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Harvill Secker acquires The Mouse-Proof Kitchen

Harvill Secker has acquired a debut novel from Anglo-Afghan documentary-maker and writer, Saira Shah, called The Mouse-Proof Kitchen.

Rebecca Carter bought UK, Commonwealth and European rights in the title, which was sold on sole submission of a partial manuscript, before she left Harvill Secker. It will be published in spring 2013, with the first full draft just delivered to Michal Shavit, previously at Granta, who will join Harvill Secker as editorial director next week.

The story follows chef Anna as she unexpectedly discovers she's pregnant, and plans to move to Provence with partner Tobias to create the perfect life for her baby. However, when Freya is born with profound mental and physical disabilities, things begin to spiral out of control, and Anna struggles to get their lives back on track.

Harvill Secker publisher Liz Foley said: "Saira's book has been deeply embraced by everyone at Harvill Secker and Vintage. It is a wonderful achievement to have written a novel which deals with such an important and challenging subject with such grace, warmth and humour. It will be an honour and a pleasure to publish."