Transworld has signed a "major" debut novel described as ‘Gravity meets One Day’.
Transworld acquired British Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to Hold Back the Stars by debut author and head of digital in film at Paramount Pictures UK, Katie Khan.
Rights were bought in a “fiercely contested” auction in the UK by editorial director Simon Taylor from Juliet Mushens at United Talent Agency.
The novel is a powerful love story set in space and is due to publish as a Doubleday hardback in January 2017.
Taylor said: “My colleagues and I were captivated by Katie’s singular and affecting story of two young people who fall for each other in a supposedly utopian future that doesn’t really understand or accept the notion of ‘true love’. She writes with such sensitivity and skill, and wit and vigour – and while her novel is high concept, the story she tells is ultimately an intensely poignant and human one that will resonate with all who read it.”
The first offer from a publisher was received within 24 hours of the book’s submission and after just three weeks, Khan’s novel had secured publishing deals in 19 countries.
Simon & Schuster US won the book in a six figure deal at auction for North America and auctions and pre-empts have occurred in France, Korea, Russia, and Taiwan. The novel has also attracted significant film interest around the world.
Mushens, who also represents Jessie Burton, said: “Hold Back the Stars is ambitious, pulse-pounding and heart-breaking in equal measure. I knew it was something special as soon as I began to read it.”
The book's author, Khan, works in digital marketing at Paramount Pictures UK and is a graduate of the Faber Academy course. She is the fourth alumni from the course to be signed by Transworld, joining authors S. J Watson, Rachel Joyce and Renee Knight – all of whose debut novels have been featured in the Sunday Times Top 10 Charts, two of them number one bestsellers.
Khan said: “Since my novel went out on submission in September I’ve had the most crazy month, and the reaction to my story is beyond what I could have dreamed. When you work on a project semi-secretly, late at night, you pray that it’s good but your own subconscious constantly tears you down and tells you it’s not. Having offers, auctions, and enquiries about film options has eclipsed my expectations, and I’m thrilled and excited to work with Transworld on the publication of my book, which I can’t wait to hold in my hands.”