Matt Cain's latest novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, has been acquired by Headline Review. Publisher Eleanor Dryden acquired world rights from Sophie Lambert at C&W, for publication in May 2021.
Cain has previously been published by Pan Macmillan and Unbound.
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle follows a lonely 64-year-old postman in a quiet town in Northern England, who after a shock discovery sets out in search of the man who, many years ago, he loved and lost, but has never forgotten.
Cain commented: "It's been a joy for me to write this novel set in the working-class north of England and to bring to life the late blooming of a 60-something gay man, his quest to find his lost love, and the friendships he makes with people who are, on the surface, very different to him."
Cain previously described his disappointment over homophobia in the publishing industry, in a blog for The Bookseller, but this novel celebrates the changing attitudes in the UK. The author said: "I've found it uplifting and inspiring to witness just how much attitudes towards gay men in the UK have changed since I was young and how much more open and accepting our society is today. My aim with this book is to celebrate that change and to make readers from all different backgrounds feel proud of the part they've played in it. With Eleanor Dryden and everyone at Headline Review, I know I've found the perfect team to release this celebratory, joyous story into the world!"
Dryden said: "I can’t wait for next summer, when Albert Entwistle will take masses of readers on his moving, uplifting journey, and am delighted to welcome Matt to Headline Review."
Cain was Channel 4’s first culture editor and editor-in-chief of Attitude magazine, and his first two novels Shot Through the Heart (2014) and Nothing But Trouble (2015), were published by Pan Macmillan.
His third novel, The Madonna of Bolton, was picked up by Unbound after it was rejected more than 30 times by traditional publishers. The title went on to become Unbound's fastest crowdfunded novel before it was published in 2018, with authors including David Walliams, David Nicholls and S J Watson pledging money to crowdfund the title. Cain later struck a film deal for the book.