Faber triumphs in ‘hard-fought’ five-publisher auction for historian’s debut

Faber triumphs in ‘hard-fought’ five-publisher auction for historian’s debut

Faber & Faber triumphed in a “hard-fought” five-way auction to publish historian Edward Shawcross’s debut book.

Publisher Alex Bowler bought British Commonwealth rights to publish Shawcross’s debut and a second book from Patrick Walsh at PEW Literary. American rights were pre-empted within 24 hours by Lara Heimert at Basic Books/Hachette in New York. Dutch-language rights have already been sold to Sander van Vlerken at Athenaeum.

Shawcross’s debut, The Last Emperor of Mexico, telling the story of Maximilian I who was briefly MExico’s monarch before being executed by firing squad in 1867, will be published in Autumn 2021.

Oxford history graduate Shawcross, who studied his doctorate at UCL, spent months researching his debut in archives in Mexio and Paris. 

He said: “I am beyond thrilled to be working with such talented individuals at Faber & Faber in the UK and Basic Books in the United States to bring The Last Emperor of Mexico to publication. Both publishers have a phenomenal reputation for excellence and I am overjoyed to join their lists.”

Bowler added: “Shawcross has the rare gift of absolutely solid academic foundations and the most fluid and fresh of styles. We are thrilled to be publishing him as a keystone historian of the Faber list.”

Patrick Walsh said: “This is the most vibrant piece of historical storytelling which I have come across in years, and the joy is that Edward Shawcross had the languages to mine the primary archives across Europe and Mexico. He’s a significant new historian who reminds me on the page of a young John Julius Norwich, as his writing is incredibly fluent and polished. He’s a joy to read.”