Waterstones Social Media Co-ordinator Barnaby Walter has scooped a two-book deal with Avon after commissioning editor Phoebe Morgan acquired world English-language rights from Joanna Swainson at Hardman & Swainson.

The first book in the deal is a thriller called The Deviant, set for publication in 2019. The novel is about a woman who discovers “a dark and complex underworld” at an elite university.

Morgan said: “I am so excited to bring Barnaby to the Avon list. He is an incredibly talented young writer and his début sent chills up my spine. This is a brilliant, dark look into a secret elitist world, and I can’t wait to share it with readers.”

The 25-year-old author, who is an alumni of the Faber Academy writing course, added: “I am overjoyed to be signing with Avon and joining such a terrific, passionate team. I have avidly read and enjoyed many of its titles over the years and it is a dream come true for my book to find a home within its brilliant family.”

Barnaby Walter was born and raised in Essex. After spending his childhood and teenage years reading compulsively, he worked in bookshops then went to the University of Southampton to study Film and English followed by an MA in Film & Cultural Management.

Aside from writing, reading and tweeting about books for a living, he can usually be found rearranging his ever-growing book collection (every corner of the house is buried under paperbacks) and Instagramming pictures of the titles he’s currently enjoying.