Oneworld is to publish a "chilling and deeply moving" memoir by French writer Maude Julien entitled Behind the Gate.
Shadi Doostdar, publisher at Oneworld, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Australia and New Zealand to the title at auction from Kerry Glencorse at Susanna Lea Associates.
Behind the Gate details the "gruelling upbringing" imposed by Julien’s father, who believed that by submitting her to horrific tests of endurance, including living in seclusion, starvation and being deprived of heat and hot water, he could turn her into a “superhuman”. She had to learn to hold an electric fence without flinching and was subjected to complete silence for weeks on end. Her only source of solace was the pets she was allowed to keep and the books she read. Julien eventually escaped and is now a psychologist specialising in manipulation.
Doostdar said: “I am thrilled to be publishing Behind the Gate. It is like nothing I had read before. Told through the eyes of the young Maude, this chilling and deeply moving book captured my attention from the very first page. How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy and caring that was absent in her upbringing? Maude’s story is a fine testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of books to help us overcome our circumstances.”
Text Publishing won Australia and New Zealand rights in a five-way auction and Little, Brown won North American rights.
Rights have also been sold in Germany (Droemer), Japan (Wave Shuppan), Poland (Sonia Draga), Portugal (Guerra & Paz) and Sweden (Lind & Co).