A début by a 24-year-old British author about Brockwell Lido has caused a splash ahead of the fair, with the triumphant UK and US editors both having to double their original six-figure offers.
Caskie Mushens agent Robert Caskie has received offers from 11 territories for The Lido by Libby Page, which draws on the writer’s experience of living in Brixton, near to Brockwell Park’s lido. It features 26-year-old Kate, who joins forces with 86-year-old widow Rosemary to save the pool.
Clare Hey, publishing director at Orion Fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights within 24 hours of submission for a “middling” six-figure sum after doubling her original offer. Marysue Rucci, vice-president and editor-in-chief at S&S US, bought North American rights for a “significant” six-figure sum through Sasha Raskin at New York’s United Talent Agency, acting on behalf of Caskie. It has also sold in Brazil, Finland, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden through various pre-empts, with auctions continuing on Monday (13th March).
Caskie found the novel in his slush pile in January, shortly after launching a new agency with Juliet Mushens. Described as “reading group with a bit of literary”, he told The Bookseller its eager reception among publishers reminded him of when he began selling Sarah Winman’s When God Was a Rabbit at PFD. “Everybody has wanted The Lido—there was going to be a UK auction but Orion doubled its original offer,” he said. “I called Libby and she burst into tears.”
Page, who has since quit her job in marketing, said: “After a year of sending The Lido to agents and receiving numerous rejections, I was close to giving up when I heard Robert was starting a new agency,” she said. “I decided to send him my manuscript—I’m so glad I did.”
Hey and Rucci will edit the book together, and it will be published in spring 2018. Hey said: “It’s not often you read a novel that grabs you immediately and refuses to let you go... when I read it, I knew it was something very special.”