Canongate wakes up to debut

<p>Canongate has acquired a &quot;momentous&quot; d&eacute;but novel in what it calls a significant deal after the book <a href="../news/116545-summerhayes-author-wins-to-hell-with-prize.html" target="_blank">won the inaugural To Hell With Prize </a>during the London Book Fair.</p><p>Senior editor Francis Bickmore bought world rights, excluding North America, in<em> Bed </em>by David Whitehouse via Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavor in a pre-emptive deal finalised late last week. WME sold US and Canadian rights to Paul Whitlatch at Scribner.</p><p><em>Bed </em>centres around a family as it becomes dominated by the eccentric eldest child, Mal, who undergoes an &quot;extravagant metamorphosis&quot; and who Bickmore described as &quot;part-prophet, part-tyrant&quot;. The story is told through the eyes of the younger brother. </p><p>Bickmore said: &quot;It was the combination of the warm and unforgettable voice with topical, sometimes shocking, issues&mdash;depression, obesity, celebrity, mortality, love&mdash;that made me fall for this. I think people who loved <em>Vernon God Little, The Wrong Boy </em>or <em>The Rotter&#39;s Club </em>will relish David Whitehouse.</p><p>&quot;There were some great entries for the To Hell With Prize but <em>Bed</em> was something else and the unanimous winner. The characters are wildly eccentric but Whitehouse&#39;s storytelling is so warm none of us could put it down.&quot;</p><p>Bickmore was a judge on this year&#39;s To Hell With Prize, alongside author David Peace, writer India Knight, playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah and editor Greg Eden. </p><p>Laurence Johns of To Hell With Publishing, organisers of the prize, said: &quot;The aim of the prize was always to secure a deal for a manuscript that we felt deserved to be published so we&#39;re thrilled with the news and hoping this will set a precedent for what next year&#39;s prize can achieve.&quot; <br /> </p>