Patrick Walsh of Conville & Walsh said he has had "very serious interest worldwide" in a debut non-fiction work by a 26-year-old about an extraordinary episode of North Korea's recent history.
Joel Rickett and Venetia Butterfield at Viking Penguin won the book, A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer, at auction, bidding against five other publishers. In the US, Colin Dickerman of the new Flatiron imprint at Macmillan US won a second auction against four other publishers, paying "a very serious six-figure-dollar sum".
Walsh said he has five French publishers bidding today (25th September) and has accepted a Dutch pre-empt from Nieuw Amsterdam, while offers are in from Italy and Germany.
A Kim Jong-Il Production tells of how the golden couple of South Korean cinema, director Shin Sang-Ok and actress Madam Choi [pictured], were kidnapped in 1978 at the behest of North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-Il who wanted to build up his country's film industry.
Held for eight years in North Korea before escaping with the help of the CIA, Shin and Choi were forced to make feature films for Kim Jong-Il. The couple, who had previously been married but later divorced, were also forced to remarry by the North Korean dictator.
Eighty-eight year-old Madam Choi, the only surviving partner of the couple, is said to be "co-operating fully" in the telling of the story.
Fischer is a writer and film-maker who lives in London.
The book will be delivered next April for a spring 2015 delivery.
Photo credit: Sue Yang