Story of a Bad Date Went Viral, Lands Woman a $1M Book Deal

Kristen Roupenian wrote 'Cat Person' for the 'New Yorker,' and it hit a collective nerve
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2017 8:33 AM CST
Story of a Bad Date Went Viral, Lands Woman a $1M Book Deal
Nice job, Roupenian.   (Getty Images/oatawa)

An unknown writer became a viral sensation earlier this month after her short story "Cat Person," an uncomfortable narrative about an unpleasant date, appeared in the New Yorker. Now that 36-year-old author Kristen Roupenian has been thrust into the public eye, she's making yet another headline—this time for a book deal reportedly worth seven figures, sources tell the AP and New York Times. The deal with Scout Press, a Simon & Schuster imprint, is said to include an untitled novel and collection of short stories called You Know You Want This, which is scheduled for a spring 2019 release. Last week, the London publishing firm Jonathan Cape acquired the UK rights to the collection, per the Guardian.

Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor for the New Yorker, tells the Times that Roupenian's success is uncommon in two ways: that "Cat Person" struck such a nerve with so many—it's now the magazine's second-most-read article of 2017—and that a short-story collection would command such a high price from a publisher, especially as she's not a well-known writer or celebrity. Treisman praises Roupenian's attention to detail in her writing ("when 2 million people are collectively cringing over a sex scene, you've done something right"), while Jonathan Cape's publishing chief advises Roupenian's new fans not to expect "Cat Person" clones in her new collection. "They're dark, they're funny, they're irreverent, they're treading boundaries, and they're very different to one another," Michal Shavit says, per the Los Angeles Times. "But they're not all about the relationships between men and women." (More book deal stories.)

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