Fierce auction for debut author's book soars over seven figures

Fierce auction for debut author's book soars over seven figures

A flurry of deals on the eve of the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair is understood to have pushed rights sales for a Glaswegian début author over seven figures.

In the UK, HarperCollins paid "a high six-figure sum" for Eleanor Oliphant, by Gail Honeyman (pictured), and a follow-up title, after a fierce eight-way auction.

HC editor Martha Ashby acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Madeleine Milburn at Madeleine Milburn Ltd. The novel is a described as "an astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness". Honeyman won the Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award 2014, a prize for promising writers who have yet to publish a full-length work.

Milburn also concluded a "major" North American deal exceeding seven figures with Pam Dornan at Pam Dornan Books, the "boutique" Penguin Random House imprint which publishes around six to eight new titles a year. 

HC and PRH will publish in the UK and North America in 2017. So far deals for five other languages have been concluded: French (Fleuve), German (Bastei Lübbe), Italian (Garzanti), Dutch (Cargo/Bezige Bij) and Serbian (Vulkan). Deals are currently being considered for Swedish and Hebrew rights too.