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Shining Girl Beukes lands at HC

HarperCollins UK and Australia have won out in a five-way auction for hotly tipped Frankfurt Book Fair title The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.

HarperFiction crime and thriller publisher Julia Wisdom, together with Shona Martyn of HarperCollins Australia, bought the title in a two-book deal for UK and Commonwealth rights from Oliver Munson at Blake Friedmann, for what is understood to be a high six-figure sum.

Before the auction, three UK publishers tried to pre-empt the titles, with two offering six-figure sums at that stage. Bidding in the first round of the UK auction was already at the six-figure level. Munson sold North American rights to Mulholland Books before the Frankfurt Book Fair.

HarperFiction plans to publish The Shining Girls in May 2013 in hardback in the UK, and in trade paperback for the export market, as well as in e-book format. It is the story of a time-travelling serial killer, who commits murders through time without being traced, until one of the women he tries to kill survives, and begins to unravel his mystery.

Wisdom said: “The Shining Girls grabbed me by the throat from its opening pages. A time-travelling serial-killer novel, its powerful authorial voice, edgy characterisation and original, high-concept plot make it a standout work of fiction. It is doing something new and radical with the thriller genre which is a rare thing indeed.”

Munson said: “It was obvious that Lauren had something very special when she first told me the concept behind The Shining Girls, but the international response has been phenomenal. Frankfurt buzz or not, publishers don’t part with their money easily these days—particularly not on a partial manuscript—so all this enthusiasm is a real testament to the quality of Lauren’s writing and the world she’s imagining.”

Beukes’ previous work includes Zoo City (Angry Robot) which won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke Award. The author said: “HarperCollins was the first publisher brand I really noticed as a young reader . . . I’m excited about their cool marketing ideas and the bold and interesting things they’re doing around e-books. I couldn’t be happier.”