Hutchinson has signed a six-figure deal with author Nancy Tucker for her debut novel, The First Day of Spring, following an auction, with rights sold in the US, Brazil and France.
Jocasta Hamilton, publishing director at Hutchinson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from Hattie Grunewald at the Blair Partnership. Hutchinson will publish The First Day of Spring on 25th February 2021 and as a Windmill paperback the following year.
Grunewald, who agented the auction in her first deal since joining the Blair Partnership in September, said: "Nancy’s writing is phenomenal and when she sent me The First Day of Spring I immediately knew that we had something very special."
US rights were pre-empted within 48 hours by Sarah McGrath at Riverhead, an imprint of PRH US, in a deal by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management. Brazilian rights were pre-empted by Verus Editora and French rights have been sold at auction to Les Escales. Negotiations are underway in Serbia, with "lots more interest worldwide", said Hutchinson. The Blair Partnership are handling all translation rights.
The First Day of Spring "opens with nine-year-old Chrissie describing the delicious fizzy feeling she experienced while strangling a younger boy. Having a secret like this gives her a sense of power that she doesn’t get to experience at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer," reads the synopsis. "Twenty years later and living under a new name, ‘Julia’ is terrified that people will discover what she did and take away the only thing she’s ever had to call her own: her daughter."
Hamilton said: "This is an exceptional debut written in mesmerising language that invites us to think about power, the legacy of damage and the possibility of redemption in new ways. Told with such intelligence and emotional clarity, it allows us to feel a surprising empathy for Chrissie. This is a novel that will generate conversation and ignite debate – but more than that, The First Day of Spring marks the arrival of Nancy Tucker as a brilliantly original new voice."
Tucker, the author of non-fiction books The Time in Between and That Was When People Started to Worry (both Icon), said: "I loved writing The First Day of Spring, and have been overwhelmed by the response it has received. It is a privilege to be working with Jocasta in the UK and Sarah in the US, both of whom have engaged with the book's themes so sensitively. I can't wait to share these characters and their story with readers."