HC buys in-demand debut

HarperCollins has pre-emptively bought a début novel subject to fierce bidding internationally.

Sarah Ritherdon, publishing director at HarperFiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to two books by Seré Prince Halverson. Rights were bought from Jenny Meyer at Jenny Meyer Literary Agency on behalf of Elisabeth Weed at Weed Literary. The book, entitled The Underside of Joy, will be published in June 2012, with the second book following a year later.

Ritherdon said: "Seré Prince Halverson has written a magical and poignant tale of two very different women who love the same children, and who both have reason to call themselves their mother. A tragedy sets them on a collision course which has the potential to destroy them both, and it was as if I was holding my breath to the very last page to discover their final fate.

"Reminiscent of Jodi Picoult, with the warmth of Adriana Trigiani, and the subtlety of Anita Shreve, The Underside of Joy really is a magical book which it will be a privilege to publish."

Among the global deals that have already been signed for the book are the US (Dutton), Italy (Sperling & Kupfer), Brazil (Sextante), Spain (Planeta), Germany (Krueger) and Holland (Mouria).