Clare Alexander of Alexander Aitken Associates has pulled off a hat-trick of "major" deals with Doubleday in America, including deals for authors Pat Barker and Mark Haddon.
A forthcoming novel by Haddon based on a Jacobean play has sold in the US on the strength of a partial script whilst Barker's retelling of the Iliad has also gone, both in "major six figure" deals. Debut novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite's first book has attracted a "significant five-figure" advance, also with Doubleday US.
Haddon's as yet untitled book will be based on the play "Pericles, Prince of Tyre", written at least in part by William Shakespeare as well as by pamphleteer and dramatist George Wilkins, it is believed. Doubleday’s editor-in-chief Bill Thomas acquired North American rights from Alexander. The book is slated for publication in the US next year or early 2019 and does not yet have a deal in the UK.
Doubleday will also publish Pat Barker’s retelling of the Iliad, The Silence of the Girls and it will be published by the New York-based division of Penguin Random House next year. It reimagines the Iliad story from the perspective of Briseis, the captured queen who becomes the possession of first Achilles and then Agamemnon in the 10 weeks leading up to the death of Achilles which precedes the Fall of Troy. Gerry Howard, executive editor of Doubleday, acquired North American rights.
The title will be published in UK in autumn 2018 by Hamish Hamilton. Barker described the book as a “ radical departure for me” when news of the deal with the imprint’s publishing director Simon Prosser broke in July.
Doubleday will also publish “darkly comedic” first novel, My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite, as part of a "significant five-figure advance". The publication of the title from the Kingston University Creative Writing and Law graduate is scheduled for 2018, while Atlantic will publish it in the UK.
Alexander described 2017 as a year of “green shoots” and that the time had come for the agency to "shout about the good things that have been happening", in an interview with The Bookseller in October. In the interview, she also stressed the importance the agency placed on US deals.