Débuts go to auction pre-LBF

Michael Joseph publisher Sam Humphreys has won a five-way auction for world rights to three historical novels from début author Liz Fremantle, one of several début deals underway ahead of London Book Fair.

The first book, Queen’s Gambit, will tell the story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife, through her eyes and those of her maid. Humphreys paid a six-figure sum through agent Jane Gregory. Italian and Brazilian rights have been pre-empted by Mondadori and Companhia das Letras respectively, with German and US auctions underway.

Meanwhile, Fig Tree publishing director Juliet Annan has won an auction for another début, multi-generational tale The Wake by Joanna Rossiter, acquiring UK and Commonwealth rights through Cathryn Summerhayes at WME for spring 2013 publication.

A deal is expected to close next week for Victorian-set novel The Palace of Curiosities by début author Rosie Garland, currently on submission to 16 publishers from Charlotte Robertson at Aitken Alexander. 

The Neil Blair Partnership is understood to have received blind bids from foreign territories for J K Rowling’s adult title, to be published by Little, Brown in the UK, ahead of a 2nd April deadline.

Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster executive director Kerr MacRae has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the autobiography of actress and psychologist Pamela Stephenson (pictured), through Ed Victor, and will publish this September.