Cat Person author scores two-book, seven-figure book deal
Kristen Roupenian, author of the New Yorker short story and viral sensation “Cat Person,” has landed a major book deal after an intense bidding war.
The writer has signed a two-book agreement with Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which consists of a short-story collection and a novel. The former, titled You Know You Want This, will mark Roupenian’s literary debut, and arrive sometime in spring 2019. EW has confirmed that the auction for Roupenian’s debut topped $1 million, culminating in the deal with Scout Press; The Guardian previously reported that there were nearly a dozen bidders for the hot project.
The agreement reached between Roupenian and Scout was first announced by the Associated Press.
“Cat Person” was published in the Dec. 11 issue of the New Yorker, and promptly set off a frenzy of praise, backlash, and analyses. The story centers on Margot, a student who engages in a relationship with an older man, Robert, eventually drawn in physically after a flirtatious text back-and-forth. “It was a terrible kiss, shockingly bad,” goes one of its more famous lines. “Margot had trouble believing that a grown man could possibly be so bad at kissing.”
Readers particularly grappled with the story’s exploration of consent, power, and the line between fact and fiction. The story was based on an actual encounter the author had with another man. “I wrote the story immediately after the encounter — within a week — and finished a first draft in a matter of days,” she told the New York Times. “That said, the themes of the story (sex, gender, power, consent) are ones that I’ve been thinking about, and trying to write about, for years … It’s not autobiographical; though many of the details and emotional notes come from life, they were accumulated over decades, not drawn from a single bad date.”
Roupenian, currently on a writing fellowship at the University of Michigan, recently completed her MFA and had previously announced that a short story collection and novel were in the works. “She has only committed to writing in the past five years,” the New York Times wrote in its profile of her.
Scout Press says that You Know You Want This will “explore the complex — and often dark and funny — connections between gender, sex, and power, across genres.” The story collection will be released in early 2019.