Bloomsbury Children’s Books has bought world rights to a debut YA novel by Mary Watson and one other title ahead of Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
The Wren Hunt tells the story of two ancient powers fighting for survival and one girl, born of both, who will decide their fate.
The deal was brokered by editorial director Ellen Holgate and Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
Holgate said she was “reluctant” to pigeon-hole the genre because it was “so different from anything else out there”.
“The setting is contemporary, but with a deep, ancient magic thinly veiled from view – it sizzles with romance, betrayal, deceit, lies and magic,” she said. “The tension at the heart of The Wren Hunt makes it read like a thriller, but the high concept is backed up by exceptional writing.”
Watson added: “I wanted to explore the idea of hunting, of being pursued or ensnared but in subtle ways. To tell a story about a girl who, in searching for something, realises that it is she herself who is lost. I was taken with the idea of magic in the patterns formed by everyday things, and hoped to weave a world where the ordinary and the magical exist side by side.”
Watson studied a PhD in Film Studies in Cape Town, South Africa, and creative writing at the University of Capet Town, but is currently living on the west coast of Ireland.
The Wren Hunt will be published in February 2018 with a second title following a year later.