Heather Morris, the bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and follow-up Cilka's Journey, is publishing a new novel, Three Sisters, with Bonnier Books UK imprint Zaffre this October.
The book will be published in hardback, e-book and audio in a global launch on 14th October, backed by a "major" publicity and marketing campaign, and has been described as "concluding" The Tattooist of Auschwitz story in "a harrowing yet life-affirming story of survival, of hope and renewal".
It tells the story of Cibi, Magda and Livia, who were aged 19, 17 and 15 respectively in 1942 when Livia was ordered to leave their home in Slovakia to ‘work for the Germans’. Cibi insisted on going with Livia, and the two were sent to Auschwitz while Magda remained in hiding. In 1944, Magda was captured and the three were reunited in the camp and, as the war turned against the Nazis, sent out on the death marches. "They had so little, they had suffered such brutality, but they were strong together and found their way home," reads the book's synopsis.
Based on a true story, two of the sisters that inspired the book's narrative are alive today, in Israel where they emigrated. Together they told Morris their story "to reimagine" in Three Sisters.
Pictured, from left, Livia, Magda and Heather Morris
"I never thought I could find a tale as powerful and overwhelmingly beautiful as those of Lale and Cilka, but a story found me," said Morris. "The day I flew from Johannesburg to Tel Aviv to meet 93-year-old Livi I had no idea what I would discover. The moment I walked into Livi’s apartment, greeted with hugs from her, once again changed my life.
"I am truly humbled to be writing the story of the Three Sisters. I thank Livi and Magda for trusting me to tell their story, and for taking the time, over so many hours, to tell it to me. I’m sad that I never met Cibi, but I thank the families of all three sisters, I think I’ve met most of them, for welcoming me into the family, supporting and guiding me as I write."
There will be a global launch of the book, with publication in Australia by Echo, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in the US by St Martin's Publishing Group.
Morris has sold 1.5 million books for £9.5m through Nielsen BookScan in the UK, with The Tattooist of Auschwitz's paperback shifting 1.04 million copies since October 2018 (excluding lockdown-era figures). According to Zaffre, The Tattooist of Auschwitz has sold six million copies worldwide while Cilka's Journey has sold more than a million copies. The author's first non-fiction book, Stories of Hope, was published last September.
Rights in The Tattooist of Auschwitz have sold to Synchronicity Films for a multi-part, high-end international drama series, and foreign rights have sold in 52 territories.
Margaret Stead, publisher, said: "With Three Sisters, Heather has written the novel of her life. That these three sisters experienced so much heartache and suffering in the horror of the Holocaust but survived and went on to live full and happy lives in Israel, is nothing short of miraculous, and Heather has created a sweeping, beautiful, epic novel that brings this powerful true story vividly to life."
As part of the publicity and marketing campaign, Zaffre has said "all being well" Morris will be in the UK in October for media and events.