HarperFiction buys 'magical' debut from RNA awards organiser

HarperFiction buys 'magical' debut from RNA awards organiser

HarperFiction has bought a debut about a 110-year-old “memory harvester” from Romantic Novelists Association awards organiser Celia J Anderson.

Charlotte Ledger, editorial director at HarperFiction, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to 59 Memory Lane from Laura Macdougall at United Agents. It will be published in summer 2019.

The "magical" debut by Derbyshire-based Anderson introduces 110-year-old May Rosevere, who has lived in the Cornish village of Pengelly for almost all of her life. May claims her longevity is the result of clean living, but in fact May is a “memory harvester”: someone whose youthful appearance and long life is the result of living off the memories of others. These memories are imparted onto objects people leave behind, objects that May has spent her life collecting. Desperate to reach what she sees as the magical age of 111, but finding it increasingly difficult to discover objects that hold new memories, May makes some significant decisions with far-reaching consequences.

Formerly a primary school teacher, Anderson now coordinates the judging for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards, for which Dani Atkins won this year’s prize for This Love (Simon & Schuster).

Ledger said that Anderson’s novel will appeal to an “increasing appetite” for commercial fiction with a “fresh twist”.

She said: “I was utterly enchanted by 59 Memory Lane and May, a wonderfully bristly but endearing heroine whose unique story is captured so beautifully by Celia. There’s an increasing appetite for broader commercial fiction with a fresh twist and this delightful novel will charm anyone who reads it.”

Anderson revealed she was “terrifically excited” and “very much looking forward to working with Charlotte Ledger and the team”.

Macdougall said: “I’m delighted 59 Memory Lane has found a home with Charlotte Ledger and HarperFiction. Their passion for Celia’s storytelling was evident from the start and I know they’ll publish the book brilliantly.”