HarperCollins has bagged Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows in a “strong” six-figure deal after fighting off five other publishers to win the title at auction.
The novel, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, who was born in Singapore and raised in Japan, Russia and the Philippines, tells of the hidden pleasures of a group of women who are dismissed by their community, and also of the stark reality of honour killings in the UK. It follows a young woman, Nikki, who agrees to teach a creative writing course at her local temple. Through helping the women voice their desires, she begins to uncover the truth about the sudden death of a young Sikh woman in the community.
Martha Ashby, editor at HarperFiction, bought world English-language rights, alongside Rachel Kahan at William Morrow in the US, and a second title by the author, from Anna Power at Johnson & Alcock.
Jaswal’s first novel, Inheritance, was published by Sleepers Publishing in Australia in 2013 (Jaswal lived in the country for a number of years), and the novel won her the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist award.