Fig Tree publishing director Juliet Annan has bought world rights in a new book by playwright and novelist Nell Leyshon.
The deal was done at auction through Anna Webber at United Agents. The Colour of Milk is told in the voice of a simple farm girl living in 1830, who has learned to write, and paid a high price to achieve this skill.
"A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father's farm alongside her three sisters," Fig Tree said.
"In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar's invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her – and the need to record it so urgently – are gradually revealed."
The novel will be published in May 2012.