Headline has acquired You May Now Kill the Bride, a “searing dark comedy thriller” from YA author Kate Weston, in a three-way auction.

Deputy publishing director Lucy Dauman bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Chloe Seager. You May Now Kill the Bride, Weston’s debut adult novel, will be published in summer 2024, simultaneously with the US, where it was won at auction by Random House. A second book by Weston will follow in 2025.

The synopsis reads: “When old friends Lauren, Tansy, Saskia, Farah and Dominica reunite at Tansy’s spiritual hen party in the woods, the last thing they expect is for the bride-to-be to end up dead. But when Tansy dies from a poisoned cacao drink, her murder sets off a chain of events that will put their loyalties to the test and cause old wounds to rise to the surface. And as the body count keeps climbing, the friends realise that one of their group must be the killer… and they need to watch their sash-covered backs.”

Dauman said: “I haven’t read many thrillers that have me roaring with laughter and frantically turning the pages to find out whodunit, but Kate’s writing, with its blend of sharp wit and astute – sometimes horribly familiar – observations on friendship and hen party culture, had me doing just that. With humour to rival “Bridesmaids” and a cast of characters you’ll love to hate, this is the kind of book I want to push into the hands of everyone I know and I can’t wait to publish it (just in time for wedding season) next year!”

Weston is an ex-stand-up comedian, bookseller and publishing marketer. Her YA debut Diary of a Confused Feminist (Hodder Children’s Books), which was longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 and nominated for the Carnegie Medal, was published in 2020 with the sequel following in 2022, and will be published by S&S US in January 2024. Her latest YA novel Murder on a School Night will be published in the UK and the US in July by Farshore and HarperTeen, with a sequel to follow July 2024.

She said: “I am thrilled to be working with Lucy and the fantastic team at Headline on my first adult novel. I’m so excited to get this story of twisted, murderous hens into the world just in time to make everyone paranoid for next year’s wedding season!”

Seager commented: “Kate’s blend of acerbic humour and feminist satire, within a pacy murder mystery, is absolute genius and I’m thrilled it found the perfect home with Lucy at Headline. I can’t wait for readers to be horrified by this book in more ways than one. You’ll think twice about going on that next hen party.” 

Congratulations Kate!