UK & Commonwealth rights to Helly Acton’s debut novel The Shelf have have been snapped up by Zaffre, the adult imprint of Bonnier Books UK, for hardback publication in July 2020.

Following a highly competitive auction, the novel was sold to Sarah Bauer, Senior Editor at Zaffre: “I am thrilled to be publishing The Shelf… This fabulously feminist novel about the power of women when we support one another is like a breath of fresh air, full of real, relatable characters and an important message. The book is clever and empowering but, most importantly, incredibly fun. Helly is a huge talent and I am delighted to welcome her to the Zaffre list!”

TV rights to the novel have been sold to Monumental Pictures, who plan to turn The Shelf into a multi-part series. The production company are the team behind SuffragetteMary Queen of Scots and the adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s How To Build a Girl. They said of the acquisition: “We’re thrilled to have added The Shelf to our slate, it’s such an original and arresting premise, peopled with fantastic characters. It felt like a no-brainer for screen adaptation and we’re looking forward to turning it into noisy, column-garnering series.”

The novel follows the story of Amy, who thinks her boyfriend is surprising her with a dream holiday to pop the big question after two years together…

But the dream turns into a nightmare when she removes her blindfold and finds herself on the set of The Shelf, a Big Brother-style reality TV show.

The Shelf broadcasts the humiliating plight of six women who’ve been dumped by their partners in the studio house in front of a live studio audience and millions of viewers.

On The Shelf, Amy must prove to the public she’s The Keeper by completing and winning a range of tasks, such as remaining calm and polite with men, dressing the part for occasions, and preparing herself for motherhood.

Whilst she initially stays on The Shelf with the million pound prize in mind, as Amy comes to know the other housemates, and is given a month to think about what she actually wants, she might just come away with a much bigger reward.

Author Helly Acton says: “I’m over the moon to have signed with the wonderful team at Bonnier Books UK and especially delighted to be working with Sarah, whose ideas, energy and empathy for the story stood out from the start… I can’t wait to introduce readers to everyone on The Shelf.

Helly Acton is a copywriter from London. She studied Law at King’s College London before going into advertising. In her twenties, Helly escaped the rat race and took a career break. After a life-affirming break-up she returned home to find herself the last of her single friends. Helly threw herself into online dating and uses her experience as a single woman in her thirties as inspiration for her stories.