Headline wins four-way auction to publish Nicholls debut

Headline wins four-way auction to publish Nicholls debut

Headline has won a four-way auction to publish scriptwriter Owen Nicholls' debut, a love story peppered with film references called Love, Unscripted.

Jess Whitlum-Cooper, commissioning editor at Headline, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Hayley Steed at the Madeline Milburn Agency as part of a two-book deal. Rights were pre-empted by HarperCollins in Canada and were sold at auction to Crown in the US, Hoffmann Und Campe in Germany and Sperling and Kupfter in Italy.

Nicholls’ story introduces the reader to film projectionist and hopeless romantic Nick, who believes love should be as it is on the big screen. His story starts the night of the US election in 2008 when he meets and falls in love with Ellie, and is framed by a dual 2012 timeline when their relationship has just fallen apart.

Whitlum-Cooper commented: “Owen’s beautiful writing mixed with classic film references reminded me of the romcoms we all know and love. I fell in love with Nick’s voice as soon as I started reading and I am delighted to be publishing this clever, heartfelt love story.”

Nicholls' book was originally selected for the Escalator Scheme run by Writers’ Centre in Norwich. He said: “Love, Unscripted was born from my love of romantic stories that make you laugh; from old 40s films like 'The Philadelphia Story' to 'WALL-E'. It was in part inspired by my own relationships in my late 20s and having a coming-of-age story of my own, just a decade later than most. I hope readers enjoy spending time with Nick and Ellie as much as I have."

The UK hardback publication date is August 2019.