Picador wins eve-of-Fair auction for Miniaturist

Picador has seen off competition from 11 other publishers to win a fiercely contested six-figure, pre-fair auction, acquiring UK and Commonwealth rights in historical fiction début The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

Editorial director Francesca Main signed the deal with Juliet Mushens at The Agency Group, after the contest went to best bids, and the title will be a super-lead launch for Picador in July 2014.

The book has caused a stir worldwide just ahead of the fair, with US rights acquired in a similarly fierce six-figure auction by Lee Boudreaux at HarperCollins imprint Ecco.

Meanwhile, HC Canada bought Canadian rights, with Intrinseca pre-empting in Brazil, Salamandra pre-empting in Spain, and auctions currently taking place in Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Serbia and Holland, with offers in Turkey and Norway, and more deals expected during LBF.

Set in 17th-century Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age, The Miniaturist tells the story of 18-year-old Nella, newly married to wealthy merchant Johannes. Though distant, he sends her an exact miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift. Unnerving in its precise attention to detail, Nella begins to fear for every member of the household as escalating real-life dramas are mirrored in miniature form.

Burton was born in south London in 1982, and has worked as an actress. She was one of the inaugural students on the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course.

LBF Bookseller Daily: Day 1