Annie Hartnett sells novel ‘Rabbit Cake’ to Tin House

Annie Hartnett.
Annie Hartnett.

Annie Hartnett, of Newton, worked on her book, “Rabbit Cake,” while she was the Boston Public Library’s Children’s Writer-in-Residence from 2013 to 2014. But when it was time to sell the novel — the story of a young woman coping with the loss of her mother, who drowned while sleepwalking — it wasn’t clear who was supposed to buy it. Hartnett’s agent, Katie Grimm, believed the story should be marketed to adults. “She helped me figure it out — she thought it was definitely an adult novel,” Hartnett said.

But some publishers weren’t so sure, and passed the manuscript along to young adult imprints. “It’s a 12-year-old protagonist,” Hartnett said of the confusion, explaining that the language in her book worked well for an adult audience, and that the main character in the story was young, but perhaps too young for teen readers who often want to read books about older people.


Last week it was announced that “Rabbit Cake” sold to Tin House — as a novel for adults. Hartnett said that her editor believes the story is “for women in their 20s and 30s.” It should be out in November 2016.

The BPL has a good track record with Children’s Writers-in-Residence finding publishers for their works. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers published “Material Girls,” a dystopian YA novel by 2010-11 Children’s Writer-in-Residence Elaine Dimopoulos in May.

Names can be reached at names@globe.com. Follow Meredith Goldstein on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.