Picador has pre-empted a debut novel and short story collection by US author Nickolas Butler, after the books were the subject of a hotly-contested seven-way auction in the US.
Editorial director Francesca Main bought UK and Commonwealth rights for novel Shotgun Lovesongs and story collection The Chainsaw Soiree through Arabella Stein, who concluded the deal on behalf of Rob McQuilkin at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, with US scout Mary Anne Thompson playing an "instrumental" part in the UK sale.
Shotgun Lovesongs follows the friendships and rivalries of four men from a small Wisconsin town—family man Henry, musician Lee, ex-rodeo star Ronny, and trader Kip— as they are reunited for each of their weddings.
Main said: "This is a small town novel with an enormous heart. It's about friendship, growing up, leaving your roots and returning to them, falling in love with the right person and falling in love with the wrong one—all these big universal experiences but told in a uniquely beautiful, warm and even profound way.
"It's rare to find a writer who can make you laugh or make you cry—still rarer to find one like Nickolas Butler who can make you do both at once. There is overwhelming passion for this book at Picador and we can't wait to publish it."
Shotgun Lovesongs will be a lead fiction launch for Picador in spring 2014, with The Chainsaw Soiree to follow in a subsequent year to be confirmed.