Hamish Hamilton wins three-publisher auction for 'irresistible' Hedman debut

Hamish Hamilton wins three-publisher auction for 'irresistible' Hedman debut

Hamish Hamilton has won a three-publisher auction for The Trio by Johanna Hedman, a “strikingly elegant” literary debut which has been snapped up in a flurry of deals by editors across Europe.

Commissioning editor Hermione Thompson bought world English rights from Sofia Odsberg at the Norstedts Agency, and will publish the novel in translation by Kira Josefsson in trade paperback, e-book and audiobook in summer 2022. The Trio will be published in the author’s native Swedish by Norstedts in August 2021, and rights have also sold in German, Spanish, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Icelandic and Catalan, with international submissions ongoing.

The publisher said: “At once contemporary and timeless, The Trio centres on a love triangle. Thora, August and Hugo meet in Stockholm in their twenties, the first two on-off lovers and childhood friends, the last an interloper in their gilded world. The novel opens years later, when Hugo, long estranged from Thora and August, is visited by their daughter, who has questions about her parents which she believes Hugo can answer. The reader is then cast back several decades to unravel the story of what passed between the trio when they were young.”

Hedman, who lives in Stockholm, holds a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies and she has lived and worked in Paris, southern India and New York, where she interned for the Swedish UN delegation.

She said: “I take a lot of inspiration from both contemporary and classic English literature, but when I was writing The Trio it never crossed my mind that the story would be translated into English. It’s such an honour and I really look forward to working with Hermione and the rest of the team at Hamish Hamilton. There are bookstores in New York and London that have felt like second living rooms to me and the possibility of seeing my own novel on their shelves is mind-boggling.”

Thompson commented: “From Stockholm to Paris, Berlin to New York, Johanna captures a mood of irresistible yearning and nostalgia – an almost painful sense of the startling, fleeting beauty of being alive – which seduced me on every page. Her writing puts me in mind of Sally Rooney, her characters orbiting one another in a dance of hesitation and desire, grappling with the eternal risks of intimacy. But equally it reminds me of F Scott Fitzgerald, and of French New Wave cinema, those blue fevered nights and lemon-pale dawns of youth when the unspoilt city opens itself to you without hesitation… I can’t recommend the pleasures of this novel highly enough.”

Odsberg added: “I am absolutely thrilled that Johanna Hedman’s debut will soon be available to an English-speaking audience as Hamish Hamilton’s first Swedish authorship in more than three decades. I am convinced that this irresistible novel will find readers everywhere.”