Bloomsbury has acquired a non-fiction title about Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the daughter of a dispossessed Maharajah and god-daughter to Queen Victoria, who became one of the leading Suffragettes. The publisher beat other six-figure pre-emptive offers from both sides of the Atlantic.
Editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle acquired world English-language rights in Sophia by journalist Anita Anand, through Patrick Walsh at Conville & Walsh, making a “large six-figure” offer, though Bloomsbury’s was not the largest sum. Other pre-emptive bids came from Farrar Straus & Giroux in New York, another from Random House US, as well as Macmillan UK and Random House UK. Eight publishers had been lining up to take part in an auction, according to the agent.
Anand accidentally discovered the princess’ story while on maternity leave last year. The book will feature Gandhi, Nehru, Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill, as Princess Sophia grew up in Britain under Queen Victoria’s protection, living at Hampton Court Palace. She became one of the leading suffragettes, campaigning alongside the Pankhursts.
Pringle said: "This is one of the most wonderful non-fiction projects I have come across in all my years in publishing. How could I not fall in love with a beautiful Indian princess who was a Suffragette and a revolutionary?
"And Anita Anand is the single most perfect person to write this book. This will be such an exciting book for us to publish in the UK, US and our new companies in Australia and of course, most especially India."