Sceptre is publishing a prize-winning and bestselling Swedish debut novel by poet Tom Malmquist.
Drummond Moir, associate publisher at Sceptre, pre-empted world English language rights from Céline Hamilton at Partners in Stories for Malmquist's "deeply autobiographical" and "life-affirming" novel, to be translated by Henning Koch.
In Every Moment We Are Still Alive chronicles the passing of the author's heavily pregnant wife, Karin, after she is hospitalised and diagnosed with Leukaemia. When she dies, he then has to raise their daughter, Livia, on his own.
It was first published in August 2015 in Sweden by Natur & Kultur, where it garnered praise from the press. It recently won the Dagens Nyheter Cultural Prize, for which five artists are nominated each year, with Malmquist the first ever novelist to win the award.
German publisher Klett-Cotta acquired the book at auction for a mid-five figure sum, and it has also sold in Denmark, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands.
Sceptre's Moir said: "Tom Malmquist is a brave, raw and beautiful new voice in European fiction. At Sceptre we have had great success in recent years with poets who turn their talents to fiction, including Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds and Anna Smaill’s The Chimes. I’m thrilled that we’ll be continuing this tradition with Tom’s exceptional novel, which I am confident will bring him many, many new readers around the English-speaking world."
Malmquist added: "I am proud and delighted about the English deal, not only because my story and my fate will now reach so many more readers, but also because Sceptre is such a wonderful publisher. It is breathtaking to imagine the transformation from the Swedish language to a world language, and to think that a reader who has never visited Sweden can now walk beside me in my neighbourhood, laugh and cry when I laugh and cry. The world suddenly feels so beautifully small."
In Every Moment We Are Still Alive will be published in 2017. It joins four other debuts on the Sceptre list that will be published next year.