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Cape wins Kae Tempest’s new novel Having Spent Life Seeking in a major seven-way auction

Having Spent Life Seeking, the groundbreaking new novel by award-winning writer and musician Kae Tempest, has been acquired from Nicola Chang by Jonathan Cape in a competitive seven-way auction. Publishing in 2026, Having Spent Life Seeking is the artist’s first novel in nearly ten years, exploring love and courage, the human will to change and the power of redemption and compassion.

“It is 2025. Rothko has been out of prison for six months and today is the first day of the rest of their life, a life which they are trying to put back together after losing sight of it 20 years ago. But everywhere they turn, they keep coming up against the past.

Back in 2005, 15-year-old Rothko is on the verge of getting kicked out of school. Nothing in their life makes sense to them apart from Dionne Troy – the girl from school who kisses Rothko like there’s nothing wrong with them. A couple of wrong turns set in motion a chain of events that will dictate the course of Rothko’s life – and the lives of those around them – forever.”

Tempest said: “I’ve given everything to this novel. It’s precious to me and I was so protective over the characters as I was writing it, but Cape felt like the perfect home for them, for the book and for me.”

Marošević said: “Having Spent Life Seeking is a landmark work of British fiction, a liberatory novel about what it means for a person to be allowed to transform, come into themselves and love. This is a novel that transcends convention and commands language into new, supple, capacious forms and I know it will heal hearts and change lives. We’re so proud to welcome Kae to Jonathan Cape and Vintage.”


Photo credit: Wolfgang Tillmans