Bidding frantic for Beukes' thriller

A high-concept thriller is currently the subject of a five-way UK publisher auction, with North American rights already sold to Mulholland Books by Oliver Munson of Blake Friedmann.

Editor John Schoenfelder acquired The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City (Angry Robot) and winner of this year's Arthur C Clarke award, and one other novel in the deal. The Shining Girls will be published in spring 2013, with Munson describing it as "a high concept thriller about a time travelling serial killer".

It is understood three UK publishers tried to pre-empt the titles, two offering six-figure sums, and Munson is currently holding a UK auction with five publishers in the running with bidding at six-figures in the first round. He also expects to hold a South African auction, with German rights in the two books pre-empted by Rowohlt. Munson said the auction will be continuing over the fair next week.

Munson said: "As the overwhelming response suggests, The Shining Girls definitely has star quality and will go on to be a massive worldwide bestseller. This is more than just a high concept thriller: it's a structural tour de force with unforgettable characters written by a bold author whose writing just goes from strength to strength."

Beukes lives and works in Cape Town, and is also a comics writer, TV scriptwriter, documentary director and journalist.