Rowan Lawton of Furniss Lawton has sold a "sweeping page-turner" about two sisters separated by war, White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht (pictured), to Beckie Hardie, deputy publishing director at Chatto & Windus. The six-figure pre-empt took place yesterday (13th) during London Book Fair.
Hardie took UK and Commonwealth rights; meanwhile Lawton also sold North American rights on the eve of LBF to Tara Singh Carlson, senior editor at Penguin Putnam, in a "significant" six-figure pre-empt. There are several opening offers in international territories, Lawton said.
White Chrysanthemum moves between 1943 and modern day South Korea to tell the story of two sisters, Hana and Emi, separated by war, and is said to appeal to fans of Memoirs of a Geisha and Wild Swans. Bracht is a US author of Korean descent who lives in London and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck last year.
Bracht is said to have grown up in a large ex-pat community of South Korean women in a small town in Central Texas "where she was hugely influenced by the hardships her mother, and the many women like her, suffered growing up in post-war South Korea".
Hardie said: "The story of women like Hana and Emi is one that needs to be told. Mary has written a gripping and important book about a forgotten corner of history which will change the way we look at the world."
Carlson added: "This novel is unbelievably moving, about two sisters faced with life’s deepest cruelties during wartime, and how each eventually makes peace with her fate. This story, both intimate and far-reaching, is a pinprick of hope in a time of dangerous global politics, and will remind each of us of our humanity".