May 24th, 2018

'Please Read This Leaflet Carefully': Karen Havelin's debut novel out in 2019

Norwegian writer and translator Karen Havelin’s debut novel Please Read This Leaflet Carefully has sold to two ambitious new independent publishers: Dottir Press (New York City) and Dead Ink (Liverpool). Karen Havelin’s Norwegian publisher will be Cappelen Damm.

Karen Havelin’s novel is inspired by her personal experience as an MFA fiction student at Columbia University in New York City. Please Read This Leaflet Carefully tracks backwards, from 2016 until 1995, etching details of daily life into a gripping and darkly humorous bildungsroman, about the intricacies of love and life in a fragile body. We meet Laura Fjellstad, first as she works and cares for her young daughter, while struggling with debilitating pain and endometriosis, an invisible chronic illness. As the reader moves in reverse to meet Laura’s younger and healthier selves (a hopeful bride in New York, a baby queer in Paris, a figure skater in Norway) we uncover Laura’s tireless work to gain control of her identity, her illness and the conflicting demands made by doctors, friends, lovers and family.

“Most books about disease try to describe the pain; told in poetic whisper, Karen Havelin’s debut novel lets pain speak for itself. It dares you be nosy, to eavesdrop and listen in to a stoic young woman whom no one noticed until she began to disappear—a burning triumph.”—Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prize 2016

Slated to publish simultaneously in the UK and US in May, 2019, Please Read This Leaflet Carefully will be the feminist indie publisher Dottir Press’s first novel. “Havelin’s writing is penetrating and delicately wrought,” says Dottir founder Jennifer Baumgardner. “But it’s her ability to make visible female pain—the pain of a body that appears ‘normal’ as well as the pain of being blamed for being sick—that drew me to this astonishing book.”

Nathan Connolly at Dead Ink says: “Please Read This Leaflet Carefully combines exquisite and urgent writing with a personal story of an all too frequently misunderstood and ignored condition that effects millions of women. The book is intensely intimate whilst being immediately relatable—this is a book that is distinctly necessary right now, but also one that never surrenders to being anything less than an absolutely stunning and revelatory work of art.”

For more information, please contact Maria Cardona.