Tinder Press has acquired a debut novel and "haunting" retelling of the Lizzie Borden story.
Borden was an American woman who was tried and acquitted for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1892.
Sarah Savitt, publishing director for Headline, pre-empted UK rights for Sarah Schmidt's See What I Have Done, from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown on behalf of Pippa Mason at Curtis Brown Australia.
Publisher Robert Watkins at Hachette Australia, who acquired ANZ rights through Pippa Masson at Curtis Brown Australia, called it a "creepy" novel "to be devoured in huge gulps". US rights meanwhile went to Corinna Barsan at Grove Atlantic at auction through Dan Lazar at Writers House, and German rights went to Piper Verlag through Kate Cooper at Curtis Brown London in a pre-empt.
Savitt said: "See What I Have Done had me in its grip from the first page. Sarah Schmidt conjures up a claustrophobic house full of fascinating characters, none of whom you quite trust, but all of whose voices are brilliant and involving. This is a dazzling novel and I feel very lucky to be the UK publisher."
Debut author Schmidt is a librarian from Melbourne who became "obsessed" with the Borden story after first coming across the case by chance in a second-hand bookshop. She said: "In 2005 I had no idea that the ratty pamphlet about Lizzie Borden that I found in a second-hand bookstore would become a haunting experience. For over 10 years I've been writing this weird little novel about a dysfunctional family wondering if it would ever be published. I am thrilled to be working with Hachette, Tinder Press, Grove Atlantic and Piper and think Lizzie is really going to enjoy her new homes all over the world."
See What I Have Done will be published by Tinder Press in spring 2017.