Canadian auteur David Cronenberg has signed a deal with Penguin Canada to write his debut novel, the publishing house announced today.

The deal was negotiated by Nicole Winstanley, executive editor at Penguin Group Canada, and UK literary agent Andrew Wylie of the Wylie Agency. Wylie is handling world rights on publishing in other territories.

Penguin is mum on the subject matter of the as-yet-untitled novel. A company spokesperson would only say the story is partially set in Toronto and will be published in early 2010.

Winstanley approached the filmmaker several months ago to inquire if he would consider writing a novel. 'His films demonstrate a deep understanding of the human condition that could translate into fiction brilliantly so I'm delighted that he has decided to take this challenge on and I'm really looking forward to working with him,' she said in a statement. Said Cronenberg, 'I've literally been waiting fifty years to do this. I'm excited.'

Born in Toronto and a life-long resident of the city, Cronenberg graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in literature after switching from science. His first feature Shivers was released in 1975; over the arc of his career he has gone beyond the horror genre to explore themes including the paranormal, the intrusion of visual media, biology, technology, identity and the psychology of delusion.