Update on Carl Rollyson’s “The Last Days of Sylvia Plath”

Readers of this blog may recall that in January I posted about a new book I’d sold as literary agent, The Last Days of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson. That post announced a deal I made for the volume rights with the University Press of Mississippi. Today I’m announcing that the author and I have also sold audio book rights to Blackstone Audio, to be published at the same time as the UPM book.

In 2013, Rollyson published American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath, a full biography that chronicled Plath’s whole life, ending though it did even before her 31st birthday; in contrast, the new book will be a concise narrative covering just the last four months leading up to the poet’s suicide in 1963. From the sample material we’ve shared with both publishers, it’s fair to say Rollyon’s new book will incorporate some elements reminiscent of what’s known in newspaper writing as a tick-tock—a time- or date-driven narrative that propels the reader forward in to the daily life of its subject.

The book will also examine the role of Ted Hughes in the end of his estranged wife’s life, and the subject of manic depressive illness. With Rollyson knowing the Plath world well, the narrative will be informed by his knowledge of key source materials, some of which no earlier books will have benefited from. I’m sure it will be engrossing in whatever format readers find it, print, digital, or audio.

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