Little, Brown/Abacus and Virago editorial director Ailah Ahmed has won a “fierce” six-publisher auction for the debut of 27-year-old Rahul Raina. Ahmed bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Garam Masala from Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Copeland himself was able to secure representation of Raina by fighting off seven other agents.
Garam Masala centres around Ramesh, who takes exams for the sons of India’s elite. His life changes when he sits an exam for a particularly hapless rich kid and comes top in India. As his client becomes wealthier and famous, securing endorsement deals, Ramesh decides to blackmail the family for a percentage of the profits. His life then becomes a “maze of kidnappings and corruption, tangles with Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency, a national quiz show called ‘Beat the Brain’ and the loss of a pinky finger”.
Ahmed said: “I started reading this submission within ten minutes of recieving it because the description was irresistable. I was immediately struck by a hugely confident, hilarious and energetic voice and it carried me right through to the end. Garam Masala is one those books that you read within 24 hours: wild, outrageous, funny, piercingly accurate on class and ambition, emotionally gripping, it left me determined to work with Rahul, who, at the age of twenty-seven, is going make his mark with this novel."
Raina divides his time between Oxford and Delhi, running his own consultancy in England for part of the year, and works for charities for street children and teaches English in India for the rest of the year.
Rahul Raina said: "Little, Brown has published some of my favourite books of the last few years, and it's a complete privilege to find myself in the company of such brilliant writers. I couldn't have done any of this without my agent, Sam Copeland, who has been an absolute magician.'