HarperCollins has triumphed in a nine-way auction to publish Girl A by slushpile debut author Abigail Dean, with international rights sold in seven territories as well as an ongoing auction in Brazil and offers in Portugal and Israel.
The major six-figure two-book deal was negotiated by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens. HarperFiction publisher Julia Wisdowm acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights, with exclusive Europe, in Girl A and The Conspiracies by Dean.
North American rights to Girl A went to Laura Tisdel at Viking in a seven-figure deal at auction, by Jenny Bent on behalf of Mushens. The novel has been pre-empted in France (JC Lattes), Holland (HarperCollins NL), Italy (Einaudi) and Sweden (Forum) and sold at auction in Spain (Ediciones B) and Lithuania (Alma Littera), with an ongoing auction in Brazil and offers in Portugal and Israel. The TV/film rights are currently in negotiation via Sally Willcox at Paradigm.
Mushens, who turned down two significant six-figure pre-empts within 48 hours of submission, said: "I started the manuscript at my desk and ended up finishing Girl A on my phone as I couldn’t bear to stop reading, and emailed Abigail at 3am, convinced that this book was going to be a literary conversation-setter as well as a commercial juggernaut. The response in the UK and internationally has been extraordinary, but exactly what the book deserves."
Wisdom said: "Girl A is a ground-breaking, beautifully written and incredibly powerful novel. For me, and for Phoebe Morgan who will be Abigail’s editor, it is a book that will resonate with every reader long after they finish it and the psychological insights are astonishing."
Narrated by Lex Gracie, Girl A follows the story of the successful lawyer living in New York who is better known to the public as Girl A, "the one who escaped from a childhood of abuse at the hands of religious fanatic parents, freeing her six siblings. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer," reads the synopsis. "Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good, but first she must obtain her siblings' consent – and come to terms with the childhood they shared."
Girl A, which has been likened to novels such as Room and We Need To Talk About Kevin, will be published in spring 2021 in hardback and supported by a major marketing and publicity campaign, launching with an on-screen announcement at the HarperCollins stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Dean said: "HarperFiction’s pitch was incredible: smart, creative and full of passion for the novel and its characters. I’m so excited to be working with Julia, Laura and their fantastic teams to introduce Girl A and the Gracie family to readers across the world. The last few weeks have been dreamlike, and I’m in awe of my agent, Juliet, who has worked tirelessly to make all of this happen."