Allen & Unwin to publish bedtime stories for grown-ups

16th October 2019

Allen & Unwin has snapped up Nothing Much Happens: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Kathryn Nicolai in a seven-way auction, with rights sold in nine international territories. 

Senior editor Kate Ballard bought UK Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights in conjunction with publisher Kelly Fagan at Allen & Unwin Australia from Meg Wheeler at Westwood Creative. Nothing Much Happens will be published in hardback and eBook by Allen & Unwin in Autumn 2020.

Developed from Nicolai’s successful podcast of the same name, Nothing Much Happens offers sleep-challenged grown-ups of all ages “a suite of charming and soothing stories that take place in and around a small fictional city and which focus on small, sweet moments of joy”, reads the synopsis. “Each story invites us to identify with unnamed, gender-neutral first-person narrators who recount their days. We can imagine ourselves visiting the local cider mill in the autumn. Watching the tree-lighting in the park with friends in the winter. Stealing lilacs from an abandoned farm in the spring. There are stories that celebrate nature and revel in the joy of being home alone. Putting our ducks in a row with a day of quiet chores and a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. Closing the bookshop at the end of the day, opening the bakery, getting lost in the shelves of the library, and picking out the best of the end-of-summer tomatoes at the farmer’s market.”

Ballard said:

“As a perpetual seeker of quality sleep and a fan of reading to unwind, the idea of bedtime stories for adults really appealed – but it was only when I started reading that I fully appreciated the unique qualities of this deceptively simple collection; Kathryn’s short, sensory tales manage to evoke the distinct comforts offered by each of the four seasons to lull her reader to sleep (or back to sleep) in a wholly original way, transporting us to a place of calm through her gentle prose. This book feels quite different from anything else on the market and my colleagues and I can’t wait to share it – the perfect addition to bedsides the world over!”