Faber has snapped up rights to Australian author and playwright Gabriel Bergmoser's Sunburnt Country.
Angus Cargill, editorial director, bought UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Australia, New Zealand and Canada from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. The book is scheduled for publication in late summer 2020.
In its home territory, the novel was titled Sunburnt Country and sold in a major auction, with Australian rights bought by Catherine Milne at Harper Collins from Tara Wynne at Curtis Brown Australia. The book has already been optioned for film by a major film company in Los Angeles. Faber said the UK title is currently undecided.
“Opening as a terrified young woman arrives at a service station in the outback with several cars in pursuit, it follows her and the other inhabitants of the roadhouse as they desperately try to outwit her attackers,” the synopsis reads.
Cargill described the book as “a short, sharp shock of a novel” and said that it “sits somewhere between the Aussie Noir of Jane Harper’s The Dry and the great 1970s survival movies, such as "Deliverance", "Duel", "Jaws" and "Wake in Fright", stories which explore our fear of the other and which tend to emerge during periods of real social unease”.
He added: “I’m excited at the prospect of us publishing a novel as committed to narrative tension and full blooded storytelling as this. It should cause some strong reactions.”
Bergmoser's first YA novel, Boone Shepard, was published in Australia in 2016 by Bell Frog Books and nominated for the Readings Young Adult Prize. In 2015 he won the prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award for "Windmills" and his play "Heroes", was nominated for the 2017 Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing.