward Jack.

Whilst nursing The Hangover from Hell, Ellen stumbles downstairs to find their kitchen slowly filling with water. Together with her housemates, Ellen launches a desperate attempt to find the fuse box in the attic. Hearing the commotion, Ben, Alexa’s shirtless Hinge date from the night before, comes to investigate. Only for the door to slam, the handle to break – and for all four of them to become trapped.

And so begins the most awkward morning-after-the-night-before…

Rebecca said: ‘This novel is so fun, so fresh and so achingly relatable. It is a story about love, heartbreak and friendship, and will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever had a comically incompetent landlord. I fell for the hook and after reading the first page I knew this book was special. I can’t wait for everyone to meet Ellen, Alexa and Jack.’

Phoebe said: ‘I’m thrilled that The Lock In has found its perfect home at Michael Joseph. Hangovers and house shares certainly defined my twenties, and I wanted to write something that explored the dynamics of love and friendship against that backdrop. Rebecca and the team have been such champions of the book and I’m so excited to be bringing it to life with them.’

Hannah said: ‘Phoebe is an incredibly special new writer, and The Lock In is a brilliant, relatable novel about love, flatmates and friendship, with added early noughties nostalgia. It’s found an excellent home with Rebecca and the team at Michael Joseph.’

Phoebe Luckhurst is the Features Editor of the Evening Standard. She has also written for the Guardian, Sunday Times Style, ELLE, ES Magazine, Grazia, The Telegraph and Vogue.

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