Bloomsbury is to publish a biography of John le Carré by Adam Sisman in 2014, with the co-operation of the author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Publishing director Michael Fishwick bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Andrew Wylie, in what the publisher described as a "major" one-book deal. HarperCollins will publish in the US.
The publisher said Sisman will have a "free hand" and Le Carré will give Sisman access to his private archive, introduce him to associates and provide him with information. The book will deal with Le Carré's background in the intelligence services, his childhood and writing career, as well as the difficulties that lead to the breakdown of his first marriage, which was later depicted in The Naive and Sentimental Lover.
Sisman approached Le Carré, whose real name is David Cornwell, last summer.
He said: "I have admired and enjoyed David's work since I discovered him in my teens and believe that his enormous commercial success has hindered recognition that he is writer of the highest quality, who will eventually be acknowledged as one of the finest British post-War novelists."
Photo credit: Cristian Barnett