Penguin leaps for the Jump Artist

Penguin has acquired a prize-winning novel by Austin Ratner, called The Jump Artist, which recreates the true story of photographer Philip Halsman who took photographs of icons such as Marilyn Monroe, but was also wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his father.

Viking commissioning editor Will Hammond said acquired world rights all languages, excluding North and South America, in the title through Victoria Hobbs at A M Heath on behalf of Anne Edelstein.

The novel recreates Halsman's life, beginning with his imprisonment for patricide in Austria 1928, the victim of an anti-Semitic trial that shook Europe, causing outcry from Thomas Mann and Einstein, and testimony from Sigmund Freud. The story also takes in Europe just before the war, and his ultimate triumph.

Hammond said: "By any standards, Austin Ratner's debut novel is an astonishing achievement, and we're confident that it will soon find the place it deserves alongside those contemporary classics of the form. It is undoubtedly the start of a glittering, literary career."

The novel won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize 2011 after its publication in the US by indie press Bellevue. Ratner has now signed a major deal for his next book with Little, Brown in the US.