Bonnier Books UK has won a six-publisher auction to publish The Beekeeper of Aleppo, a book by Christy Lefteri that Bonnier Books' m.d. of adult trade publishing Kate Parkin offered on within 24 hours.
Hailing it "a testament to courage, and the power of love", Parkin acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in two books from agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor, publish the first in hardback with Zaffre in May 2019. Rights in the book, expected to be a "major" title at Frankfurt, have meanwhile also already sold in France, Italy, Germany Holland, Spain and Turkey.
Pitched at readers of Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is said to be a love story about a couple who endure the worst of times but meet it with resilience and compassion. According to Bonnier Books, it tells "not only the terrifying physical journey Nuri and Afra face in their escape from Aleppo ... but also of their journey back to each other in the wake of unimaginable tragedy".
Parkin said: "The Beekeeper of Aleppo is extraordinary. There’s a simplicity, a power, a compassion in the story Christy Lefteri tells that speaks to us on a completely different level. Like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it shows us that an individual can be bigger than their oppression, that even in the worst of circumstances, humanity can shine through. Exquisitely written, this is a book with the power to raise and inspire. I am proud to be publishing it."
Gunn O’Connor said: "The enthusiasm shown by publishers to The Beekeeper Of Aleppo blew me away, but Kate Parkin at Bonnier Books UK, who called in less than 24 hours, took it to a whole other level when she couriered a beautifully bound, very detailed publishing proposal... During the same week, colleague and international co-agent Vicki Satlow accepted pre-empts from Le Seuil in France and Piemme in Italy, which were followed by auctions in Germany, Holland, Turkey and Spain."
Lefteri said she had been "blown away" by Bonnier Books UK's response and passion, noting: "The moment I saw the beautiful publishing proposal that the team at Bonnier Books UK had put together, I knew that my novel had found its perfect home."