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‘Cat Person’ writer sells her debut book in international publishing deal

Elisa Roupenian Toha

The bidding war over Kristen Roupenian’s first book may bring a price in the neighborhood of $1 million.

By Kaitlyn Locke Globe Correspondent 

So what’s the value of buzz? Apparently quite a lot.

Massachusetts native Kristen Roupenian, whose New Yorker-published short story “Cat Person” went viral last week, has sold her debut book to British publisher Jonathan Cape for a hefty five figures, according to The Guardian. A bidding war is currently ongoing between 11 US publishers, with a reported price tag of over $1 million.

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“Cat Person” was the first story Roupenian, a Falmouth Academy graduate whose parents worked in Plymouth, had published in The New Yorker. It details a short relationship between a college student, Margot, and a 34-year-old man named Robert and struck a chord because so many readers recognized themselves in the way the tale unfurled the intricacies of sexual relationships between men and women.

Roupenian’s new book, “You Know You Want This,” is a compilation of short stories.

“ ‘Cat Person’ captured the public imagination to become a phenomenon,” Michal Shavit said. “You see that so rarely in literary fiction. It’s an extraordinary story of human relationships and the sexual dynamics between a man and a woman, the power plays within that.”

Shavit added, “I was submitted the collection on Tuesday. By Wednesday, I had bought the book. She’s the real deal.”


Kaitlyn Locke can be reached at kaitlyn.locke@globe.com
Follow her on Twitter at @ke_locke.