An American debut novel based on the life of Lee Miller, which sparked a major US bidding war, has been pre-empted by Picador within 48 hours of submission.
Publishing director Francesca Main acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Julie Barer at The Book Group. US rights subsequently sold to Judy Clain at Little, Brown.
Foreign rights have sold in nine countries including Germany, Holland and Italy, and further auctions are underway in multiple translation territories.
Main called Scharer's debut, The Age of Light, "nothing short of a masterpiece". It tells the story of the relationship between model-turned-photographer Lee Miller and the Surrealist artist Man Ray, tracing Miller’s life from her arrival in the bohemian Paris of 1929 through her years as a war correspondent to finding fame as a photographer and beyond. As Miller rejects the role of muse and asserts herself as an artist, Man's jealousy spirals out of control, and their mutual betrayals almost destroy them both.
"I was immediately entranced by the intoxicating setting and mesmerising cast of characters, but what I loved most was the dazzling, complex figure of Lee Miller herself and the way Whitney Scharer has shed new light on a pioneering artist who might otherwise have remained in the shadow of the man she inspired," Main added. "All of us at Picador are thrilled to have the honour of bringing this stunning novel to readers in the UK."
The Age of Light will publish with Picador in early 2019.