Paul Whitlach, the Scribner associate editor who acquired David Whitehouse's debut novel, Bed, from agent Claudia Ballard at William Morris Endeavor, says, "When I first got the pitch for a novel about a bedridden recluse who becomes the fattest man in the world, I was wearing my most skeptical Dana Scully face. But when I got to reading Bed, I was astonished at David's feat. He took an uncomfortable topic—morbid obesity—and crafted a story that is strange, grotesquely funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully written."
Whitehouse is a 30-year-old journalist ("Nothing too serious, they don't let me near wars or anything," he hastens to point out) living in London. He explains his writing process for the novel as "I write in really short bursts. Really short. I write for around 10 minutes and then stare into space for at least twice that." He took 14 months to draft the manuscript and another eight on editing. He then entered it in the first edition of the To Hell with Prizes Award, given annually to an unpublished work of fiction. At the 2010 London Book Fair, Bed was announced the winner.
Whitehouse admits that most of the events in the novel, which earned a starred PW review, are based on his own family life taken to an extreme—"in some cases a strange, cartoonish extreme." He quickly adds, "No one in my family is bed bound, though. Or even obese. A lot of people wonder."