As announced in The Bookseller this week, UK & Commonwealth rights for Clare Pooley‘s charming debut book-club novel, The Authenticity Project, have been snapped up by Penguin Random House / Transworld.

Senior Commissioning Editor Sally Williamson acquired the rights for a six-figure sum following a six-way auction. A thrilled Sally said, “The response from every single person at Transworld has been as passionate as mine, and I can’t wait to get this book into the hands of readers I know will love it just as much. This is set to be the stand-out debut of 2020, with Clare destined to have a glittering career ahead of her.”

US rights were acquired by Pam Dorman at Penguin Random House/Pamela Dorman Books in a major deal at auction, and foreign rights have sold in 20 other territories.

The Authenticity Project is centered around the question: “Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead?”

It’s a question that Julian Jessop, an eccentric, seventy-nine-year-old artist writes in a pale green exercise book labelled The Authenticity Project, before leaving it in Monica’s Café on the Fulham Road.

Monica gave up her career as a high-flying lawyer to run her own café, but it isn’t going as well as she hoped. On finding Julian’s notebook, she in turn writes her own truth about her desire for a baby before passing the Project on. But having read his story, Monica’s immediate plan is to find a way to bring Julian out of his loneliness.

Hazard is the next to pick up the book – he is an addict who is desperate to finally part from his vices but cannot quite face his own truth yet. Instead, he becomes determined to find Monica her dream partner, so she can have the baby she longs for.

The Authenticity Project weaves its way between six characters, whose lives become intertwined as they discover both the power, and the danger, of honesty.

Clare Pooley spent twenty years working in advertising, a world that, in itself, treads a fine line between authenticity and fiction, and in part inspired The Authenticity Project. She has previously written a memoir, The Sober Diariesthat was partly motivated by her blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker – which has received two million hits.