Bloomsbury has acquired Irish children's laureate Sarah Crossan's first novel for adults in a six-figure deal at auction.
Bloomsbury Publishing editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Crossan’s debut adult verse novel Here is the Beehive and a second novel from Julia Churchill at A M Heath.
The "major" deal was struck for six figures, with Pringle commenting on Crossan's debut, a book about grief, death and obsession: "the moment we read it, we knew we had to have it, and would do anything to get it." It is slated to publish in August 2020.
Crossan is best known for her books for young adults published on the Bloomsbury Children's list, among which are One, which won 2016's YA Book Prize, and 2019’s Toffee.
Her new novel for adults, Here is the Beehive, starts with the story of Ana and Connor. They have been having an affair for three years, keeping their love secret in hotel rooms, weekends away, swiftly deleted text messages. Though consuming, they hide it well and nobody knows of their relationship except Mark, Connor’s best friend. When Ana gets a phone call to say that Connor has died in a cycling accident, she has no place for her grief. Mark is reluctant to become Ana’s confidant, so with no other place to turn, Ana seeks out friendship with the only person who shares her pain – Connor’s grieving widow Rebecca.
Crossan said: "This is the story of a woman pushed to the edge of sanity when life sends her a bomb in the shape of a man she loves and loses. It is a book about grief, longing and lies, and is a novel I stayed up into the early hours to write. I am utterly thrilled that Bloomsbury have seen in this book everything I set out to achieve. I can’t wait to start a new and exciting chapter in my career as an author of adult fiction."
Pringle said: "Sarah Crossan is already the jewel in the crown of Bloomsbury Children’s, but in adult editorial Here is the Beehive arrived like a bolt from the blue: the moment we read it, we knew we had to have it, and would do anything to get it. I have always felt that marriage is the best kept secret. It is the subject no-one tells the truth about. In the beautifully written, entirely gripping novel, Sarah Crossan peels away the layers of two overlapping marriages, excavating grief, betrayal and loss. It’s a novel you read with your heart in your mouth, obsessively, in one go; before charging out into the world desperate to discuss it with everyone you know."
Crossan's agent, Churchill, added the book was not only a thrill to read but "a thrill to sell". US rights in Here is the Beehive were pre-empted by Judy Clain at Little, Brown and have been auctioned or pre-empted in Denmark to Rosinante, in France to Editions Fayard, in Germany to Kiepenheuer & Witsch, in Hungary to General Press, in Italy to Mondadori, in the Netherlands to Signatuur and in Sweden to Sekwa.
Photo: Ger Holland