Louise Nealon, a 27 year old Trinity alumna, seems set to follow in fellow Trinity alum Sally Rooney’s footsteps with the 2021 release of her debut novel and pre-publication seizing of film and TV rights by Element Pictures.
Bonnier Books has acquired Nealon’s debut novel Snowflake, “an exquisite coming-of-age novel”, and a follow-up novel in a six-figure deal, with plans to publish the novel in 2021 through the publishers’ new imprint, Manilla Press.
Furthermore, Element Pictures, who are responsible for having produced the hit BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, have bought the film and TV rights to the novel.
On Twitter, Nealon wrote: “Huge thanks to Manilla Press @bonnierbooks_uk @ZaffreBooks Snowflake coming 2021.”
Nealon, who received a degree in English literature from Trinity in 2014 and a masters in creative writing from Queen’s University Belfast in 2016, came to relative prominence after the Irish Times published her short story “What Feminism Is” in 2017, which became one of their most-read short stories at the time.
Trinity congratulated Nealon over Twitter, writing: “Warmest congratulations to @tcdalumni, and English graduate Louise Nealon who has just signed a major deal with @bonnierbooks_uk for her debut novel, Snowflake.”
Nealon describes her novel as having emerged after having dreams that she felt did not belong to her. The novel follows a rural Irish girl named Debbie White whose mother is preoccupied with dreams; after moving to the city for university, Debbie herself begins to have strange dreams, struggles to find her identity, and undergoes trials as she navigates through college.
“I have been driven to tell this story for a decade. It is the reason I became a writer. By telling Debbie’s story, I am trying to get at a psychological realism,” Nealon said. “There is a buffer of silence around mental illness that psychiatry has failed to penetrate. When I was unwell, psychiatry did not raise me out of the depths of despair, but reading literature did.”
Speaking to the Irish Times, Nealon’s agent, Marianne, Gunn-O’Connor says that she “fell in love with Snowflake from the first chapters Louise shared with me” and knew that she “had to find a very special home for it”.