Doubleday has signed a "major" pre-emptive deal for world rights in two books from Anna Bailey with the first offers already in from France and Italy.
The "significant" pre-emptive deal was struck by Kirsty Dunseath, publishing director of Doubleday fiction, with the agent Alice Lutyens of Curtis Brown. Doubleday will publish Tall Bones in hardback in spring 2021.
Tall Bones is, in the words of Lutyens, "an explosive firecracker of a literary crime novel" and is set in a closely-knit small-town community in Colorado and based "on her close and personal experience of an intensely suffocating and destructive community where religious devotion can manifest as rage and violence", said Doubleday.
"The novel begins when 17-year-old Emma leaves her friend at a party in the woods," reads the synopsis. "Many things happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again. And when a bloodied jumper appears, the town finds a scapegoat in the form of a Romanian boy who camps just outside the town. With the community in thrall to a crazy pastor who preaches of fire and brimstone there is no telling what might happen next."
Bailey said: "Kirsty has such a brilliant creative energy, I’m thrilled to be working with her and the team at Transworld. This is a total dream come true for me."
The 24-year-old grew up in Gloucestershire, but then moved to Colorado. In 2018, she returned to the UK where she enrolled in the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course.
Dunseath said: "I had to fend off very stiff competition, and bombarded Alice with emails, but I knew we absolutely had to publish Anna, as this kind of raw talent is a rare find. The writing is so assured and confident, it reminded me of reading early Gillian Flynn, Emily Fridlund or Emma Cline. The whole team at Transworld read the novel very quickly and was completely hooked. We are over the moon to be publishing Anna – she is one of the stars of the future!"
Lutyens added: "This is a dream collaboration; the incredible Tall Bones being published by Kirsty with the formidable Transworld team behind her."