Faber is publishing Lou Kuenzler's latest middle-grade novel, inspired by the stories of the female footballers who rose to fame following the First World War.
Editorial director Alice Swan acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Our Beautiful Game from Claire Wilson at RCW.
The story is inspired by the lives of footballers Lily Parr and Alice Woods, who as players on one of the earliest women's association football teams Swan called "sparkling, powerful forces to be reckoned with", and whose legacies in Kuenzler's fictional story are hoped to "encourage today's readers to stand up for what they believe in".
Women's football was outlawed by the Football Association in 1921, who deemed it "unsuitable for females", and the ban remained in place for over 50 years. The novel will be published in summer 2021, to coincide with the centenary of the ban.
Swan said: "This is undoubtedly a story that needs telling—incredible to think that women's football was as big as it is today one hundred years ago, only to be shut down by those who didn't like the idea of women on the pitch."
Kuenzler (pictured) said: 'I'm very excited to be working with Faber on my new fiction title, Our Beautiful Game. It feels timely and important to introduce these irrepressible, yet often overlooked, young players to middle-grade readers and football fans today.
"A hundred years before the Lionesses, Lily Parr, Alice Woods and their teammates were proudly playing their beloved, exciting and skilful game. I've been lucky enough to work with Faber on two previous picture book titles and know they will do a fabulous job. I think we all feel very privileged to be bringing these stories to the page."
Kuenzler has sold 56, 615 books for £312,798, with her bestseller, First Term at Tall Towers, selling 10,176 copies through Nielsen BookScan UK TCM.