Headline Review has pre-empted world rights to the debut novel from Ruth Druart, with 11 international rights deals following for the “remarkable read”.
Editorial director Sherise Hobbs scooped rights from Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown for While Paris Slept, to be published in February 2021. Editor-in-chief Karen Kosztolnyik at Grand Central bagged North American rights, with pre-emptive offers coming from multiple other territories, with 11 international rights deals now made for the book.
The synopsis explains: “While Paris Slept tells the story of two people whose lives become irrecoverably intertwined in Occupied Paris when a Jewish mother onboard a train bound for Auschwitz desperately thrusts her baby into the arms of a French railwayman. An unforgettably moving tale of maternal love during one of history’s darkest hours, the novel takes the reader into the fear, paranoia and clandestine resistance of France during the Second World War.”
Hobbs said: "While Paris Slept is a remarkable read. We witness two strangers coming face to face in a moment of unimaginable terror and making a split-second decision which will bind them together for ever. It is a beautiful, life-affirming story of courage and sacrifice, as Ruth shines a light on the extraordinary power of hope. It will speak to all those who loved Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. We are so proud to be publishing this novel.’"
Druart has lived in Paris since 1993 and is a teacher in an international school. Four years ago, she completed a master’s degree in international education, exploring the topic of third-culture children and their sense of belonging, a theme which the publisher said runs through her novel.
She said: "I am thrilled that my first novel has been adopted by the lovely team at Headline. It is a story close to my heart, one that I felt compelled to write, and now I can rest assured that it is in safe hands. I can’t wait to see it in print."
Publisher Eleanor Dryden added: “At Headline Review we proudly connect the very best female-led commercial and reading group fiction with the broadest range of enthusiastic readers. Deeply moving and a guaranteed conversation-starter, While Paris Slept is a thrilling lead hardback launch for us in February 2021, with the US edition publishing simultaneously.”