The author behind “Cat Person” got a book deal, so make room in your book club queue

The online debate that cropped up after The New Yorker published short story “Cat Person” last week was notable both because it hit a timely cultural nerve — and because the internet’s collective short attention span rarely gets so worked up about something longer than 140 280 characters (this one came in at around 7,000 words). Now, the impassioned tweets could turn into impassioned face-to-face conversation at your next book club.

Kristen Roupenian, who wrote “Cat Person,” just landed a publishing deal for a collection of short stories.

ICYMI: “Cat Person,” Harvard Ph.D. candidate Roupenian’s first story in the magazine, blew up the web when it was posted on December 11th. The fictional piece follows 20-year-old Margot and 34-year-old Robert who meet, text, go out, and end up in a sexual encounter that Margot consents to, but only because she doesn’t want to hurt Robert’s feelings or make things weird.

Considering the conversation about sexual misconduct and consent that we’re currently having, people had much to say about Margot, Robert, and their relationship. Some, like Anna Kendrick, related hard to the story and its themes of sexual pressure. Some criticized the way Robert’s weight came into play. Some didn’t get it. Some posted their own “Cat Person” experiences.

But the team at U.K. publisher Jonathan Cape were obviously impressed by Roupenian’s work.

The firm bought the writer’s debut book, You Know You Want This, for a “high five-figure sum,” according to The Guardian. Here in the U.S., an auction is reportedly underway for the short story collection, with bids coming in at more than $1 million.

Cape’s Michal Shavit said the publisher jumped at the opportunity to bring more of Roupenian’s writing to the masses, citing the strong reaction “Cat Person” garnered as an example of the author’s powerful way with words:

"Cat Person captured the public imagination to become a phenomenon. 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. It doesn’t just play into the #metoo thing – she just writes very honestly and truthfully about the human experience.

The stories in You Know You Want This will include a mix of topics, but they’ll have a similar feel and style to “Cat Person.” And with seven stories instead of one, we’re guessing there will be many more hot takes in our future.

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